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Salary floor could fuel eventual Carson Palmer power play


With the CBA coming into focus, it’s time to start thinking about the issues that will arise on the other side of a new labor deal.

One such issue could arise in Cincinnati, where quarterback Carson Palmer wants out and owner Mike Brown definitely won’t trade or release the first overall pick in the 2003 draft.

A reader has asked whether, in light of the return of the salary cap, Palmer can show up and force the team to account for his $11.5 million salary in 2011. If the money would put the Bengals over the limit, they’d either have to clear space -- or they’d have to cut him loose.

Don’t count on that happening this year. The increased spending requirement won’t require teams to spend the money now. The Bengals can hold that cap space deep into the regular season, eventually using it to extend the contracts of players already on the team. And as long as they’re holding at least $11.5 million (or whatever the prorated amount would be after regular-season games have been played), the Bengals will be prepared to block a Carson Palmer power play.

Come 2012, things could be very different. If at any point in the offseason or the preseason the Bengals have fewer than $11.5 million in cap room, Palmer can unretire and force the Bengals to let him go.

And it could very well be that this is what happens: Palmer takes a year off, and then works his way out of Cincinnati in 2012.

Either way, don’t count on the Bengals putting themselves in position to have to cut Palmer in 2011 based on the addition of his salary to their official salary-cap amounts.