NFL free agency: Carson Palmer retires, Asomugha still on the board, Orton hits the trade block

July 26, 2011

The first day of action in the NFL’s lightning free agency period was full of news, but one move which surprised some fans was the retirement of Carson Palmer after the Bengals announced they would not trade the quarterback. As Cindy Boren wrote:

Mike Brown minced no words about Carson Palmer. Brown will not honor a request for a trade by the Cincinnati Bengals’ disgruntled quarterback and if he makes good on his threat and retires, so be it.

“I honestly like Carson Palmer. He was a splendid player for us,” the Bengals owner said Tuesday. “He is a good person. I wish him well and he has retired. That is his choice.

“I’m not expecting him to be back. Carson signed a contract, he made a commitment. He gave us his word. We relied on his word and his commitment. We expected him to perform here. If he is going to walk away from his commitment we aren’t going to reward him for doing it.”

That has been the Bengals’ stance all along. Which means that if Palmer, 32, wants to play again, he will have to either play for the Bengals or sit out for a while and then make a comeback.

Another quarterback in the news on the first day of free agency is Kyle Orton. He was put on the trade block by the Broncos. As Cindy Boren wrote :

Need a quarterback? The Denver Broncos’ phone lines are open. John Elway is waiting to take your call.

Kyle Orton, the Denver Post reports, will be placed on the trading block when the NFL store opens at 10 a.m. EDT today.

Orton is coming off two of the best seasons of his career, with 41 touchdown passes and 21 interceptions. He has no interest in backing up Tim Tebow. Which means that John Elway may be hearing from Minnesota, Tennessee, Arizona, Seattle, Cincinnati, Miami and, of course, the irrepressible Redskins.

One player whose free agency has several teams scrambling to find cap room is Nnamdi Asomugha, the Raiders cornerback. As Matt Brooks reported:

There are few sure things in the period of unpredictable insanity that is now underway in the NFL. Players will be re-signed. Players will be traded. And whichever team lands former Oakland Raiders cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha will feel like it won the lottery.

Clearly the most proven commodity in the 2011 free agent class, Asomugha is a shutdown corner with proven ball skills who will instantly upgrade any pass defense he joins. Before Revis Island, Asomugha was head and shoulders above the rest of the corners in the league.

It’s no surprise, then, that more than 10 teams have been rumored to be interested in the four-time Pro Bowler including the Houston Texans, Philadelphia Eagles, New York Jets, Baltimore Ravens and Washington Redskins — and more may be on the way.

The Texans have long been one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL, so it makes sense that they are serious about going after Asomougha, especially if the team is ready to prove its ability to take the next step and compete in the postseason.

Asomugha would fill a hole at right cornerback for the Eagles while the prospect of pairing him with Darrelle Revis has New York Jets Coach Rex Ryan positively giddy.

More from Washington Post Sports

Free agency as a two-minute drill

Player reps agree to labor deal

What’s next? The weekn ahead in the NFL

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