Carson Palmer is serious about leaving Cincinnati
The Bengals are holding out hope that Palmer will stay despite all signs pointing to a departure Reuters

Ever have a friend who is coming off a recent break up, and they can't stop talking about their ex?

This friend thinks their ex will eventually return to them even though you know all signs point to a permanent break up. So you just nod your head, and say all the right things.

Eventually, the friend's incessant delusion about their ex becomes a strain, and you begin to question their emotional stability.

Why is my friend so hung up on this person? you ask yourself. You want your friend to move on. It's for the best.

That's basically the case with the Bengals and Carson Palmer.

After spelling it out for the Bengals on numerous occasions, Palmer has told Cincinnati he's done. The relationship is over and he's moving on.

The Bengals were flat out told by Palmer that he wants to be traded or he'll retire.

Palmer doesn't need the money. The veteran quarterback is also probably well aware of former players like Jim McMahon, who have discussed their struggles with memory loss after playing in the NFL. Palmer can get out now while his head is still attached to his body.

The former Heisman-trophy winner has given the Bengals ample reasons to take him seriously. First, Palmer is not the type to play power games. He doesn't want anything other than having fun playing football and winning and has shun on and off-the-field drama.

Second, he's sold his Ohio home. (It's hard to send a more clear message than that.)

Third, he's confirmed his stance on more than one occasion.

But that hasn't been enough for Bengals' owner Mike Brown. Consider his recent comments.

I haven't talked to any other team about him and I have no plans to trade him, Brown said, according to

Good luck with that.

I've seen any number of players who at one point did not want to re-enlist come back and come back and be quite happy about it, he said. As far as getting value, I don't see any opportunity to get what I consider to be value. Having said that, it doesn't make sense to look to trade. It only makes sense to wait and hope Carson comes around.

Brown can hope, pray, rub a rabbit's foot, and anything else he thinks might help. It won't matter. Palmer's gone. Deal with it.

Instead of getting something for Palmer, the Bengals may end up getting absolutely nothing for him. If the Bengals drag this out, Palmer may consider retirement a better option than playing, and decide that he no longer will accept a deal.

For all of the under-achievement of the Bengals over the years, you'd think that what they've done on the field has been painful enough, but this off-season saga with Palmer has been downright pitiful.

When the Bengals hired new offensive coordinator Jay Gruden, talk of coaching Palmer was bounced around by head coach Marvin Lewis and Gruden.

Perhaps a point that the Bengals haven't considered, and probably should, is a very simple one: they might be better off without Palmer.

So far, what has Palmer accomplished with Bengals? He didn't take one snap his rookie season, has never won a playoff game, and is coming off a four-win season. In 2010, Palmer had Chad Ochocinco, Terrell Owens, and budding rookie Jordan Shipley, so he didn't lack quality receiving options.

Palmer is 31, and hasn't been to a Pro Bowl since 2006. He still has excellent tools, and the prototype build of a modern quarterback. But the Bengals should perhaps consider a quarterback who isn't demoralized by the organization, and offers a unique skill set at the position.

With the Ravens and Steelers expected to be among the best teams in the AFC next season, it would be wise for the Bengals to rebuild now because reaching the playoffs while competing in the AFC North seems downright impossible.

With the fourth pick in the NFL draft, and whatever the Bengals could get in exchange for Palmer should they make a deal, the team would be moving in the right direction.

The bottom line with the Bengals is that the love affair with Palmer is over. It's time to change directions at the quarterback position, and stop acting like a jilted lover. The organization is embarrassing itself at this point.

Maybe Brown thinks he has a chance with Palmer because he hasn't gone on Facebook yet update his football status. You know, make it Facebook official.