Updated: 8:25 p.m.
NEW ORLEANS - Despite Monday's report that the Dolphins are interested in trading for quarterback Carson Palmer, Bengals president Mike Brown offered his second strong public pronouncement that he has no plans to trade him.
But he offered no such pronouncement on wide receiver Chad Ochocinco, no doubt fueling speculation the Bengals all-time leading receiver could be on the market when trades are allowed again.
"We aren't going to talk about that because there is no market," Brown said. "It's shuttered."
With Palmer telling the club he'll retire if he's not traded, Brown said the Bengals are also looking at the April 28-30 NFL draft, potential trades, and the current quarterbacks on the roster during an interview here at the NFL annual meetings with Bengals.com and The Cincinnati Enquirer.
"Carson is our principal option. ... We don't know how that is going to end up," Brown said. "It's a very big question to be answered. If answered right, our chances will be pretty good. We'll try to get it answered right ... I hope he comes back and plays the way he can play. I think he's a top quarterback. I haven't talked to any other team about him and I have no plans to trade him."
Brown says he doesn't think he can find the proper value on the market as one of the reasons for keeping an unhappy player. Brown disagrees that not trading Palmer would damage the franchise.
"I've seen any number of players who at one point didn't want to re-enlist, come back, and play, and be quite happy about it," Brown said. "It just depends how it goes. As far as getting value, I don't see any opportunity to get what I consider value and having said that, it doesn't make any sense to look to trade. It only makes sense to wait and hope Carson comes around."
Brown, a member of the NFL's Management Council executive committee, also joined the owners' call for the players to come back to the bargaining table on the lockout's 11th day.
"We're Siamese twins," he said. "We need each other."
Brown also said:
» He wouldn't rule out trading up or down in the draft, but if the Bengals stick at four he said they're looking for "a player that helps us over a half-dozen, even a dozen years." That sounds like offense.
» The Bengals tried to re-sign cornerback Johnathan Joseph and running back Cedric Benson before the lockout, but found the prices extravagant and now hope they'll be able to win both when they go on the free-agent market.
» He said the team has made a contingency plan with Georgetown College "to make them whole" if the lockout delays training camp and the Georgetown, Ky., school can't host because of conflicts. Brown also indicated his plan for the future is to keep the club there instead of moving it to Paul Brown Stadium.
» He has concerns about the kickoff return proposal that moves the kick up from the 30- to the 35-yard line and it sounded like he'll vote against it Tuesday when the owners convene for the final day of the meetings, even if they tweak the proposal and keep the touchback at the 20 instead of moving it up to the 25-yard line. And keeping the two-man wedge for the return team instead of abolishing it.
» But even though Brown is virulently against instant replay, it sounded like he'll vote for the proposal that gives the booth official the option to review any scoring play. That's because that will take away the third challenge.
» He defended right tackle Andre Smith, the sixth pick in the 2009 draft who has been saddled by injury. Smith is in the throes of rehab as he recovers from his second straight offseason foot injury.
"Everyone wants to jump on poor Andre Smith," Brown said. "No one wants to seem to mention when they criticize Andre and us for taking Andre is that Andre has broken his foot twice. Once each year. You just can't play effectively on a broken foot in the National Football League. That's what happened to Andre.
"We made our bet and it, unfortunately, didn't work out well because he was injured and he's been injured both years. And not at the end of the year, but at the start of the year. It just has been impossible for him to show what he can do. I think if he gets healthy, he'll prove to be a good player and people will see it differently. But he has to get healthy."