INDIANAPOLIS -- The Cincinnati Bengals spent the 35th overall pick in April's draft on a quarterback.
"We don't plan to trade Carson," Brown said Monday at the NFL Spring Meeting. "He's important to us. He's a very fine player, and we do want him to come back. If he chooses not to, he'd retire. And we would go with Andy Dalton, the younger player we drafted, who's a good prospect.
"Ideally, we'd have both of them. That'd be the best way to go forward. If we don't have Carson, we'll go with Andy."
Palmer, the No. 1 pick in the 2003 NFL Draft, has been the Bengals' starter since 2004. Palmer's younger brother, Jordan, also is on the roster and is leading player workouts during the NFL lockout, but Brown said he'd be comfortable with Dalton as the starter in 2011, based on the evaluation the Bengals' staff has on the former TCU standout.
"He's very football intelligent, he's been with our coaches, and Jay Gruden, our coordinator," Brown said. "Jay had a very good feeling about his football abilities, his abilities to understand the defenses and how to go about things. He'd been productive at the college level, and we think he has a good shot at it here."
Dalton, who appeared with fellow rookie A.J. Green at last weekend's NFL Players Rookie Premiere in Los Angeles, is preparing for life with or without Palmer in Cincinnati.
"I haven't got a chance to talk to him," Dalton told NFL Network's Lindsay Soto. "I've just heard ... what everybody's been saying in the media, so I'm just going in to prepare myself to be the starter, and that's just what I'm going to do regardless of what happens."
Follow Albert Breer on Twitter @albertbreer.