Carson Palmer, 37, is entering his 15th NFL season and weighed retirement as recently as February. So it should come as no surprise to hear that the Arizona Cardinals quarterback won't guarantee his return for a 16th season.
On Tuesday, Palmer revealed that he'll once again weigh retirement after the season.
"I love every facet of it," Palmer said, per the team's website. "I don't want to stop. But I'll have to wait and make that decision after the season."
So no, he won't answer the retirement question yet.
"That's a great question," Palmer said, "and I don't have an answer."
Palmer's quality of play will likely play a role in his decision. In 2015, Palmer performed like an MVP-caliber quarterback, completing 63.7 percent of his passes, averaging 8.7 yards per attempt, and throwing 35 touchdowns against 11 interceptions. As a result, the Cardinals went 13-3 and nearly journeyed all the way to the Super Bowl. After the season, retirement talk was nonexistent.
But Palmer regressed in 2016. His completion percentage sank to 61.0, he averaged 7.1 yards per attempt, and he threw 26 touchdowns against 14 interceptions. As a result, the Cardinals went 7-8-1 and missed the playoffs. Retirement talk lasted until he announced his intention to return.
Other factors behind the Cardinals' struggles were at play, of course, like Palmer's pass protection (he was sacked 40 times in 2016 compared to just 25 in 2015) and special teams woes. Regardless, it's probably time for the Cardinals to begin planning for life after Palmer, because even if his retirement doesn't occur next offseason, it's coming soon.
Once he retires, he seems unlikely to head into coaching in the NFL like his current quarterbacks coach, Byron Leftwich.
"The hours I watch our coaches put in, I don't want to work that hard in retirement," Palmer said. "I want to have a life."
They'll likely be forced to find his successor in the draft. They passed on taking a developmental prospect like Davis Webb or Nathan Peterman in this year's draft, so they'll likely enter the season with Drew Stanton and Blaine Gabbert behind Palmer on the depth chart. Luckily, next year's quarterback class is supposedly one of the best in recent years.
Other long-term concerns also exist in Arizona, namely at receiver. The team not only lost Michael Floyd last year after his arrest, but it's also dealing with the possibility of losing Larry Fitzgerald when Palmer walks away. Like Palmer, Fitzgerald also weighed retirement this offseason before deciding to return. The Cardinals won't have their quarterback and receiver for much longer.
Point being, the Cardinals need to take advantage by cashing in with a title while they still can.