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Carson Palmer signs extension deal


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Bengals sign Palmer to 6-year extension

By Chick Ludwig

Dayton Daily News

CINCINNATI | The Bengals signed quarterback Carson Palmer to a six-year contract extension on Thursday, keeping him in Cincinnati through 2014.

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The move brings long-term stability to the franchise and gives the club more salary cap flexibility for the 2006 season because Palmer's bonuses will be spread out over more years. It also sends a messsage to players, fans and potential free agents that the Bengals are serious about winning.

The Bengals wouldn't release details about Palmer's extension, but the deal is believed to be worth more than his original six-year, $49 contract.

"The future's very exciting," Palmer said in a news conference at Paul Brown Stadium. "The Bengals are doing a phenomenal job of building a team for the future.

"It's a great moment for me both professionally and personally. Working with the coaches here and with the Brown family has been a tremendous experience. I love our prospects for being a great team into the future, and we (he and wife Shaelyn) love living in Cincinnati."

Palmer — the No. 1 overall pick overall pick of the 2003 NFL Draft following his Heisman Trophy-winning season at Southern Cal — was under contract through 2008.

His original deal, signed two days before the 2003 draft, included a $10.01 million signing bonus and a $4.01 million roster bonus he got earlier this year. Palmer's contract was worth $18.25 million in bonuses and salary his first three years (2003-05), and included performance incentives and escalators that would have brought his total to $49 million over six years.

Palmer, a third-year NFL veteran who is in his second season as the team's starting quarterback, has led the Bengals to an 11-4 record and the AFC North Division championship. He has been voted to the AFC All-Star squad for the Feb. 12 Pro Bowl.

Palmer leads the NFL in TD passes with 32, completion percentage (67.9%) and TD-interception differential (plus 20 at 32-12). His 32 TDs are a club record.

He set another Bengals season record with 340 completions in 2005, and is the NFL's third-rated overall passer at 101.4. He's bidding to become the first Bengal to finish a season with a passer rating of 100-plus. With 3,782 passing yards, he needs 178 to break the club record of 3,959 set by Boomer Esiason in 1986.

"As a player and a person, Carson has met and gone beyond every expectation I had for him," Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis said. "For myself as the head coach, I'm excited about the commitment the club has made to Carson, and about Carson's commitment to the organization and to the city of Cincinnati."

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