Report: Bengals’ Palmer wants to be traded

Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer wants to be traded and will seriously consider retirement if he doesn’t get his wish, according to a report by ESPN’s Chris Mortensen.

Palmer, who turned 31 on Dec. 27, has endured a steady stream of dysfunction and defeats during his eight-year career in Cincinnati. The Bengals, who went 4-12 in 2010, have had two winning seasons since 2003.

Palmer and his wife are expecting the birth of their third child and he was unavailable for comment. A Bengals spokesman declined comment on the ESPN report.

The 49ers have been open about their desire to upgrade the quarterback position in the offseason. Third-stringer David Carr is their only signal-caller under contract.

In a KNBR interview last week, general manager Trent Baalke said San Francisco could improve the position via the draft, free agency or through a trade. He went on to suggest a quarterback obtained in the draft would likely start the season on the bench.

“The first thing you’ve got to address is who are you going to line up with on Sunday opening week,” Baalke said. “That’s No. 1. And it’s very difficult to line up with a rookie.”

Palmer suffered a knee injury in a wild-card playoff game against Pittsburgh on Jan. 8, 2006, that was so severe that it was thought to be potentially career-ending. Palmer suffered a torn ACL, MCL, a dislocated kneecap and other tissue and cartilage damage.

He returned and ranked second in the NFL in touchdowns (28), fifth in yards (4,035) and sixth in quarterback rating (93.9) during the 2006 season. He played in just four games in 2008 due to an elbow injury.

This past season, Palmer completed 362 of 586 passes (61.8) for 3,970 yards with 26 touchdowns and 20 interceptions, five which were returned for touchdowns. He ranked sixth in the NFL in yards and ninth in touchdowns. His 82.4 quarterback rating ranked 19th in the league, two spots ahead of San Francisco’s Alex Smith (82.1). Palmer posted a rating under 65.0 in six of 16 starts.

Palmer’s 586 attempts set a franchise record and his 362 completions ranked second in Cincinnati history. In his second-to-last game of the season, Palmer completed 16 of 21 passes for 269 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions in a 34-20 win over San Diego, which had the league’s top-ranked pass defense. Palmer had a career-high 157.2 passer rating in a performance eighth-year Bengals coach Marvin Lewis termed “as fine a game as he’s ever played here.”

Palmer, the 2002 Heisman Trophy winner at USC, grew up in Southern California and his wife, Shaelynn, was raised in San Francisco.

Palmer was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2003 NFL draft. Carr and Smith were the No. 1 picks in 2002 and 2005, respectively.