The severity of Carson Palmer's injury is compounded by the potential loss of Jon Kitna as a free agent. Kitna has been the perfect backup and mentor to Palmer and led the Bengals to a 17-14 lead at halftime against the Steelers following von Oelhoffen's hit. He threw a pair of interceptions in the second half, part of the team's overall self-destruction, but as Kitna prepares to enter his 10th season in the league he wants one more opportunity to be a full-time starter. Kitna earned $1 million as a base salary last season and he could command more than that on the open market. He'll be one of the top quarterbacks available. San Diego's Drew Brees is due to become an unrestricted free agent, but the Chargers are expected to make him their franchise player if the two sides don't first agree on a long-term deal. After that the list of free agents include Josh McCown, Jeff Garcia and Kurt Warner. Lewis said Palmer's injury status would not affect how the team goes about trying to re-sign Kitna. Craig Krenzel is the third quarterback and the only other quarterback familiar with the Bengals system. He would move up to No. 2 on the depth chart and receive the majority of snaps during offseason drills and into training camp if Kitna is not re-signed.