Chad Ochocinco: Where Could He Land in 2012?
The New England Patriots released wide receiver Chad Ochocinco on Thursday, after reports wavered back and forth some regarding his status on the roster. The Patriots reportedly tried to trade him, but after finding no takers decided to cut their losses and release him.
Ochocinco had a very disappointing lone season in New England in 2011, setting career-lows with 15 receptions and 276 yards along with just one touchdown, as he apparently struggled to learn the Patriots’ offense and never got on track. It’s clear he has lost a step at age 34, making it fair to wonder if his NFL career might be over. That said, being able to set the price and not give up anything in a trade may give some teams interest in at least bringing him in for a look.
Let’s look at some teams I feel may have interest in Ochocinco.
Dolphins owner Stephen Ross likes to put his team in the headlines whenever possible, and the offseason trade of Brandon Marshall has left the roster fairly thin at wide receiver in terms of experience and proven production of any sort outside of Davone Bess and Brian Hartline. Ochocinco would almost certainly get an opportunity to earn a significant role if he were brought to Miami, and his effort to prove he still has something left could become a big storyline on HBO’s Hard Knocks.
Another Florida team, another team that may be looking for a wide receiver. The Jaguars did overhaul their wide receiver group this offseason by drafting Justin Blackmon and signing Laurent Robinson and Lee Evans in free agency, but Ochocinco would be reunited with former Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski, who holds the same post in Jacksonville. On the flipside, the inside knowledge Bratkowski likely has could lead to him advising the Jaguars’ front office to stay away from Ochocinco.
New York Jets
A report has already surfaced suggesting the Jets are not interested in Ochocinco, but they are almost always attached to big names when they become available regardless of their actual roster needs. The team’s current group of receivers is very young outside of Santonio Holmes and it’s fair to say Ochocinco is not highly regarded in terms of being a veteran leader, but until he signs elsewhere or decides to retire the Jets can’t be totally ruled out.
Some other teams that I think could show some interest in giving Ochocinco a chance include the Washington Redskins, Oakland Raiders, Minnesota Vikings and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. All have some level of need at wide receiver, at least in terms of adding a veteran to the mix, and it seems he would not be able to discriminate in terms of choosing his next team if he wants to continue to play. Any interest there is in Ochocinco looks likely to be tepid, and he would certainly have to sign an incentive-laden “prove it” deal wherever he lands.