My thinking when report/rumor/speculation surfaced that the New York Giants were/supposedly/hopefully interested in Chad Johnson, I was surprised. The report/rumor/speculation surfaced after Pro Football Weekly wrote "Yes, rumors have floated that the Giants might be interested in adding a receiver, especially given Plaxico Burress’ legal situation and the fact that Amani Toomer is a free agent and not likely to be back. But as much as GM Jerry Reese likes talent, we hear there might be some people in the organization who would oppose the move, given Ocho Cinco’s histrionics and the potential clash it might cause with the businesslike atmosphere head coach Tom Coughlin has worked hard to establish. That said, the Giants would be buying low."
OK, so it's a rumor, likely leaked by the Giants front office to gauge initial reaction; a common tactic ranging from professional sports to politics. It wasn't supported by Big Blue View. "Going out of their way to trade for trouble is simply not how the Giants do business, and I can't imagine there being anything real to this. It's probably not even worth the time and effort I have already wasted getting all worked up about it. If the Giants want a headache, they can just keep Burress." However, the opinion is divided. A point that should be noted is that Chad did listen Lewis, often subdued once "father" gets angry. The problem in Cincinnati was that "father" didn't get angry, players saw favoritism, and Chad became emboldened to do as he pleased; Lewis was criticized for not being more responsive to issues that risk lockerroom stability. However, Chad would listen to Tom Coughlin. Furthermore, I still disagree with the comparisons between Chad and Terrell Owens. While Johnson has reacted badly before, his presence as a disruption is far more infrequent than Owens' and Chad's last off-season came as a surprise. At least to me.
Criminally, he's far from trouble. Actions and comments that potentially cause locker room divisions? Sure, he's caught himself in that situation several times; more notably the "fight" during the Wild Card game, being kicked out of team meetings and suspended as a result against Pittsburgh, and, well, that little thing last off-season. However, we have to say that after Johnson recorded the worst season in his career, Johnson has been anything but trouble and he appeared genuinely remorseful for missing Thursday Night's game against the Steelers. Mostly subdued, keeping the team in mind as an ally when making comments during their eight-game losing streak to start the season, there was an aspect of maturity within Johnson that shouldn't be disregarded.
With that said, to prove that I believe all three sides to every argument should be understood before rendering judgment, I won't refuse to listen to those that suggest he "sabotaged" the season simply as an effort to leave Cincinnati. I'm not suggesting that it's true; just that the argument exists. Which, in some degree (like 1%), is suggested in the final sentence of that report/rumor/speculation. "That said, the Giants would be buying low. Ocho Cinco is coming off his worst season since becoming a star, and the Bengals are said to be willing to move him at a friendly price." If Johnson had a good season, or an average season in his playing history, then the Bengals wouldn't be willing to do anything with Johnson, other than a contract extension -- we've heard those updates, right?
So, the Bengals are "said" to be "willing" to "move him" at a "friendly price". What does that even mean? Well, it doesn't mean he's being shopped around. Nor does it mean the Bengals are likely to give him up cheap. If someone came to Mike Brown, then Brown would listen -- that's what we're assuming. However, what's the friendly price? A first round pick? Won't happen. Heck, we might be lucky to just get a third round pick; perhaps conditional. To be honest, I wouldn't mind a third round pick either. In order to sustain success, the Bengals need to do a better job of having a rotating door of young players rather than sticking with two 30-year old receivers. The Bengals have those young players now; it's just a matter of getting them more playing time. Then again, the hypocrite in me says that we need to sign T.J. Houshmandzadeh.