Chad Ochocinco could be approaching the final game of his career as a Cincinnati Bengal as the team closes their season in Baltimore in a game with some significance in terms of the Ravens' playoff implications. If you're not exactly sure between the difference of Chad leaving and remaining in Cincinnati in terms of money, then Welcome To Cincy Jungle. We're glad you finally found us. Let's quickly recap for you.
Chad is entering the final year of his six-year contract that he signed in 2006. The final season is an option year with a $3.5 million payout. If the Bengals let Chad leave for free agency, then the team has to pay the wide receiver $3.5 million. If they pick up his option, then Chad will remain a Bengal for $6 million in 2011. In other words, it would only cost the Bengals $2.5 million to remain in the Queen City.
However, if the decision were up to Chad, he would rather stay in Cincinnati, according to Pro Football Talk. As Mike Florio points out, the Bengals "went out and spanked the Chargers on Sunday, putting 34 points on the board, including four touchdown passes from quarterback Carson Palmer" without either Terrell Owens or Ochocinco in the lineup. Essentially, Chad has pretty much lost any leverage, or at the very least a convincing argument, for the Bengals to pick up his 2011 option.
The difference of $2.5 million to keep Ochocinco seems relatively manageable and I support bringing Chad back for another season. However, with stipulations.
Chad participates in all offseason programs, ditches his reality shows and he must welcome the team's changing of the guard. In other words, Chad has to acknowledge and understand that he's no longer the team's number one receiver, getting a significant proportion of Carson Palmer's passes. It's his turn to train and mentor these receivers to do it right, from training with the team in the offseason to doing whatever it takes for this team to win.
If that understanding is there and the stipulations are met, then why not?