So in the absence of any real football news it looks like writing something about one Chad Javon Johnson Ochocino is becoming a daily necessity here at Cincy Jungle. And thank goodness the man remains someone worth writing about, or else we'd be putting up stories about people we met on the bus or excerpts from our dream journals.
Yesterday Paul relayed the grades for Ochocinco's publicity stunts. Today's Ochocinco fix comes from ESPN's John Clayton, who has a column up about the ten deals that should get done once the NFL lockout ends. Among his beliefs is that the New York Jets should sign Chad Ochocinco.
Clayton frames his suggestion as though it's a given that Ochocinco will be available for another team to sign. While it's highly probably, it's not a slam dunk that the Bengals will part ways with their incorrigible receiver.
On the one hand, you don't have augur the flight of birds or inspect the entrails of a sacrificial goat to see the obvious signs pointing toward his departure. Chad's made himself largely expendable. His unique perspective (some may call it attitude) has worn out both the fans and the organization. Coach Marvin Lewis has had enough of the Chad spectacle, openly deriding the player in the media on multiple occasions. Ochocinco hasn't helped the situation, antagonizing Lewis (the infamous cage match challenge) and flirting with coaches and players on other teams. He's gone on to say, via Twitter, that Lewis is "mean" to him and his "time is up" in Cincinnati. Even his own teammates think he's gone. And beyond all this verbal slap-fighting, there's the money issue: while the team picked up Chad's option for this season at six million, it's a figure many believe the team has little interest in paying him.
But more importantly, his production has dropped precipitously. We were all willing to put up with his shenanigans when he was averaging 92 catches/1,374 receiving yards/8.6 TDs from 2003-2007 (really, stop and think how good this guy was for us when he was a Johnson), but his numbers have dropped the last three seasons while his personality has taken center stage. Without those big time stats to mitigate his eccentric behavior, Ochocinco has exposed himself to ridicule and redundancy.
On the other hand, there's the possibility that the organization holds onto Chad as insurance against an A. J. Green contract holdout, injury, or ineffectiveness. I mean, just because you've got a shiny new Lexus in the garage doesn't mean you have to scrap your old Pontiac Fiero -- it still runs decent and it got you chicks in the 80s. There's also a question about the true talent level of Jerome Simpson and whether he's ready to step into a starting role with Green.
But if the team does what they're expected to do and release Ochocinco, the Jets would be a reasonable landing spot since their two starting wideouts -- Santonio Holmes and Braylon Edwards -- are both free agents and the Jets likely stand to lose one of them. And the groundwork for an Ochocinco-Jets marriage has already been laid. Earlier this year Jets uber-cornerback and sometime Ochocinco News Network reporter Darrelle Revis was campaigning for his team to go after Ochocinco, saying "I want Chad to come here and play for us, to be a Jet." And on ESPN's "First Take" back in March, Revis commented:
"We're good friends off the field, and you're always trying to better your team and trying to get over that hump," Revis said of Ochocinco. "We lost in the last two AFC championship games, and we need to get over that hump."
For his part, the Ocho also had some flattering things to say on the T.Ocho Show about the J-E-T-S during their playoff run last season:
"They will make it to this point every year [...] I'd do anything to play for someone like Rex Ryan or anyone who has that type of mentality."
And then there's his March Tweet to Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez:
Clayton isn't the only one making the Jets-Ochocinco connection; Rich Cimini is getting into the rumor act as well. And it would be a good scenario for Chad. He'd be on a potential Super Bowl contender. He'd be working for a guy he respects in Rex Ryan. He wouldn't have to be the #1 guy, assuming the Jets re-sign either Edwards or Holmes (Clayton thinks it'll be Holmes). He'd be in a big city that might lend itself to his hyperactivity a little better than the Midwest. And at the very least, being a member of the Jets would mean that Chad wouldn't have to line up across from Revis anymore; in five match-ups between the two, Revis has held Ochocinco to only 228 yards and a doughnut in the TD column.
Although I like Chad, he's past his expiration date in Cincy and the team would be better served letting him go and starting anew with Green and Simpson. Chad can then go green himself and have his fun with the New York media circus. And in case you are getting concerned about having an Ocho withdrawl, you might find hope in Clayton's suggestion that if "Chad gets a two-year deal, HBO needs to schedule the Jets for a 'Hard Knocks' encore." Despite our wish that HBO will choose the Bengals again and thus put the team on the path to sweeping the division once more, it's probably not going to happen. So why not the Jets? It'd certainly be a show, and we'd get to keep tabs on our favorite problem child. Maybe it's a show we'd enjoy more from afar.