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Carucci lists five top trades to watch; one of them is Chad Johnson

Since we haven't spoken of Chad Johnson for a galactic minute, I thought it was fine time to do so; otherwise I'd be giving off the impression that Chad Johnson trade rumors aren't to be taken seriously (laugh, please). In his latest, Vic Carucci lists five potential trades "to watch before the draft". The first three are Braylon Edwards, Jason Peters and Julius Peppers. The fifth is Anquan Boldin, where head coach Ken Wisenhunt said "It would be foolish from out standpoint not to listen to those opportunities and see what actually exists." Only if Mike Brown could say that, if anything, to keep channels open.

Ochocinco still wants out of Cincinnati as much as ever, but isn't voicing it in public the way he did last year. He likely would have fetched a fairly high trade price a year ago from a team such as the Washington Redskins, who wound up addressing wide receiver in the draft.

Now, the market seems far cooler. The Eagles and Giants are looking for a receiver, but after their ugly experiences with Terrell Owens and Burress, respectively, neither seems inclined to take on the excess drama baggage that comes with the receiver formerly known as Chad Johnson.

Let's quickly reemphasize my position, so my point of view isn't taken out of context. If Chad Johnson comes into 2009 with something to prove to himself, the NFL and the Bengals, I'm on board. Keep him. His A-game is so much better than most receivers' A-games. Anything less, trade him. It's simple, really. Chad Johnson is known to be desperately hoping to leave Cincinnati. This brings motivation into question, and the effort in the games is thus questioned. Therefore, if he's not giving it all, then would Palmer trust him on third down. Would he look to Coles, or Henry -- who we assume is being groomed as Palmer's next favorite target. Really? Palmer has always stuck up for Henry, thrown to him without caution and raves about his talents.

No, I don't know Johnson, nor do I know his state of mind. The coaches and front office should -- if he wasn't off somewhere isolating himself from the franchise. I cautiously write all of this based on assumption and conjecture and could be equally wrong if Johnson has something to prove to himself, the other 31 NFL teams and the Bengals. The problem is no one (reportedly) knows Johnson's motivations, even though Lewis claims to talk to him. So the question is now whether he'll come to play all-out, or simply feel sorry for himself for not getting what he wants. Should we continue playing this wait and see game?

Quick note: The Cardinals are looking for a first and a third-round pick for Anquan Boldin. That's the same asking price, reportedly, that the Bengals are demanding for Chad Johnson.