The Bengals youth movement at the receiver positions has likely squeezed 33-year-old Chad Ochocinco out of a job in Cincinnati. It's doubtful that Mike Brown will be willing to pay him the $6 million owed in 2011 when they have A.J. Green, Jerome Simpson, Jordan Shipley, Jermaine Gresham and Andre Caldwell on the roster, especially considering that Ochocinco is coming off one of his worst seasons (831 yards and 4 touchdowns).
Ochocinco doesn't have very good trade value because of his lack of production in 2010 and his high salary. If the Benglas were able to trade him right now, they probably wouldn't get much at all for him. Because of that, there's a decent chance that they'll just release him when the lockout comes to an end and pay him about half of the $6 million. If that happens, where will the 10-year Bengals receiver play his 11th season?
ESPN's Adam Schefter has some thoughts.
On his blog (ESPN In$ider), he answered the following question from Andrew:
Any chance the New England Patriots make a deal for Chad Ochocinco after the lockout is lifted?
and his answer:
Well, Andrew, first and foremost the Bengals have to make their decision on Ochocinco. He is due $6 million next season and there aren't many people that expect Cincinnati to keep him at that price. Assuming the Bengals release him, it would make sense for New England to be one of the teams that explores the possibility of signing Ochocinco. For starters, Ochocinco and Patriots head coach Bill Belichick always have respected each other. For another, New England fared well with another former Cincinnati castoff, running back Corey Dillon. The Patriots could use another weapon like Ochocinco, and they have a history of doing deals with Ochocinco's agent, Drew Rosenhaus. So all the factors are there, and all the signs point to New England potentially exploring the possibility. But in the end, these things usually come down to money. The Patriots are always careful about how they spend money. If a team such as the Washington Redskins or Chicago Bears is willing to pay Ochocinco more, chances are that's where he will end up. Again, lots of uncertainties here, but your theory is logical.
Sports Illustrated's Peter King does think Ochocinco and the Patriots will team up in 2011, though. This morning he was asked the same question on PFT Live, and responded by saying, "At the end of the day, I think he's gonna be with the New Englad Patriots."
Of course, the Bengals could possibly hold on to Ochocinco for a year, pay him his $6 million, hope that they get some decent production out of him and then release him before the 2012 season for free. It will be interesting to see what the Bengals do with their all time leading receiver once the lockout is lifted.
When it comes to Terrell Owens, who is coming off his one and only season with the Cincinnati Bengals, Schefter wasn't so sure. He was asked if Owens could possibly end up as a New York Jet in 2011.
Don't see it, Naad. The Jets, and most other teams, have had plenty of chances to go after T.O. the past couple of years -- and only the Bills and Bengals have done it. There has been a limited market for his services, as talented and productive as he is. In the Jets' case, I see them trying to re-sign two of their three free-agent wide receivers -- Santonio Holmes, Braylon Edwards and Brad Smith. If one or two happen to get away, the Jets then will look to replace him in free agency, but as I mentioned Friday, I'd think Plaxico Burress before T.O. Remember, the Jets were interested in Burress last year, when some thought there was a chance he would be paroled.
With Carson Palmer and Chad Ochocinco leaving the Bengals, it truly will be an end of an era.