Chad Ochocinco: 4 Options New England Patriots Have for Maligned Wide Receiver

Justin Keith@justin5keithCorrespondent IFebruary 10, 2012

Chad Ochocinco: 4 Options New England Patriots Have for Maligned Wide Receiver

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    On the heels of Chad Ochocinco announcing that he will change his name back to Chad Johnson, the New England Patriots must now face a tough decision on the controversial wideout.

    Ochocinco only caught 15 passes from Tom Brady this season, a far cry from his former superstar status in Cincinnati.

    The Patriots have a few options on what to do with the Twitter-crazy Ochocinco, who is slated to be with the team for two more seasons.

    Let's take a look at some of those options.

Cut Him

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    After acquiring Ochocinco, the Patriots were able to restructure his contract, and the wideout is scheduled to make around $6 million over the next two seasons.

    After his lack of production in 2011, Patriot fans would not be upset to see number 85 walk out the door. Ochocinco only had 15 receptions for 276 yards during the regular season, as he and Tom Brady struggled to get on the same page.

    Although Ochocinco was a model teammate, his lack of production could prove to cost him his job in New England.

Keep Him

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    Despite Ochocinco's lack of production in 2011, there is still some hope that he can be a productive member of the Patriots' receiving corp in 2012.

    In the very least, Ochocinco could provide depth at the position, and with a full training camp and offseason with Tom Brady, he could finally have a breakthrough with the offense.

    The Patriots also have a new offensive coordinator in Josh McDaniels, who could also help Ochocinco pick up the offense more quickly this time around.

    Ultimately Ochocinco probably won't play a major role for the Patriots next season but could provide some big catches, especially being a bigger target in the red zone.

Trade Him

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    Although the Patriots would get little to nothing in a trade that includes Ochocinco, it is one possibility the team could explore.

    The Patriots didn't give up much to acquire Ochocinco, and they shouldn't to get much in return if they decide to ship him out of Foxboro.

    Belichick loves the late-round draft picks, and he had to give up a few to get Ochocinco and also Albert Haynesworth, so he could be on the prowl for new draft picks.

    This scenario is unlikely, but with the Patriots, anything is possible.

Ochocinco Will Retire

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    It is clear that Ochocinco is not the same player he was in Cincinnati.

    He has toned down his antics and loud personality, but he also has lost a lot of his talent in the process.

    Ochocinco will have a successful career outside of the NFL whether it be with more reality shows or as a TV personality, but his days as an NFL player seem numbered.

    Ochocinco is 34 years old and not getting younger or any more athletic. His disappointing and frustrating season could make him lose his love for the game, prompting him to contemplate retirement.

    Ultimately I see Ochocinco playing in 2012 and perhaps beyond, but another season like this season would be devastating for him as a player.