New England Patriots: Will Chad Ochocinco Be Back in 2012?

Tony Santorsa@@TonySantorsaSenior Writer IIMarch 25, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 05:  Chad Ochocinco #85 of the New England Patriots waits on the field during warmups before the New England Patriots take on the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 5, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

The 2011 NFL season is a season that Chad Ochocinco would love to forget.

As the New England Patriots season came to an end as the New York Giants won Super Bowl XLVI, it was just another negative to add to Ochocinco's mediocre first season with the Patriots. 

The former All-Pro wide receiver was hardly himself with New England as he played in a total of 15 games while recording just 15 receptions for 276 yards and just one touchdown. At least he was consistent, he did average one reception for each game, right?

Now that we stand in the midst of the chaotic frenzy that is known as NFL free agency, Bill Belichick and the Patriots have made several moves, with a lot of them being adjustments at the wide receiver position.

Thus far, New England has brought in wide receivers Brandon Lloyd, Anthony Gonzalez and Donte' Stallworth while re-signing Deion Branch and Matthew Slater. Taking those transactions into consideration, is there enough room for Ochocinco to be back in 2012?

The 34-year-old is scheduled to make $3 million next season, and considering how poorly he played a year ago, he is hardly worth the price. 

Let's be realistic for a second: Ochocinco failed to make any impact whatsoever with the Patriots last season while being a player that can't contribute on special teams—why should he stick around?

ESPN Insider Adam Schefter believes that Ochocinco will indeed be back next season with the team and that he believes that Ochocinco is a well-liked player with the coaching staff and that they still have faith in him.

I agree with Schefter to an extent. I do believe that Ochocinco will be back in 2012 but he's going to have to prove himself.

With all of the additions to the wide receiver position, I think Belichick and the Patriots will hold a wide receiver competition this training camp—meaning that some of the receivers will be let go prior to the start of Week 1. 

Could one of those receivers be Ochocinco? Perhaps. He's going to have to prove himself. 

The key with Ochocinco is that he needs to get himself more involved—and by that, I mean more involved in the offense by understanding the playbook more.

For once in Ochocinco's life, he could get his fingers off of the keyboard and stay away from tweeting and study the playbook, maybe he'll be able to make a positive impact in 2012 with the Patriots. 


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