When the Bengals traded Chad Ochocinco to the Patriots in 2011, many Bengals fans were upset to see such a charismatic figure leave Cincinnati. However, those who follow finances saw this as an opportunity for the Bengals to upgrade; they got rid of Chad’s $6+ million in salary cap space that year and got two draft picks in return.
The deal came at a time when AJ Green had just been drafted, and that ended up being a good move; Green has been to the Pro Bowl in both of his first two seasons. Also, Marvin Jones ended up being drafted in 2012 with one of the draft picks from the Chad deal and the other is the twenty-ninth pick of the sixth round of this year’s NFL Draft.
But the winning isn’t over yet. Marvin Jones showed hints of promise last year when he wasn’t injured and made Mel Kiper's Second Year Breakout Candidates list (ESPN Insider). Beyond that, they can still improve with a sixth round pick this year. Meanwhile, Chad was released and picked up by the Dolphins and then fired on HBO's Hard Knocks following a dispute with his newlywed wife.
Bengals fans have certainly been critical of Bengals owner and general manager Mike Brown. However, looking at this transaction, it's hard to find fault especially because of how it played out.
Granted, Mike Brown making the right move in this situation was contingent on A.J. Green blossoming as an NFL player immediately, Chad continuing to decline at the end of his career, and at least one of those draft picks amounting to something for the Bengals. All three happened.
The jury is still out on Marvin Jones. He doesn’t have a large enough body of work as an NFL player to fully evaluate, but the glimpses into his game that he has shown have been worth getting excited over.
With the Bengals’ second to last pick in the Draft, they can ensure the worth of the Chad deal. It’s safe to say that they already won that deal, but it could become a historically noteworthy transaction if they play their cards right.
We’ll have to wait until April 25 to know for sure.