New England Patriots Offseason: Signs Point to Chad Ochocinco As a Fit With Pats
After a devastating loss to the New York Jets, New England Patriots fans look to see their team rebound next season. With a roster filled with talent and youth, the organization can continue the the youth movement with their surplus of early draft picks. The Patriots off-season needs include resolving the situation with guard Logan Mankins, providing depth behind Woodhead and Green-Ellis, continuing to improve the defense, a deep threat in the receiving corps and adding veteran presence.
A recent tweet by the infamous Chad Ochocinco ignited curiosity in New England when he said "PePe and Bill #EPIC". The tweet implied that the star wide receiver could be interested in playing for his great friend Bill Belichick. Ochocinco could be a fit in New England. Read on to see why it could work, and why it could be a recipe for disaster.
Pro: Talent As a Deep Threat
Chad Ochocinco gets a lot of flack for being such a character but you can't deny his talent.
Ochocinco has quite the resume in his ten year career, with highlights including six Pro Bowl selections, two time First Team All-Pro selection and in 2006, he led the National Football League in most receiving yards per game. He would be a good complement to Wes Welker's short yard game as the deep threat the organization is looking for. Ochocinco has averaged double digits in yards per reception in every year of his long career. His play would add pressure to opposing defenses and alleviate pressure from receivers like Welker, Deion Branch and Brandon Tate. A dynamic offense is what powered the Patriots this year, and Ochocinco could help this trend continue next season.
Con: Locker-Room Headaches
As fans, we love to see players interact with their fan base and show their personality. However, it may seem that Chad Ochocinco tends to forget where to draw the line and he may be a too much to handle sometimes.
As owners, people like Robert Kraft care about the reputation of the organization and how the players, coaches and staff present themselves on a daily basis.
These two tendencies clash and Kraft may not want to acquire a player like Chad Ochocinco because he could taint the reputation the Patriots organization has as a very respectable team.
Pro: Career Revitalization a la Randy Moss
When the Patriots acquired Randy Moss, some critics were skeptical of headaches he could cause similar to the issue presented with Ochocinco. Moss's career appeared to be in a downward spiral. He was coming off of a season where he only score three touchdowns and only had a little over 500 yards.
Things changed when Moss teamed up with Tom Brady in New England. His number of yards in his first season with the Pats sky rocketed and almost tripled. Moss scored 23 touchdowns that season and seemed like a perfect fit. Playing alongside an elite quarterback like Randy Moss seemed to give Moss's career a second wind.
The possible newly formed duo in Brady and Ochocinco could boost the wide receiver's play in a way similar to Moss.
Con: Personality Drags Down Talent a la Randy Moss
When Moss first came to town, it seemed as if the days of Moss mooning the crowd were over. He seemed to have grown up and decided to focus on his career.
Things were apparently too good to be true when Moss began causing trouble behind the scenes with the Patriots. He had even gotten in arguments with Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. Fighting with the head coach and quarterback does absolutely no good and was the cause of Moss's departure from New England. Moss was traded to Minnesota for a draft pick. New England may be skeptical to acquire Ochocinco with the possibility of a fall out like what happened with Randy Moss.
Pro: Relationship With Bill Belichick
You could never imagine coach Bill Belichick joining the energetic Chad Ochocinco in a night on the town to the club scene. Likewise, you could never imagine Ochocinco enjoying a chess match at home with the solemn Belichick (I don't know what Belichick does for fun so let's pretend).
However, the two managed to become good friends and apparently have a good relationship. Bringing Ochocinco to town would be instant chemistry between the coach and player. Ochocinco has expressed interest in playing for Belichick. Due to what we know about their friendship, it seems as if Belichick would also welcome Chad to New England with open arms.
Pro: He Could Come to New England Cheap
Last off-season, when the Cincinnati Bengals acquired Terrell Owens, many analysts expected the Bengals to make some noise during the season and possibly make the playoffs. Calling these analysts wrong is a far understatement. The Bengals finished the season with a miserable record of 4 wins and 12 losses. Bengals coach Marvin Lewis and Ochocinco didn't see eye to eye at the end of the season. While the team recently announced that Lewis will be returning, it appears that Ochocinco doesn't want to play for the coach.
Lewis has also expressed that he has wanted to begin a youth movement in the wide receiver corps. They have young talent in Jerome Simpson, Andre Caldwell and Jordan Shipley at the position. The combination of the ability to replace Ochocinco with young talent and Ochocinco's feud with Lewis, it appears that Ochocinco may have played his last season in Cinci. The team could buy out his contract making him a free agent or the team could look to acquire a third or fourth round draft pick for the wide receiver. The Patriots have many picks in the first few rounds so they have the assets to trade for him.
A Look at The Patriots With Ochocinco
If Ochocinco was acquired by the Patriots, the offense would be stacked.
Quarterback: Tom Brady
Deep Threat Wide Receivers: Chad Ochocinco, Brandon Tate
Wide Receivers: Wes Welker, Deion Branch, Julian Edelman, Taylor Price, Matt Slater
Tight Ends: Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, Alge Crumpler
Running Back: Ben Jarvus Green-Ellis, Danny Woodhead
While the Patriots need to acquire depth behind their new backfield duo Green-Ellis and Woodhead, Tom Brady would have many reliable options. Ochocinco, Welker and Branch are proven veterans while Tate, Edelman and Price are young talents with high potential. The Patriots also had a rookie duo of Gronkowski and Hernandez emerge as a lethal duo who should be reliable for years to come. After watching the Patriots lose to the Jets in a poor offensive performance, Ochocinco brings a veteran presence that would help benefit the whole offensive game plan.
Acquiring Chad Ochocinco is certainly a risk. However, New England is a great atmosphere in which problem players can come to and fit in. Having a prior relationship with the team's coach, should make Ochocinco feel right at home. Ochocinco should look at New England as a new beginning where he can resurrect his career and maybe win a Super Bowl ring.
The Patriots can acquire him for a cheap price and fill their need for a deep threat.
All signs point to the wide receiver leaving the Bengals and the Patriots make the most sense and a fit. Of course Aaron Hernandez would have to change his jersey number or we'll be looking at another name change for the wide receiver.
New England should execute a deal that would land Chad Ochocinco in a Patriots uniform as one of the many steps in solidifying their roster for another shot at the Super Bowl. Once a deep threat is acquired, the Patriots can work on extensions with Logan Mankins and Wes Welker, acquire a pass rusher in the draft, solidify both the offensive line and defensive line with draft picks and veterans in free agency as well as look for running back depth in the same areas. The Patriots have the assets to improve their roster, we will soon find out if Chad Ochocinco is in their plans for the off-season.