New England Patriots Acquisitions: Big Names, Big Questions, Big Potential

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New England Patriots Acquisitions: Big Names, Big Questions, Big Potential
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Chad Ochocinco.

The New England Patriots made the biggest boom in today's NFL news, signing two of the biggest names in the league.

Wide receiver Chad Ochocinco, noted for his outspokenness just as much as his football abilities, will play for the Patriots next season. Ochocinco joined the Patriots as part of a deal which sent the Bengals two future draft picks, according to ESPN's John Clayton. The former Cincinnati Bengal caught 67 passes in 2010, four of them touchdowns, and produced 831 receiving yards.

He's caught 66 touchdown passes in his 10-year career, all of which to this point has been played in Cincinnati. Ochocinco has also been featured on Dancing With The Stars, The T.Ocho Show with former teammate Terrell Owens, Ochocinco: The Ultimate Catch (a dating show on VH1) and an episode of World Wrestling Entertainment's Monday Night Raw. He tried out for Major League Soccer and lasted 1.5 seconds on a bull at a Professional Bull Riders event on May 14. He's also been known as a pioneer of the touchdown celebration.

Defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth has also been in the spotlight for reasons other than his playing ability. Haynesworth has 324 career tackles and 30.5 sacks since his 2002 debut with the Tennessee Titans. This morning, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Haynesworth had been traded to New England. Washington received only a fifth-round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft in return.

Win McNamee/Getty Images
Albert Haynesworth (92) takes down Brandon Jacobs of the New York Giants

Haynesworth is also noted for stomping the face of Dallas center Andre Gurode during a game in October of 2006, noting after the contest, "What I did out there was disgusting. It doesn't matter what the league does to me. The way I feel right now, you just can't describe it."

During 2009, Haynesworth was picked up by the Washington Redskins. His time in Washington was not the high point in Haynesworth's career as he was suspended by the team after disputes over his absence from practices. He recorded only 13 tackles and 2.5 sacks during 2010.

This activity has been met with excitement and some scrutiny. Patriots fans who spoke with New England Cable News seemed delighted Ochocinco would join the team, and cautiously skeptical about Haynesworth.

"I just hope he [Haynesworth] shows up," one fan told reporter Josh Brogadir. "Just play the game. Just kick some, you know. Do the right thing. And Ocho, he's gonna fit right in. Him and Brady are gonna hook up. It's going to be beautiful."

"I love Ochocinco in general," another fan said. "He's gonna have to leave his attitude at home, but ya know, I think he's gonna fit in well around here. Absolutely. 

"I don't know about Haynesworth. I know he's good, but I'm more excited about Ochocinco. I'll tell you that much."

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Chad Ochocinco.

Some say a new environment will bring new life to the 33-year-old Ochocinco's production, which has declined in the past three years.

"While facing Jets CB Darrelle Revis twice a year isn’t going to be a positive, the fact that he has Tom Brady (instead of Andy Dalton) slinging him the football in a talented offense sure makes him more attractive across the board," wrote NFL fantasy football blogger Michael Fabiano.

"Despite Ochocinco's well-reported and candid personality, the veteran wide receiver has a good relationship with Patriots head coach Bill Belichick," ESPN's Mike Rodak reported. "The two developed the bond at the Pro Bowl several years ago, and prior to a preseason game two seasons ago, microphones caught the two exchanging good-natured ribbing."

Other experts aren't sold on the new Patriot receiver.

"The Ochocinco I watched on game film from Cincinnati last year looked like he was shying away from contact," said ESPN's Christopher Harris. "Great wheels were never his game, even when he was in his prime, so he needs physical route running and spectacular hands to be effective. I saw alligator arms galore in '10 and too many flamboyant displays of on-field frustration."

Meanwhile, Haynesworth brings a whole new world of question marks and many are quick to point out the Patriots are taking a risk.

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"Haynesworth proved that when he is not happy he is willing to pout," said Yahoo! Contributor Network writer and New England Patriots fan Darren Pare. "Forget about being a professional, instead he tried the hold my breath until I turn blue tactic that a 3-year-old might employ."

In addition, Haynesworth faces on-going legal problems. The Washington Post reported that Haynesworth faces misdemeanor sexual abuse charges for allegedly fondling a cocktail waitress. His trial is scheduled to begin on August 23, just a few weeks before New England's season opener at Miami. On July 11, the Post reported that Haynesworth has been absent from two hearings in this case thus far, which angered Senior Judge Patricia A. Wynn.

"This is his first responsibility and I will expect him to be available on that date,” Wynn told The Post.

However, Belichick and the Patriots organization have become known for taking risks like these. New England signed receiver Randy Moss for the 2007 season despite previous controversies, including multiple instances with marijuana and questions surrounding his effort by critics. Moss caught 23 touchdowns his first season in New England, as the Patriots reached Super Bowl XLII.

In 2003, running back Corey Dillon was plagued with injuries as a member of the Bengals. With his age and ability in question, Dillon joined the Patriots the following year, rushing for 1,635 yards and helping New England to a 24-21 victory over the Eagles in Super Bowl XXXIX.

In the midst of this week's NFL offseason chatter, the most dominant team of the past decade is back in the headlines and at the forefront of all the excitement. Only time will tell if New England's latest risks will bring reward, but if recent history has taught fans anything, it's that no one revitalizes football careers like the New England Patriots.

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