NFL Free Agency: Why the Chad Ochocinco Trade Will End the Bengals' Season Now
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“God is So Good” tweeted former Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco Thursday evening, his way of breaking the news to his followers that he had become the newest member of the New England Patriots.
Perhaps he considered following up with, “And the Bengals are So Bad.”
The agreement between the Bengals and the Patriots sent the flamboyant wide receiver to New England in exchange for a fifth-round draft pick in 2012 and a sixth-round draft pick in 2013.
I’ll leave it to Chad to sum up his feelings upon arriving at Foxborough on Friday morning: “@ochocinco: It's 1 thing to jump and be able to land on 2 feet but I had no idea I was landing in Heaven. Hope all is well on this good Friday.”
The trade for Ochocinco is yet another in a long list of reclamation projects for the Patriots, who notably dealt for beleaguered Oakland Raiders wide receiver Randy Moss in 2007. Initial reaction to the Moss trade mirrored the response that the Ochocinco deal is getting now.
Head coach of the New England Patriots Bill Belichick is expected to rejuvenate his new receiver's career. Belichick’s track record when it comes to getting the best out of veteran players suggests that Ochocinco will quickly return to Pro Bowl form.
One thing is for certain, the end zone celebrations for the New England Patriots will be a little more demonstrative this season.
By contrast, Cincinnati has little to celebrate, on or off the field.
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer has long since made known to the team (and the public) his decision to retire from professional football rather than play for the Bengals. Without Ochocinco in town, there's no incentive for Palmer to go back on his word.
Palmer, the first-overall pick of the Bengals in 2003, has been the face of the franchise since his league debut. While his desire to leave Cincinnati to play for a Super Bowl contender is similar to Ochocinco’s, Bengals team owner Mike Brown has chosen not to oblige Palmer and ship him to another team.
Brown’s attitude toward Palmer is bewildering, to put it lightly. By refusing to trade Palmer, Brown is effectively alienating what’s left of his team’s fan base. And with the completion of the Ochocinco trade, Palmer must be wondering what he’s done to Brown to receive this type of treatment.
While Ochocinco is famous for voicing his displeasure with the Bengals via sideline tirades and his Twitter feed, Palmer has only once publicly stated his desire to leave town. Perhaps Palmer should’ve taken a page out of Ochocinco’s playbook and thrown a temper tantrum.
Mike Brown has long been in the crosshairs of the media for his long-standing principle of not trading his disgruntled players. Having once stated that “the goal of a business is to make money,” Brown is certainly losing revenue by not trading Palmer while his value is still relatively high. A trade for Palmer would return adequate compensation in the form of multiple draft picks; by letting Palmer retire, Brown is essentially throwing money down the drain.
And by sticking to his principles, Brown is sending his team a message: this is a lost season.
Cincinnati will lose more than on-field production this year by granting Ochocinco’s wish and denying Palmer the same privilege. Brown is risking fan base mutiny (if it hasn’t happened already), ensuring more home game television blackouts, and further tarnishing his once-proud family name.
Brown’s latest actions (or inaction, regarding Palmer) aren’t even considered ridiculous by those who know the franchise. Because of the owner’s traditional incompetence, morale in Bengals training camp can’t be high.
The Bengals will have few options on offense this season now that Palmer and Ochocinco are out of the picture. Throw in the possibility of a rookie quarterback starting, and they might be looking at a Detroit Lions-esque 0-16 year.
Most Las Vegas sports books opened the Cincinnati Bengals at seven total season wins, which has since been bet down to six since the Ochocinco trade. Even six wins this year might still be giving this team too much credit in this post-lockout era of no minicamps or OTAs.
According to the bookmakers in Vegas, there’s little hope for Cincinnati. And the bookmakers are usually right.
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