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Thursday, July 28, 2011
Rapid Reaction: Chad Ochocinco

By Mike Rodak

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- In their second trade of the day, the Patriots have again made headlines by acquiring outspoken Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco. The deal, according to ESPN senior NFL writer John Clayton, includes a restructured three-year contract that allows the six-time Pro Bowler to fit under the team's salary cap.

Despite Ochocinco's well-reported and candid personality, the veteran wide receiver has a good relationship with Patriots head coach Bill Belichick. 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.

The 33-year old Ochocinco was a steady producer for the Bengals since being drafted in 2001. An ankle injury limited him to 14 games last season; he finished the season with 67 receptions for 831 yards and four touchdowns.

While no longer as dangerous a downfield threat as he was earlier in his career, Ochocinco, at 6-foot-1 and 192 pounds, adds some size to a Patriots receiving corps lacking it following the departure of Randy Moss last October.

The risk for the Patriots here is seen as minimal. Ochocinco's headlines are considered to be more playful than incendiary. He has been hit with league fines for jocular touchdown celebrations, not legal problems or disciplinary issues.

In addition, for acquiring another top receiving threat for quarterback Tom Brady, the Patriots only surrendered two late-round draft picks, while negotiating more manageable financial terms with Ochocinco.

For existing Patriots personnel, this trade will have the most impact on third-year receiver Brandon Tate and second-year receiver Taylor Price. Following the departure of Moss last season, Tate was unable to emerge as a receiving threat consistently for the offense, a role that will now likely be taken over in part by Ochocinco. Price's chances of adding sought-after playing time have also been reduced.