The Chad Ochocinco era is over in Cincinnati -- and it couldn't have ended at a better time.
Regardless of what you think about the colorful 33-year-old receiver, it was painfully obvious his time was up with the Bengals. It's also apparent that, in the right situation, Ochocinco can still be effective. That is why Cincinnati's trade with the New England Patriots for two draft picks is a win-win for both parties.
Ochocinco has never been the mentoring type. So the idea of him mentoring rookie receiver A.J. Green and rookie quarterback Andy Dalton on a rebuilding Bengals team was a disaster waiting to happen. Ochocinco knew it, and so did the Bengals.
Yet, Ochocinco playing alongside quarterback Tom Brady for coach Bill Belichick -- people the receiver has always admired -- is a great match. It's the first opportunity for Ochocinco to play for a legitimate title contender, which should motivate and bring the best out of him. In Cincinnati, losing and injuries took a toll, and Ochocinco lost the fire and work ethic that helped make him one of the NFL's most dynamic receivers.
Ochocinco asked out of Cincinnati in 2008, to no avail. He also tweeted this year that he felt his time was up, and this time he got his wish.
The next question is, why won't the Bengals do the same for quarterback Carson Palmer? Cincinnati saved $6 million by trading Ochocinco and could shave another $11.5 million off its books by trading Palmer. But owner Mike Brown said he's not going to "reward" Palmer by sending him to another team, and their issues seem much more personal.
But credit the Bengals for at least moving on from half of the Ochocinco-Palmer era. The pair performed well for several seasons, but the window to lead Cincinnati to a title shot closed years ago.
The Bengals realized that with Ochocinco. It's difficult to understand why they don't view it the same way with Palmer.