Thursday, June 7, 2012
Should rest of AFC East consider Ocho?
By James Walker
The New England Patriots have so much depth at receiver that they could afford to release a former six-time Pro Bowler. On Thursday, the reigning AFC champions cut bait with receiver Chad Ochocinco.
But the Patriots are the exception in the AFC East. Receiver is a big position of need throughout the division, and every team still could use an upgrade.
Could Ochocinco still land in the AFC East? Let's take a look at how he would fit with the Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins and New York Jets.
Why Ocho would fit: The Bills need a proven No. 2 receiver, and that's a role I think Ochocinco could handle. He is no longer a No. 1 receiver, and Steve Johnson has that job in Buffalo. But Ochocinco was never a part-time player who could come off the bench and produce. That was proved in New England. Buffalo has a wide-open offense that needs as many talented receivers as possible. Ochocinco isn't as bad as his stats showed last year. He just never fully grasped the precision system with the Patriots. Ochocinco could help the Bills' depth.
Why Ocho wouldn't fit: The Bills are focused, have good chemistry and are on a mission to make the playoffs for the first time in 13 years. Bringing in the circus that comes with Ochocinco is risky. Buffalo took a chance with embattled receiver Terrell Owens a few years ago and it didn't pan out as expected. This would be a similar acquisition. Besides, Steve Johnson already has maturity issues with his touchdowns celebrations and Ochocinco is probably the worst influence you will find in that regard.
Interest scale (1 to 10, 10 being the highest): 5
Why Ocho would fit: Ochocinco makes his offseason home in Miami, which makes it a natural fit. The Dolphins also are desperate for talent at receiver. A case can be made that Ochocinco, even at this stage of his career, is better than any receiver Miami has on its roster. Ochocinco also would be a cheap alternative, and that's important considering Miami is fairly tight against the cap. Miami is on HBO's "Hard Knocks" this summer and Ochocinco's personality would certainly add to the show.
Why Ocho wouldn't fit: The Dolphins got rid of Brandon Marshall because the new coaching staff wanted to clean out the locker room of players with character issues. Ochocinco is more fun-loving than a trouble-maker, but rookie coach Joe Philbin has enough on his plate and doesn't need the extra things Ochocinco brings to the table. Besides, trading Marshall but adding Ochocinco would seem a little contradictory and certainly not equal in terms of a talent swap. Marshall caught 81 passes for 1,214 yards last year and was the Pro Bowl MVP. Going after Ochocinco to replace Marshall would open the Dolphins up for criticism and questions about where Miami's program is headed.
Interest scale: 5
Why Ocho would fit: The Jets had some interest in Ochocinco in recent years but the Patriots got him first. Even Jets Pro Bowl cornerback Darrelle Revis publicly pushed for Ochocinco to New York. It's years later and the Jets could still use another productive receiver. Ochocinco isn't the player he used to be, but he could take the pressure off No. 1 receiver Santonio Holmes and buy time for rookie second-round pick Stephen Hill. The Jets are used to the extra media attention. They acquired Tim Tebow this offseason, and bringing in Ochocinco would seem mild in comparison.
Why Ocho wouldn't fit: As I mentioned, the Jets would add more to the circus atmosphere. The Jets have enough pressure as it is to bounce back from a disappointing 8-8 season in 2011. Ochocinco also is not good at run blocking, which is an important part of New York's offense. The Jets will "ground and pound" teams a lot this year, and Ochocinco is not one to mix it up with defensive backs. Still, I see more good than bad for Ochocinco in New York. If I had to pick one AFC East team that's best for Ochocinco, it would be the Jets.
Interest scale: 7