You have almost certainly read something like this more than once over the past several months: “Chad Ochocinco, who is expected to be released before the start of the season…” I don’t know how it became conventional wisdom that Chad will be released, but it has been unavoidable this offseason.
Personally, I don’t believe that it will happen. Chad will be a Bengal one more year.
I get the reasoning behind the conventional wisdom. Chad is due to be paid ~$6M this season. He has not exactly put up the big numbers over the past 3 seasons. He wants out anyway. So why not let some other team pay him to be an average WR, right?
For most NFL teams, that is enough logic to make that move. But Mike Brown’s Bengals are not most teams. Releasing Chad doesn’t fit Brown’s pattern. So here is why I believe we will see Chad in a Bengals uniform for one more year:
1. Mike likes Chad. Fans blast Brown frequently for being cheap, but he will pay the guys he really likes. He made CP the highest paid QB in football at the time when he signed his current contract. He dropped big money on Levi Jones and Willie Anderson. And he extended Chad’s contract when his contract at the time was not nearly up. Mike likes Chad, and he want Chad to play here.
2. Mike likes power. As a lawyer, he enjoys extracting every caveat and nuance from a contract. Because he can. And he is darn good at it. Good sense and mutual benefit are minutia. If you sign it, he is going to hold you to every last bit of it. (See also: Palmer, Carson; Hamilton County Stadium Agreement)
3. Chad is the only seasoned WR on the roster. If Chad were released, the most experienced receiver on the team would be Andre Caldwell, who hardly played last year until they had to use him in the last 3 games when Chad and T.O. were both injured. They could signed a free agent, but we know how well the whole Antonio Bryant thing worked out. I don’t see Brown being satisfied going into 2011 with the rookie Green plus Shipley, Simpson and Caldwell. Not when he can add Ochocinco to the list.
4. Mike does not get rid of unhappy players. Brown seriously believes that if he gives in to one trade demand, then more will follow and he will have to give in to those too. And because he likes his power and does not like being told what he has to do, he fights the demand, no matter the cost.
Besides Chad and Carson, I don’t know of any other players who are under contract that want out. So the fear is unfounded. But even if another player or two suddenly came forward with a trade demand, a happy and cohesive locker room is worth losing a couple of players. But Brown would not know the tension his refusals cause because he is not connected enough to the players to see it.
And then there is the whole stupid “precedent” concern. Trading one player does not obligate him to trade the next. Doesn’t that sound like the way a lawyer thinks?
So despite the logic behind trading or releasing Chad, I say Chad will wear the stripes for one more season? Do you agree? Will he stay or will he go?