After the 2007 season, Bengals receiver Chad Ochocinco embarked on a campaign to be traded out of Cincinnati. Making the rounds at the Super Bowl’s Radio Row, Ochocinco pleaded to be traded to the team in the market that the various sports talk stations represented.
It was believed that Ochocinco wanted out because he wanted a new contract and the Bengals wouldn’t give it to him. Eventually realizing that the team had all the leverage and didn’t intend to budge, Ochocinco decided to love the one he involuntarily was with.
Three years later, Ochocinco has one year left on his deal, at a 2011 base salary of $6 million. A source with knowledge of the situation tells us that Ochocinco wants to stay in Cincinnati.
The ultimate decision will depend on many factors. The coach, if it’s not Marvin Lewis, may or may not want Chad. The coach, if it is Marvin Lewis, may or may not want Chad.
There’s no denying that Ochocinco remains a big draw, but as we pointed out in the Week 16 Monday 10-pack, the team’s ability to win a game and have fun doing it by scoring 34 points without Chad or Terrell Owens could mean that both have become unnecessary to the broader cause. With the Patriots winning without wideouts who need to get the ball a certain number of times lest they pout and mope and complain, more and more teams may decide to move away from receivers who place stress on the quarterback by needing to get the ball early in the game under the threat of checking out down the stretch.
So it could be that, three years after Chad didn’t want to stay but the Bengals didn’t want him to leave, Chad wants to stay and the Bengals want him to go.
Regardless of how it turns out, it will be yet another interesting subplot to what could be one of the most interesting offseasons in NFL history.