At a time when it’s believed by many that no high-profile players want to play for the Dolphins, a high-profile player in whom no one else apparently is interested reportedly wants to reverse that trend.
Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com reports that Chad Ochocinco wants to play for pro football team headquartered in his hometown of Miami. Though the report would likely be accurate if the name of any NFL team were inserted in the title, it makes sense for Ochocinco to want to play for the Dolphins.
It actually could make sense for the Dolphins to want him.
As pointed out in our initial look at teams that could be linked to Ochocinco, the current status of the Dolphins’ depth chart suggests that Ochocinco would be an upgrade. The question is whether the Dolphins want to embrace the distractions that go with having Chad in the fold.
Pre-Hard Knocks, the answer would have been “no”, possibly preceded by “hell”. But now that the Dolphins seem to be embracing attention, even if it comes with distractions, Ochocinco makes sense from a football standpoint and a business standpoint.
In a roundabout way, Ochocinco also could help reduce the distractions that HBO and NFL Films will bring to training camp. Chad will be a magnet for the cameras and microphones, which will result in less attention being devoted to mining the rest of the roster for useful video and sound.
La Canfora suggests that Ochocinco could have a new team within a week. But if anyone is pursuing him now, they’re doing so on a top-secret basis.
As to the obvious potential landing spots, La Canfora rattles off several that, per team sources, aren’t interested, including the Rams, Panthers, Cowboys, Ravens, Raiders, and Jaguars. But the anonymous views expressed on an off-the-record basis by one or more team employees is often misleading, and never binding. Like other veterans with baggage, flirting with a player like Ochocinco creates a distraction. There’s no reason to acknowledge interest unless and until the decision has been made to sign him.
The biggest red flag for any truly interested team (apart from the cliff off of which his game fell in 2011) would come from a genuine lack of interest by the Jaguars. Chad’s offensive coordinator in Cincinnati, Bob Bratkowski, now runs the offense in Jacksonville. And the Jags would benefit from help at the position, even with Justin Blackmon and Laurent Robinson and Lee Evans in town. And the Jags would benefit from the butts-in-seats buzz that Ochocinco brings.
So if the Jags don’t want him, maybe no one else should. If, with rosters currently at a 90-man limit, something doesn’t happen soon, it may not happen at all.