To cap an unpredictable afternoon that was fitting given his unpredictable nature, receiver Chad Ochocinco has been released by the Patriots.
The team has formally announced the move.
As Adam Schefter of ESPN reported, and as we separately have confirmed, the Patriots tried to trade Ochocinco before cutting him. Earlier this year, he agreed to drop his base salary from $3 million to, per NFLPA records, $925,000. Ochocinco was due to earn $3 million in base salary in 2013.
The Patriots acquired Ochocinco and defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth last summer, after the lockout. They were praised at the time for both moves, although neither panned out.
Ochocinco ended up being the far more costly mistake. Via a contract restructuring, the Pats gave him a $6 million signing bonus. He also earned a salary of $1 million in 2011.
In return, the Pats got 15 receptions for 276 yards and one touchdown.
Ochocinco instantly becomes an unrestricted free agent. The fact that no team was willing to to trade for a contract that would have paid him $925,000 this year means that he’ll at best be getting a one-year deal for the veteran minimum, under the device that allows the contract to account for only $540,000 under the salary cap.
He may not even get that. Which would mean that the duo that described themselves as Batman and Robin would be able to fight crime or do pretty much anything else in 2012, since neither Ochocinco nor Terrell Owens would be playing pro football.