The life of a professional athlete can be like a roller coaster. A few ups and downs, some wild turns, and then a quick end. Such is the case for the just released Chad Ochocinco. He started off his career in Cincinnati with a great start and was recognized for his play with a Pro-Bowl selections, a new contract, a name change, and a television show. He then went to New England and saw very little time on the field and thus had very little production. The Patriots just cut Chad and stated that he did not have the IQ for their playbook. ESPN's Adam Schefter has indicated 5 teams that may be interested in the services of Chad Ochocinco. I will talk about those 5, plus 2 more that would seem to be good fits for Chad in the 2012 season.
It seems every season the Ravens are always a threat for the Super Bowl. In the past several years the biggest area of concern was at wide receiver. Anquan Boldin was a great addition to the team a few years back, and last year they drafted Torrey Smith. Smith started the year very quiet, but exploded later in the year with 3 touchdowns on 5 catches against St. Louis in week three. He had some nice games after that, but Baltimore has never been a passing team. Jacoby Jones signed in the off-season to be the new #3 wide receiver. Ray Rice is always a threat to take away targets out of the backfield also. I also think Baltimore uses a 2 tight end set often this season with Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta, so I don't see a fit here.
When the Bills had Lee Evans, they always seemed to be looking for a 2nd wide receiver to go with him. They even brought in Terrell Owens for 1 year, but that did not work out. When the Owens experiment failed, they found the missing piece on the roster with Stevie Johnson. He turned out to have all the tools to be a great player for the team. The team decided to let Lee Evans go, and are now in the same situation as before. They seem to like both David Nelson and Donald Jones and they drafted T.J. Graham out of North Carolina State in the 3rd round of the NFL draft this year. Graham may turn out to be the #2 wide receiver, so they may have the #3 already there with either Jones or Nelson. The failed reality TV show with Terrell Owens also does not bode well for the prospects of Ochocinco playing with Buffalo.
Every season there are several players who turn an opportunity into a goldmine. Just last year, Victor Cruz came out of nowhere to finish as a top 5 wide receiver. He was undrafted in most fantasy leagues. In 2006, the New Orleans Saints drafted Marques Colston in the 7th round in the NFL Draft. How did that turn out?? Laurent Robinson found himself in that position last year and took advantage with 54 catches for 858 yards and 11 touchdowns playing as a replacement / #3 wide receiver. He left to Jacksonville this year, so there may be an opening. Just like the Buffalo Bills above, the Cowboys also had Terrell Owens. Owens was much better in Dallas than he was in Buffalo, but he was still a headache. I don't see Jerry Jones dealing with another potential headache like Ochocinco again.
Not many teams can state that they have a top 5 running back and a top 5 wide receiver. Try a top 10 in each from 1 team; you can't do it, except for the Houston Texans. For years it seems like the only thing missing from this team has been a #2 wide receiver opposite Andre Johnson. Both Kevin Walter and Jacoby Jones have had the chance in recent years and neither could do the job. Jones is now in Baltimore, so Walter stands to be the #2. He is an ok receiver with some skills, but does not have the deep threat to help spread out the offense even more. The Texans did draft Devier Posey out of Ohio State in the 3rd round to help cure that ailment. Chad does not have the speed to do that anymore. Chad may sign here to be a backup to the oft-injured Andre Johnson, but not as a starter.
This scenario just makes too much sense. The Dolphins have had a horrible off-season and the fan support is falling fast in South Beach. Miami traded away their #1 wide receiver --Brandon Marshall-- to Chicago and did not do much to replace him. They drafted B.J. Cunningham out of Michigan State in the 6th round, but he is not a #1 wide receiver. That leaves Brian Hartline and Devone Bess as the top wide receivers on the roster. Ouch!! Chad can sign here, be the #1, and be in all the limelight that the South Beach area has to offer. Reportedly they are already scheduled to meet with Ochocinco.
Now the 2 teams I could also see as possible spots for Ochocinco.
The Cleveland Browns have needed a #1 wide receiver for years. They have now drafted a quarterback very high in 2 of the past 3 drafts. A quarterback cannot do it alone. He needs some tools around him. Trent Richardson is a great running back and the future is very bright for him. What the Browns need is some more help at the wide receiver position. Greg Little and Mohamed Massoquoi are OK receivers, but will be better suited at the #2 or #3 wide receiver slots. In this scenario, Chad would also be returning to the state of Ohio. I think the AFC North will be a higher scoring division than is the normal, and Chad can help out. He also brings experience to help out the other receivers and both Colt McCoy and Brandon Weeden. He will also make life easier on top draft choice Trent Richardson.
NEW YORK JETS
Everybody knows that New York is the media capital of the world. It just seems natural for Chad Ochocinco and the Jets to talk. The #2 wide receiver for the Jets last year was Plaxico Burress. While he did have 8 touchdowns last year, he was considered a disappointment to the team. Chad would seem to be a good fit as the #2 wide receiver to pair up with #1 Santonio Holmes. It does seem like a foregone conclusion that the Jets will bring back Braylon Edwards to be the #2. The Jets also drafted Stephen Hill in the 2nd round out of Georgia Tech and really like his potential. I don't see Chad going to the Jets and possibly being a minor player like he was in New England.
Chad Ochocinco may have a golden opportunity at his feet, but time is not on his side. If he wants to remain in the NFL, he should sign for a small deal and prove himself to be a great player like he once was. Can you say hello Miami or hello Cleveland??