Patriots Expect To Part With Chad Ochocinco, Where Will He Go?

Photo Via SportsofBoston.com

Whatever the 34-year-old wide out wants you to call him—Chad Ochocinco, Chad Johnson, 85 or Hachi Go (that Japanese nickname he once considered, etc.), it looks like he’ll be hitting the open market pretty soon.

GridironGrit.com’s Law Murray mentioned two weeks ago that Ochocinco was a candidate for release for salary and performance purposes.  Now that the New England Patriots have signed Brandon Lloyd to satiate the position they had hoped would have been filled by Ochocinco, both the Boston Globe and Boston Herald indicate he probably won’t return to the Patriots in 2012.

New England indicated it would like for the 6-1, 192-pound receiver to restructure his contract before bringing in Lloyd.

The Oregon State alum hinted that he was open to reducing his base salary of $3 million on Twitter and taking an incentive-laden contract.  However, even if he is willing to play for the league minimum, it’s tough to envision how it helps New England, unless he really comes to grips with the ins-and-outs of the offense this off-season.

Chad had just 15 receptions for 276 yards and a touchdown in 15 contests and three starts last season.  That’s by far his worst year on the stats sheet since his rookie campaign in 2001, when he caught 28 passes for 392 yards and a score.

The three-time All-Pro wide receiver and six-time Pro Bowler has had a remarkable career in the NFL.

In 10 seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals, he set franchise records for the most receptions (751), most touchdown receptions (66), most 1,000-yard seasons (seven), most receiving yards all-time (10,507), most receiving yards in a single-season (1,440), most receiving yards in a single game (260) and tied for the most touchdown receptions in a single game (three).  But the effervescent pass-catcher might have blown more people away with all of his touchdown dances and activities he tried off-the-field.

From launching smartphone apps to experiencing professional bull riding, from acting to hosting WWE, from making the final four in Dancing With The Stars to trying our for Major League Soccer, from being featured in and hosting several shows on reality television to being named the Most Influential Athlete in Social Media last April by CNBC to his constant name-changing, among other things, I think it’s safe to say he will be remembered, if for nothing else, as one of the most entertaining players in league history.

Many also consider him more likable than his former teammate Terrell Owens (aka T.O.) for various reasons.

What’s next for this aging veteran receiver?  Maybe he’ll join Randy Moss in San Francisco…or take his talents to the New York Jets and join Santonio Holmes.  He could jump back into the AFC North with three teams looking to add weapons.

There should be several other options, as most teams could use a veteran receiver.  I like his chances more when he can just be Chad and doesn’t have to follow the “Patriot way” and operate in a fairly complex scheme.

He also of course has the ability to excel in other leagues or hang up his cleats and focus on life after football.

Whatever direction he takes and whatever decision he makes, you can be certain, he’ll keep us entertained.

“Those who make fun of wisdom don’t like to be corrected; they will not ask the wise for advice.” —Proverbs 15:12

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