A Big (Personality) Day for the Patriots
Sometimes it seems like Chad Ochocinco has done it all, especially after this past off-season during which he rode a bull, tried out for an MLS soccer team, and started his own news agency, known through his twitter account as "OCNN". From hereon out however, Chad Ochocinco will be trying something he's never done before-keeping his mouth shut and toeing the company line as a member of the New England Patriots. That's right, the most outspoken player in the league, the man so desperate for attention that he legally changed his name to match his number will be paired for the foreseeable future (3 years to be exact, according to the contract he restructured to make the trade work) with the quiet-to-the-point-of-insanity muddling genius Bill Belichick, and catch passes the golden boy Tom Brady.
This is an acquisition that really shouldn't surprise anyone-and yet I'm personally flabbergasted. There were murmers about such a transaction taking place prior to the lockout, however news throughout the lockout wiped much of that talk from many fans, allowing the trade today to take us off guard.
Ochocinco isn't the deep threat most analysts believe the Patriots need, however he will be a legitimate option in the pass happy Patriot offense. While it hasn't yet been announced what the Bengals will receive in return in the trade, one can assume that the trade follows the Haynesworth style trades Coach BB is known for, buying talent low and shopping it high, and smart money says that the compensation will be something in the neighborhood of a 4th or even 5th round pick (remember that Santonio Holmes went last off-season for a 5th rounder and Randy Moss fetched only a 3rd rounder from the Vikings when he left last year).
Belichick has formed a reputation over the course of his career for being a coach that builds his offense from the interior-out. This meaning that he likes to add receivers who aren't afraid to make catches inside the hash marks, whether they be tight ends or possession receivers like Wes Welker, Deion Branch, or now-Chad Ochocinco. The Pats could certainly still use a deep threat, and Chad is coming off what was one of his worst seasons statistically, but the presence of Ochocinco on the field should give Brady a very legitimate target for the next three seasons.
Overall today I think the Patriots' actions have been very productive, in acquiring Albert Haynesworth on the defensive side of the ball and Ochocinco at the wide receiver position. Both are not only supremely talented athletes who can dominate when they want to, but both are also massive personalities who can be very vocal leaders on their respective side of the ball. Throughout the past several seasons the Patriots have worked the draft, selecting in bulk throughout the second, third, and fourth rounds and adding a great deal of quality depth throughout the team. Part of doing that however, is often unloading, by-passing, or trading big names in order to stock up on later picks. The Patriots have done that, by-passing prospects like Clay Matthews and Dez Bryant in the draft, and saying good-bye to the likes of Randy Moss and Mike Vrabel via trade in recent years. While this strategy has resulted in a great deal of depth throughout the roster, the team is truly lagging in impact, dominating, large personality players.
Bringing in two guys like Ochocinco and Haynesworth could potentially solve that problem, as both have the potential to take over games in terms of talent, and the personality to lead other men, as evidenced by Ochocinco's television show and 2.2 million followers on Twitter, and Haynesworth's play during the 2009 season that earned him a defensive player of the year award and a $100 million contract from the Redskins. Once again, the Pats have certainly showed a certain amount of brilliance, foresight, and daring in their roster moves. And once again, I expect them to pan out. Barring the Jets signing Asomugha, today puts the Patriots as a solid favorite to win the AFC East and take another crack at the playoffs next year in my opinion. What do you think?
Here's what I think: the biggest question inspired by this trade is; did the "restructuring of the contract" Ochocinco had to do to make the trade work involve barring him from Twitter? I just don't see how Ochocinco's obssession with attention coincide well with Bill, but if they can this could be the trade that puts the team over the top.