Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

07 Jun 2012

Chad Ochocinco Joins Dolphins

After watching Chad Ochocinco barely be a part of the gameplan down the stretch last season, the Patriots have reportedly decided to cut ties with the receiver today. Now 34, his possible landing spots include the Allen Wranglers and OCNN.

Edit: Ochocinco has agreed to terms with the Miami Dolphins. He might have been better off with the gag ideas.

Posted by: Rivers McCown on 07 Jun 2012

21 comments, Last at 14 Jun 2012, 9:42am by RichC


by Dean :: Thu, 06/07/2012 - 4:42pm

When are these clowns going to learn? The sideshow is not the show.

by Guido Merkens :: Thu, 06/07/2012 - 4:49pm

Even aside from the whole "is he a distraction?" thing, there's no sense in any team using a roster spot on a fairly unproductive 34 year old receiver who doesn't play special teams.

by RickD :: Thu, 06/07/2012 - 8:33pm

He wasn't a distraction. He was very well-behaved in New England. He just was not productive at all.

This has to rate as one of the least surprising developments of the off-season, given how many new (and returning) WRs the Pats brought in over the past few months.

by bubqr :: Thu, 06/07/2012 - 6:21pm

I never fully understood the hate for Ochocinco. The NFL was so much more entertaining when he was on top of his game. Plus his craziness/attention whorism often makes him a forgotten man when talking about the best WRs of the 2000s.

by jebmak :: Fri, 06/08/2012 - 9:53am

I agree completely, bub.

by GMan1 (not verified) :: Thu, 06/07/2012 - 6:45pm

Ocho never bothered me. He just seemed weird and crazy, but not actively destructive or harmful like TO. He always seemed to take his actual football playing seriously in that he didn't get arrested, skip practice/OTAs, or dog it in games. He just liked to have fun while playing.

by chemical burn :: Fri, 06/08/2012 - 12:38pm

Yeah, but remember that Owens NEVER got arrested, skipped practices nor dogged it in the film room, weight room OR on the field. He was a guy will real emotional problems with flames that were further fanned by how much attention indulging them got him. Sure, his problems were way out of control and he undoubtedly sank at least the 2005 Eagles - but this is a guy who attempted to commit suicide at the zenith of his career. As as Eagles fan, I have no love for the guy/nor do I excuse him for anything, but you couldn't complain about his dedication to success and giving the game his all. He was genuinely unstable and encouraged by the media and other sycophants around him to continue to act in a self-destructive manner.

Randy Moss is the one you're thinking of, if you're talking about dogging it in BIG games and skipped practices/OTAs. But Ochocinco was more harmless than either. Also: not as good.

by justanothersteve :: Thu, 06/07/2012 - 9:43pm

I'm another who never understood the Ochocinco hate. I've never heard anything other than he was a great teammate and his celebrations were just entertaining. I don't recall him every putting down his opponents other than to say they couldn't cover him, he stayed out of trouble, and brought a level of fun to a game we all take way too seriously. In their prime, he and TJ may have been one of the top 10 all-time great WR combos. And had Carson Palmer not had that ugly knee injury, they probably would have been.

by Jerry :: Fri, 06/08/2012 - 7:55am

"Hate" is a stronger word than I'd use to describe my feelings toward Chad, but I dislike the way he exemplifies the "look at me" ethos. Some find it fun, which is their right, but it annoys me. I noticed Jerry Rice because of his play, not his antics.

by tuluse :: Fri, 06/08/2012 - 11:10am

I figure we need players like Chad so that when someone acts like, for example, Walter Payton and gives the ball to the linemen to spike, it means something.

Of course that would be an unsportsmanlike penalty now since it's involving teammates in celebrating, thanks NFL.

by PatsFan :: Thu, 06/07/2012 - 10:25pm

Interesting bit from the Boston Globe's Greg Bedard:

What the Patriots didn’t realize watching Ochocinco on film while with the Bengals was, according to several league sources, he ran the routes he wanted to there and it drove quarterback Carson Palmer nuts -- especially later in his Bengals career. But Palmer was smart enough to realize that no matter where Ochocinco was running, he was probably going to get open because his feet are that good down the field. And after so many reps together, Palmer had a good feel for where Ochocinco would end up.

That can play in the Bengals’ offense, but not with the Patriots. This offense is so precise that if one player is in the wrong spot, it throws off the entire system – not to mention it irks Brady, who wants to be in total control at all times on the field.


If there’s any lesson to be learned in the experiment, it’s that the Patriots had to do more research on certain players before they acquired them. According to sources, that lesson was learned before this offseason when the Patriots signed several free agents – only after doing a ton of investigation into them. The team no longer just relied on game film. They found a rock-solid source that vouched for each player this time around.


by andrew :: Fri, 06/08/2012 - 12:48am

Any shot the Raiders would be interested, then?

by tuluse :: Fri, 06/08/2012 - 12:48am

Does this mean the Patriots offense does not use option routes? Or that the options are predefined and very specific?

by dryheat :: Fri, 06/08/2012 - 8:16am

The latter. Guys like Welker and Gaffney have made a career out of reading the field the same as Brady, and running the route that he's planning on throwing.

From the article: At times, there are four decisions that a receiver needs to make after the snap the way our offense is,’’ O’Shea said. “That’s one of the advantages of our offense, that we give players a lot of flexibility within the system to take what the defense gives us. And that’s definitely something that’s unique about our offense

by Not Jimmy (not verified) :: Fri, 06/08/2012 - 10:36am

It was interesting to hear Tedy Bruschi's take on Chad from after game 1 against the 'Phins. Chad said he was in awe of the Pats' offense and Tedy ripped him saying that to be in awe of it is to not understand it. He was spot on. By the end, the routes 85 was running were just go routes. The Pats' offense is way more complex than that. As Tedy said - no understanding at all. Its a shame.

So will Hernandez get his 85 back?

by RichC (not verified) :: Thu, 06/14/2012 - 9:39am

I'm a lifelong patriots fan. And I say this as a patriots fan:

Tedi Bruschi is a terrible analyst, and a blowhard hack. He's the football analyst equivalent of the 85 year old man down the street screaming at the kids to get off his lawn.

by 3.141592653 not... :: Sat, 06/09/2012 - 12:40pm

I didn't really care about 85 one or the other until the HOF jacket TD celebration. Sure, call yourself a HOFamer Chad, too bad 85 is the only one calling 85 a HOFamer.

by MJK :: Sat, 06/09/2012 - 1:50pm

Far bigger news (and probably more interesting to discuss) than a washed up, 4th or 5th string veteran receiver not making a club loaded at that position, is the Pats extending Gronkowski. This is a MAJOR departure from how they have handedl rookie deals in the past...they're extending him after only two years, and while he is coming off a significant (albeit healable) injury.

This is decidedly NOT the approach they took in the past with Deion Branch, Asante Samuel, Richard Seymour, etc. And in all those cases, it led to strife. Of course, it is closer to the approach the Eagles regularly take (extending good young players early), and that sometimes leads to strife as well when those players start outplaying their extensions. I wonder how it will turn out?

by Dan :: Sun, 06/10/2012 - 1:16pm

I'm really surprised that Gronkowski & his agent agreed to the deal. He's now under contract for the next 8 seasons, which is ridiculous. He's only getting $9M/year for the new years on the contract. That's less than he was worth last year, when he was one of the top receivers in the league (6th in receiving yards and 3rd in receiving DYAR among all players) and probably the best blocking TE. After a few years of salary inflation it'll seem even smaller. He does still have 2 years left on his deal, but you'd think he could do better than this.

There isn't even that much guaranteed money - just $13.2M, for a 6-year $56M extension. Pierre Garcon just got $20.5M guaranteed for a 5-year $42.5M contract ($8.5M/yr), and last year Santonio Holmes got $24M guaranteed for a 5-year $45M contract ($9M/yr). Basically, Gronkowski's contract is a two-year extension, worth $8.5M/year, which is mostly guaranteed, and then a team option for an additional 4-year extension at $9.25M/year which is not guaranteed at all.

by jackgibbs :: Mon, 06/11/2012 - 10:39am

with the salary floor and the new rookie wage scale, teams have more money to utilize. it makes more sense now to lock a guy that looks like he's going to be a superstar down now, rather than wait until he actually is a superstar. now gronk gets the long term security of being an instant millionaire, and the team has a key position locked down for the rest of brady's career.

if gronk does outperform, as is fairly likely, I'm sure he will be restructured, right around the time brady's money comes off the books

by RichC (not verified) :: Thu, 06/14/2012 - 9:42am

This isn't a departure at all.

They've extended plenty of guys early. What the big deal with Branch(et al) was that they refused to tear up the years left on the rookie contract.

They didn't tear them up for Gronkowski. He's still making rookie money the next two years.

Essentially the entire new deal is an option they can pick up in 2015. Its a really strange contract.