According to an article from Pro Football Talk (Yeah, I know it's PFT, but at least it's not Florio.) there is a possibility that the Patriots will part ways with Chad Ochocinco now that they have purchased the services of Brandon Lloyd, a move that pairs Lloyd with the only Offensive Coordinator who's ever been able to get significant production out of him in Josh McDaniels.
If the Patriots decide to cut ties with Ochocinco, what are the odds that the Panthers would be interested in the services of the 34 year old receiver? Do you think it's far fetched? Well, it may not be as unlikely as you think. In fact, Ochocinco could be a player that's right up Hurney's alley. Let's take a look after the jump and see how Ochocinco could be a good option for the Panthers in free agency if he came at the right price.
First of all, Ochocinco is a good football player. During his tenure in Cincinnati he was one of the better WR's in the league despite Carson Palmer struggling through two different injuries during his time there and deciding to retire in 2010 when the Bengals wouldn't give him the trade he requested.
During his time in Cincinnati, Ochocinco's average season was as follows:
15 G / 75 REC / 1078 YDS / 7 TD
I don't know about you, but I believe those stats would make a huge impact on our offense. It gives Cam Newton another target opposite Steve Smith, it takes pressure off Smith, and it allows the rest of our offense to contribute more because we're not dependent on two players (Cam and Smith) to receive all the attention from the defense. Ochocinco would be helpful to Greg Olsen as well, because the defense would have to account for a legitimate threats at both receiver positions, allowing Olsen to find space in the seams and be used as he was intended to be used when he was traded for last offseason.
Most of us here at CSR already believe that we need to get a legitimate threat to pair with Smitty, so why not take a gamble on a guy in Ochocinco, who outside of his one season in New England has been one of the best WR's in the league? And, before anyone brings up the fact that he didn't have a good year last year with the Patriots, it actually makes him more likely of a target for the Panthers because he would have to sign a lower-level contract because the NFL is a "What have you done for me lately?" league, and the last two years of his career have been mediocre and bad.
Even though his season in New England was an utter failure, I can't look past what he was in Cincinnati, and I can't stop thinking about how much of a threat he could be in our offense paired with Steve Smith and Cam Newton. From where I sit it's not a huge risk to bring him to Carolina as long as Ochocinco doesn't demand a huge contract (and according to PFT, he's willing to sign for the veteran minimum with incentives), and it would be a much safer bet than going after someone like Hines Ward who is older and not as good as Ochocinco.
What do you think Panthers fans? If the Patriots do release Ochocinco, would you take a flier on him? Sound off in the comments section with your thoughts!
Hat tip to rscott94 for linking the PFT article in a comment, which led to this story.