Stuck on Chad?
Not long after I threw out my thoughts yesterday on the apparent chances for a Chad Ochocinco trade on or before draft day, Yahoo Sports’ Jason Cole came along with the closest thing to new information we’ve had since the “friendlier price” rumor. Writes Cole:
"That said, two sources who have spoken to Brown said he would be willing to deal Ochocinco – and two others said he won’t. What could turn the tide toward a trade is that while Ochocinco has been much quieter than last offseason, he still wants out. Ochocinco hasn’t shown up for offseason workouts. That follows his decision to not have surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff in his left shoulder, something the Bengals wanted him to do. Throw in the fact that at least two people who know Ochocinco have told the team that his competitive spirit to play for the Bengals has basically burned out, and you get the picture. One source even told quarterback Carson Palmer in March that a deal of Ochocinco could be coming before the draft."
Kirk chalks the conflicting reports about whether the Bengals will trade Chad up to the usual dithering for which the Cincinnati front office is infamous. Certainly, that wouldn’t surprise me one bit — but I think could just as easily reflect the lack of interest (so far) in 85, combined with team’s need not to generate another round of fan outrage.
In any other year, the Bengals front office wouldn’t give two cents for what the fans think. But this isn’t any other year. The Bengals are coming off their worst season since 2002 and the economy is in the tank. The cost of a seat license at Paul Brown Stadium is falling through the floor and the team has reportedly asked the NFL to rig its early season schedule to try to preserve its 44-game sellout streak.
Make no mistake: the Bengals are in no danger of going broke any time soon. But I’m sure that part of the reason they rushed out to sign Laveranues Coles after T.J. Houshmandzadeh skipped town was to head off another round of complaints about the front office’s penny-pinching ways that would only have discouraged more current and prospective ticket-holders.
How does this concern Chad? Well, while most Bengals fans would happily punch his ticket out of town, they will be equally eager to punch owner Mike Brown if he doesn’t get compensation that’s at least in the same ballpark as the one actual and one potential first-rounder he turned down last season.
And like I said yesterday, there’s been no indication that any team is willing to fork over anything like that.
Again, this could change, especially on the first day of the draft, but unless the Bengals get a deal that allows them to save face for turning down the Redskins in 2008, then no, Chad’s staying put.