By Phil Perry
Would Bill Belichick cut either Chad Ochocinco or Albert Haynesworth to send a message?
One NFL executive thinks so. According to Dan Pompei of the National Football Post, one executive familiar with the Patriots believes one of or both Chad Ochocinco and Albert Haynesworth could be cut before the end of training camp.
From the National Football Post:
Chad Ochocinco and Albert Haynesworth might not be long for New England ... one NFL executive familiar with the Patriots' ways told me he believes one or both of the big name acquisitions will be cut before the season starts. The front office man thinks coach Bill Belichick will use the controversial players to help control and send a message to his locker room.
A few things to consider before returning your new Ochocinco jersey to the Patriots Pro Shop:
Similar rumors surfaced about Randy Moss when he arrived at Patriots camp in 2007. Moss didn't participate in most of his first training camp with the Pats and some thought Belichick might send the future Hall of Famer packing. Instead, Moss turned in one of the best seasons a receiver has ever had. He caught 98 balls, set a record for touchdown receptions (23), and helped lead the Patriots to an undefeated regular season. So there's that.
If the Patriots decided to cut Ochocinco, it would be an expensive message to send. Ochocinco's base salary is only 1 million this season, but PFT reports that Ochocinco picked up a 4.75 million signing bonus when he restructured his deal. Even if he was cut before the start of the season, Ochocinco would stand to make about 5 million -- a pretty penny for the Pats to make a point. And that's not to mention the two future picks the Patriots traded to the Bengals to acquire Ocho in the first place.
It would cost much less to cut Haynesworth. He didn't receive any up-front bonuses so the Patriots would end up losing the fifth round draft pick they traded to the Redskins in return for Hayneswort, and that's about it. For that reason, Haynesworth getting snipped is the more believable of the two possible cuts suggested by the National Football Post's unnamed NFL executive. But until anything happens, this seems to be nothing more than one front office man's opinion.