Included in the many debates surrounding our Bengals this off-season is the question of whether or not Chad Ochocinco will return to finish out the final year of his contract with the team.
Chad will be due $6 million for 2011 if the team elects to have him finish out his existing deal. Many believe the Bengals will part ways and release him after the lockout ends and others believe he will be back to bring a veteran presence to a young receiving corp.
One would think the team will have to think hard about this decision due to several factors such as:
1) Rookie QB. If Carson Palmer does not return, which seems likely to be the case, and rookie quarterback Andy Dalton is given the chance to start come Week 1 how much will it really help him to have Chad’s veteran presence on the field? This is subjective because although Chad does bring considerable experience and success at the receiver position, he has been known to be on a different page than the quarterback (fault being debatable) and at times there seemed to be a lack of chemistry between Palmer and Chad even after years of playing together.
2) Young/Inexperienced WR Corp. If Chad is let go and T.O. is not returning, will 1st round draft pick A.J. Green along with receivers Jerome Simpson, Jordan Shipley, and Andre Caldwell provide enough support to whomever is starting at QB? (remember Palmer threw for 4 touchdowns against San Diego in Week 16 last year with Simpson, Caldwell, Gresham, and Shipley playing and no Ochocinco or T.O. on the field.)
3) Other Free Agents. Re-signing other key free agents such as Cedric Benson and Johnathan Joseph has to be a high priority after the lock out ends. In addition to re-signing key players the Bengals also need help at other positions such as safety and on the o-line in my opinion, so would releasing Chad free up money that could be better used for other needs of greater importance?
So let me toss this back your way, should the Bengals bring Chad back for the 2011 season?