Albert Haynesworth and Chad Ochocinco are now Patriots. This is because, we're all told and we all believe, Bill Belichick is a genius, capable of controlling anyone that enters his locker room and turning a malcontent into a productive player.
But Dan Pompei, writing at the National Football Post, says the Patriots may have other ideas, and that he was told last week that "one or both" of the dynamic duo could be cut before the season begins.
"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," Pompei writes. "The front office man thinks coach Bill Belichick will use the controversial players to help control and send a message to his locker room."
That either could be cut isn't that shocking -- as we've previously noted, both Haynesworth and Ochocinco restructured their deals. Haynesworth is owed almost zero (!) dollars for 2011 if he's cut, and Ocho will make just $2.5 million.
Both players have their deals set up so that the money would spike in 2012 and 2013 ... if they stay around.
So will they? Well, maybe not. After all, the reason both Ocho and Big Al were such "smart additions" is that they're cheap, talented options who can still produce if they manage to fall in line.
For my money, Haynesworth seems the more likely fella to get cut. Belichick has always been enamored of Ochocinco, who actually fits what the Patriots need offensively.
That being said, this could all be another grand scheme orchestrated by Belichick to motivate his newly acquired, low-paid, big-name veterans. (Though that's not likely; but it would be amusing.) Or it could, as Pompei was told, be designed to motivate the rest of the team.
But what it really boils down to is whether or not Belichick believes that Haynesworth and Ocho can contribute to helping this team win a Super Bowl in 2011 -- as our own Pete Prisco writes, the "real message" sent by cutting either/or of the new additions is that they can't help achieve that goal.
The money they could and should get in 2012 and 2013 is irrelevant right now, as it's certainly not guaranteed to be there at the end of the year.
And, for all we know, it might be off the table by the end of the preseason.
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