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Taking a closer look at what Chad Ochocinco’s restructured deal means

03.25.12 at 3:42 pm ET
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Chad Ochocinco isn’t stupid.

The wide receiver, who earned $6 million in salary and bonuses last season but only came away with 15 catches for 276 yards and a touchdown, was scheduled to make $3 million in base salary in 2012. However, the news that he has agreed to reduce his contract to a $1 million base salary for 2012 signals shows that he’s committed to doing as much as possible to make it work in New England.

When it comes to the wide receiver position, Ochocinco faces a far different situation than the one he encountered when he first joined the Patriots last summer. Now, he’s part of a far more crowded group at receiver — New England has spent the offseason treating the wide receiver spot like it did with defensive line last offseason, importing several veterans in hopes of trying to add depth and create some good positional battles at the spot. Brandon Lloyd and Anthony Gonzalez were acquired in free agency, as well as familiar face Donte Stallworth. In addition, figure that Wes Welker (provided he signs his franchise tender) and Deion Branch will also be in the mix. In all, the Patriots now have 10 receivers under contract, presuming Welker inks his tender.

As a result, Ochocinco can certainly see the writing on the wall. He’ll head into the 2012 facing a healthy positional battle on the outside, one that will include Branch, Stallworth and Lloyd. On a team that frequently utilizes two-tight end sets (as well as Welker in the slot), that likely means one outside receiver will be left out in the cold when it comes to regular snaps in 2012. Of course, this doesn’t guarantee him a roster spot, but the move means that any roster decision regarding whether or not to keep to cut Ochocinco won’t come down to his contract.

When Ochocinco did speak with the media over the last year, he’s always made it a point of saying it’s not about the money, but about winning. By agreeing to restructure his contract, he’s shown a willingness to put his money where his mouth is.

Read More: Anthony Gonzalez, Brandon Lloyd, Chad Ochocinco, Deion Branch
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