In the wake of a report that the Patriots have approached Patriots receiver Chad Ochocinco about restructuring his contract, ESPN's First Take panel debated whether the team should bring him back next season or just cut their losses and move on.
If on the roster, Ochocinco's salary cap hit for 2012 is about $4.5 million -- a base salary of $3 million and $1.5 million in a prorated signing bonus. If the Patriots cut him, they'd save the $3 million salary but the signing bonus portion would still hit the cap for at least this season. Ochocinco is also on the books for a cap hit of $4.5 million for 2013, if on the roster.
Here is the back and forth between former Patriots defensive coordinator Eric Mangini and fellow analysts Rob Parker and Skip Bayless:
* Mangini: "He's had a year in the system now, so hopefully with that year, you'll see a jump in performance and they'll get what they were going to get from him or a higher level. The other thing you have to remember is when you cut someone, there's acceleration that comes onto the cap. So even though they may lose, whatever the number is that they owe him this year, the savings may only be half that. And you still have to go get a replacement player, so there's economics involved in this too."
* Parker: "Last year, and I know it's a new system, but I've never seen anybody who's played that many years of NFL football -- and you can tell me the playbook was complicated and all that -- and not make an impact. ... he was a zero."
* Mangini: "People develop in systems at different rates. He was in one system his whole career (before coming to New England). If you give him the opportunity to show that he belongs ... and a lot of times in these contracts, when players renegotiate, you give them incentives so they can earn the money back and you'll give them a chance to earn even more money if they outperform the contract."
* Bayless: "I'm with Eric on this one. ... They invested in a year with him, and they want him to reinvest in them at a lower rate with more incentive. If Brady and Belichick believe in Chad at this point, that means they think that, with a year under his belt, that it was overwhelming for him this year and that next year it will all start to click and become second nature with him. And that he still has enough left in his physical tank to be a contributor."
* Mangini: There are financial considerations here. It's not just cut the guy and go get another guy. You cut the guy, you don't gain that much salary cap, and then you have to go replace him. Why not see whether or not he progresses, at a lower rate, where the salary cap savings is about the same as if you cut him. If he hits, great. If he doesn't hit, then you can move on from him at that point."
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