Ocho Cinco situation could get ugly

Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

While meeting with reporters Tuesday in preparation for the NFL draft, Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis emphatically stated the team will not trade star receiver Chad Ocho Cinco.

Now that Cincinnati has drawn the line once again, this situation has the potential to get ugly. For proof, look no further than last season.

Ocho Cinco went public with his gripes and told various media outlets, including ESPN, he wanted out of Cincinnati. The move didn't work as the team took Ocho Cinco's public bashings and patiently waited for mandatory camps. Once he showed, it was an all-out media circus that took the focus away from football in Cincinnati.

This year Ocho Cinco has taken the silent approach. Apparently, he is letting agent Drew Rosenhaus work behind the scenes while skipping voluntary workouts, which recently cost him $250,000. That hasn't worked either, leaving Ocho Cinco few options beyond a sudden change of heart by the Bengals.

And after reading Lewis' stern comments Tuesday, a change of heart doesn't appear on the horizon.

"Again, I don't know why people continue with this speculation of moving Chad," Lewis said. "I think it's been told many times ... Chad's not getting moved."

There are a couple of primary reasons the Bengals are against trading Ocho Cinco.

For one, the team would take a $4.87 million cap hit, which isn't as large as last year's $8 million cap hit but still enough to scare the Bengals away. Also, there is little value for Cincinnati in return to trade a 31-year-old receiver who is coming off one of the worst seasons of his career.

The Bengals feel it's more valuable to keep the former Pro Bowler rather than get a midround pick or two. Last year, for instance, the Bengals were offered a first-round pick and a conditional third-rounder from the Washington Redskins that could become a first-rounder based on Ocho Cinco's performance. Trading Ocho Cinco now would be the epitome of "selling low."

What Ocho Cinco does at this point is up to him. The Bengals have been working out as a team for several weeks, therefore Ocho Cinco can either get with the program or once again make his unhappiness a major spectacle.

Cincinnati is hoping for the former, but Ocho Cinco's history leans toward the latter. The Bengals will find out how Ocho Cinco handles this situation soon enough.