|Ochocinco is headed for South Beach. (Getty Images)|
Chad Ochocinco has signed with the Miami Dolphins, the team announced Monday. CBSSports.com's Jason La Canfora reports that it's a one-year deal. The move comes four days after the Patriots released Ochocinco after one inglorious season.
The Dolphins won six games in 2011 and, consequently, head into 2012 with a new coach (Joe Philbin) and a rookie quarterback (Ryan Tannehill). Ochocinco adds much-needed depth at wide receiver; currently, Brian Hartline, Davone Bess and Legedu Naanee are the team's top three wideouts. It doesn't matter who the quarterback is -- Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers or Matt Moore -- it's impossible to win consistently in the NFL with that cast as your primary pass-receiving options. Even a kid knows that.
9 year old kid grills Stephen Ross about the #Dolphins WRs on a conference call with season ticket holders. Gotta love it— Ben Volin (@BenVolinPBP) June 11, 2012
Ochocinco, 34, isn't the player he was during those heady Cincinnati days (he had six consecutive seasons of at least 1,100 yards receiving from 2002-2007), but he makes sense in Miami for several reasons. First, he has experience as a No. 1 wide receiver and for many years he's played the position at a Pro Bowl level. Second, whether owner Stephen Ross will admit it or not, it sure seems like the Dolphins are exploring all options when it comes to raising awareness about the 2012 season. That explains the decision to appear on HBO's Hard Knocks and, to an extent, why the organization would sign a possibly over-the-hill Ochocinco.
So what does the move mean for the Dolphins' immediate future? Not much, really. With training camp some five weeks off, there are still plenty of unanswered questions, chief among them: who will be the starting quarterback? Conventional wisdom says it's Moore vs. David Garrard, with the former having a slight edge based on his play down the stretch in 2011. But with Tannehill already quite familiar with the offense, it's reasonable to think that he'll be under center at some point next season.
Of course, with the need for warm bodies at wide receiver, Tannehill, who played the position the first two years of his college career (he caught 101 passes for 1,453 yards and nine touchdowns at Texas A&M), could be an early season option there. We're kidding about that but not about this: there's an argument to be made that Reggie Bush is the best receiver on the Dolphins -- with or without the addition of Ochocinco. That should give you some indication of just how far this team has to come in the next few months to be competitive in the AFC East this fall.
Assuming Ochocinco makes the 53-man roster, he'll face the Bengals when Miami travels to Cincinnati in Week 5 and the Patriots in Weeks 13 and 17.
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