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Miami Dolphins have reason to take flyer on Ochocinco

The critical columns will practically write themselves following Chad Ochocinco's signing in Miami Monday. We'll hear that the Dolphins are just doing it for the publicity. We'll hear that owner Stephen Ross has forced the team to go Hollywood. We'll make some reality television show jokes.

Lost in Ochocinco's ability to improve ratings is the reality that he could improve the Dolphins' receiver group. He's a low-cost, low-risk, medium-reward signing for a team that could use options at the position. The signing actually makes some football sense. Really.

As Dan Hanzus pointed out, the Dolphins wide receiver depth chart is hardly littered with stars. The top three options are Brian Hartline, Davone Bess, and Legedu Naanee. Behind them are guys like Marlon Moore, Roberto Wallace, and Clyde Gates.

The team's third receiver -- Naanee -- is on his third team in three years. He's a spare part, a fourth or fifth receiver on a good team. His last two teams (the San Diego Chargers and Carolina Panthers) weren't particularly aggressive in trying to keep him. Can Ochocinco be better than Naanee? It's worth a shot.

We haven't learned the terms of Ochocinco's contract yet, but it's heavy on incentives. We anticipate that it will be light on guarantees. (Light meaning "zero," not ocho or cinco.)

Nothing should be assumed with Ochocinco's stay in Miami, not even a roster spot. But what's the harm in trying? If he can't improve the team's three-receiver sets, then Miami will cut him at the end of camp.

We have seen broken-down receivers who simply can't run. Ochocinco isn't that guy -- yet -- which is why we figured he'd at least get one more opportunity.

If Ochocinco can't take advantage of that chance in the next two months, then we can start writing career obituaries. Again. In the meantime, we'll enjoy the show.

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