There were recent rumblings that the New England Patriots are considering cutting wide receiver Chad Ochocino this offseason. It now appears that the defending AFC champs are amenable to bringing the polarizing receiver back for 2012, provided that he is willing to restructure his current contract with the team.
Mike Florio at ProFootballTalk reports that Ochocinco is due to make $3 million in each of the next two years with the Patriots. That would seem to be well above his current value, based on his 2011 numbers.
Liz Mullen of SportsBusiness Journal reports, and PFT has confirmed, that the Patriots have approached Ochocinco regarding the possibility of restructuring the contract.
It's unknown at this point whether the Patriots wish to do a "simple restructuring," which would give him up to $2.075 million in the form of a signing bonus and drop his 2012 cap number by up to $1.0375 million, or whether the Pats want Ochocinco to roll back his base salary to a lower amount.
Florio notes that the Patriots do not want to cut Ochocinco just yet. The $6 million signing bonus he received when he signed a two-year extension with New England after arriving in town as part of a 2011 trade makes that difficult. If Ochocinco does not agree to restructure his contract, he will definitely be on the chopping block prior to the 2012 season.