TO or not TO? Not Really a Question

Thanks, but no thanks. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Man, that's two articles about former Bengals that have a lame Shakespeare reference in the title. I'm really putting my English degree to use.

But, as stupid as the title of this article is, I think it speaks the truth. There is absolutely no way in hell the New England Patriots are going to sign Terrell Owens. I want no part of that man and him coming here makes absolutely no sense.

Right?

Owens held a workout for any and all teams interested yesterday, and just like my 12th birthday party, nobody showed up.  That doesn't necessarily mean that there are no teams interested in Owens, as I'm sure a number of clubs will evaluate the video that comes out of yesterday's session, but it's clear that the need for the receiver isn't as great as Satan Drew Rosenhaus originally exclaimed. As usual, one of the rumors circulating this week is that the Patriots have shown interest in Owens. I personally put no weight in these rumors whatsoever, as if anything  the Patriots are merely doing their due diligence and kicking the tires on any and all free agents that could possibly help this team win. If there is any interest at all, I would say that it's fleeting at best.

That, said, however, I've made more than my share of predictions over the years regarding what the Patriots would and wouldn't do regarding personnel moves that have come up snake eyes. While it was always fun to make predictions, and I always felt smart and insightful while making them, the majority of the time (in the words of Lloyd Christmas) I was way off. The truth of the matter is that when it comes to the Pats and what they'll do next, the only safe position to take is that of "who the hell knows."

But what's the fun in that? While I still can't fathom a situation where TO comes to New England, you simply can't rule anything out when it comes to this team. Owens is a talent, he still does have something to offer, and I do think he'll play football in 2011 for some team.  Obviously, he also comes with a lot of risk. Breaking down some pros and cons of New England signing Terrell Owens after the jump.

PROS:

New England can get him for next to nothing.  TO is probably going to come cheap to whatever team decides to pick him up. I think he'd be willing to come to New England for even less than other teams would initially offer. Giving him an extremely low, incentive-laden contract with all kinds of opt-out clauses puts New England in complete control of how they use him, which means that Owens is very...

Low Risk.  He gets mouthy, cut him.  He doesn't fit in, cut him. He plays poorly, cut him. They have done it before with unhappy players. They could do it again with Owens. The locker room in New England is strong enough that TO won't be able to come in and disrupt it mid-season, and there is definitely upside to having him in the huddle.

Talent is talent. Regardless of age or surgery, TO is still a talented receiver and has something to bring to the table. He has a presence on the field and must be accounted for by opposing defenses. Even if his only job is to run a go route every single play, surrounding Tommy B with talented receivers can never hurt - unless of course, he feels that he has to force TO the ball in order to keep him happy, a la the end of the Moss era. But if that turns out to be the case, see above.

TO has something to prove. A lot of people have written TO off at this point, and he is definitely in the twilight of his Hall of Fame Career. The Patriots are known as the team where players go to make one last big Superbowl push, and I think that Owens would be unbelievably motivated to not only prove his doubters wrong, but capitalize on what may be his best chance to retire having won a Lombardi trophy.

 

CONS:

37 years old and coming off major surgery. I don't care what kind of shape you keep yourself in. 37 is 37, and there is going to a be a drop-off as the years pile up.

Hasn't played a snap of real football this year. Honestly, how much production can you expect out of a player that hasn't played a single snap this year? Even if TO was to immediately return to form physically, which is a long shot, he can't possibly expected to completely pick up this offense for a mere few games. It just doesn't seem like it's worth the risk.

Potentially disruptive to the offensive philosophy. The Patriots offense is running quite well at the moment without a receiver with TO's particular skillset. New England brought in Chad Ochocinco because he is a solid route runner that can be a short to mid-range threat and fit in with the current scheme that New England runs (still waiting, Chad. Tick Tick Tick). Owens, however, is a big, physical receiver that thrives off creating initial separation off the line and working through the intermediate/deep routes. New England would likely need to alter its game plans a little to incorporate Owens, and you know what they say: if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

That money can be spent elsewhere. Like, say, on a certain receiver who is playing lights out right now and is in the last year of his contract. I know that signing TO, for whatever price, doesn't really affect Wes Welker or his contract status, but it may send the message that New England's priorities lie elsewhere at the moment. The way I see it, if the Patriots are going to throw money at a receiver, let's throw it at the guy that has been making all the catches.

We already have an 81. His name is Aaron Hernandez, and he's playing very well. He also already gave up his number once to Chad Ochocinco. He openly stated that he prefers to wear 81, as that was his number in college, and I think he has earned the right to not have his jersey number get bounced around once again because of another diva wide receiver. I don't know how much of an issue it would be, but TO has always been 81 and I just don't want to have to deal with any hassle, even one this minor.

We don't need him.  New England's offense isn't the problem, and we already have one former Bengal struggling with the playbook.  The bottom line is that New England doesn't need Terrell Owens at all. Bill Belichick is nothing if not frugal, and I just don't see him paying money for a commodity he doesn't need on the off chance it will work out.

 

All in all, I just don't see any way that the Patriots bring TO onto this team.  If they were looking for an older receiver to add another element to this offense, at this point they would be far better just signing Randy Moss rather than take a flyer on a new receiver who is well past his prime and would have to learn what is clearly a complicated offense on the fly. I almost feel like an idiot for even opening up the topic for discussion.

Then again, I would have said the exact same thing about Albert Haynesworth a few months ago, and he is currently in a Patriots uniform. The only person that knows what's going on inside Bill Belichick's mind is The Hooded One himself, so all we can really do is wait and see.

In the meantime, let's open it up for discussion. Is there any way that Terrell Owens plays for the Patriots this year?

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