Top 10 Potential Suitors for Randy Moss
If you haven’t heard, former Patriots and Vikings star wide receiver Randy Moss has announced he wants to return to football.
Obviously with a big name like Moss being tossed into the free agency pool, things are about to get spiced up a bit. While there is still the possibility that the washed-up and sluggish Moss we saw in 2010 is the “real Randy Moss”, there’s also a chance that his year off allowed him to re-dedicate himself to getting in the best shape possible, and hopefully also getting his mind and attitude right.
In my opinion, Randy Moss was a hurt individual in 2010. Not physically, but possibly mentally and emotionally. He wasn’t loving the idea of being more of a decoy with the Patriots early in the season, and then he was hurt by the trade that sent him to the Vikings. I think from then on, the rest is history. Moss quit the rest of the way, and looked like he was done.
However, he still has great size and ball skills, so if he is back in shape and still has his famous speed, it’s entirely possible Moss could shock us all and get back to playing at an elite level.
There’s only one way to find out, and that’s for a team (or teams) to kick the tires and see what he’s got. Here’s a quick look around the league as we nail down the Top 10 Potential Suitors for Moss’s services in 2012:
Note: This early in the game, none of this is reported news, but rather just my own speculation and assessment of team needs and interest.
10. Miami Dolphins
Brandon Marshall is the big dog in Miami, but I have a feeling he’d move over slightly for Moss if it meant the Dolphins taking it to the next level. The Dolphins do need a receiver to stretch the field more than Brian Hartline currently does, but they need a drastic upgrade at quarterback to lure Moss into Florida.
9. St. Louis Rams
St. Louis struggled mightily on offense in 2011, and a lot of it had to due with the fact that the team entered the season with slot demon Danny Amendola as their number one receiver. He went down, and it was simply ugly from there. Moss could give the receiving corps a veteran presence and a down-field threat, while helping Sam Bradford progress. I’m not sold on Jeff Fisher loving this idea, though.
8. San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers need a big-play threat. End of story. Tight end Vernon Davis is their biggest play-maker in the passing game, and that needs to change. Even if the team drafts a receiver in the first two rounds this year, landing a veteran receiver who can (potentially) change games like Moss could be a huge risk vs. reward move.
7. Washington Redskins
Mike Shanahan and the Redskins have been rumored to be interested in signing Peyton Manning if he becomes a free agent, so why not go after Moss, as well? The Redskins have made the mistake of trying to buy a winning team in the past, and while that didn’t work out, getting Manning and Moss might be forgivable.
6. New Orleans Saints
There was some buzz last off-season that the Saints could have warmed up to the idea of landing Moss. That didn’t make a ton of sense back then, but with Marques Colston and Robert Meachem both hitting free agency, this could actually be a big signing. It would give Moss another shot at making a Super Bowl run, and if he’s the Moss we all know and love, Drew Brees would be happy to throw him the deep ball all day.
5. Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles reportedly made a contract offer to Moss behind closed doors last year, despite Moss being retired. If they for some reason decide to let DeSean Jackson walk, they could do the same again. There is already buzz about the Eagles being interested in Plaxico Burress, so why wouldn’t they take another look at Moss, too?
4. Chicago Bears
I think the Bears make a move for a big-time wide receiver during this off-season. They owe it to Jay Cutler, and they owe it to their fans. The current roster of average receivers isn’t getting it done, so a change is necessary. While they should draft a young guy that can grow with Cutler in the early rounds, signing Moss would bridge the gap right away and could give the NFC North defenses major problems if he’s still got it.
3. Baltimore Ravens
Torrey Smith was solid in his rookie season, but he was wildly inconsistent. Then you had Lee Evans, who was a bust acquisition, and Anquan Boldin, who is basically just a possession receiver at this point in his career. The Ravens have several stud defensive players at 32+ years of age, and could be watching their Super Bowl window closing quickly. Getting Randy Moss to be Joe Flacco’s steady big-play threat could be a last ditch shot and sealing the deal.
2. New York Jets
Rex Ryan is brash. Randy Moss is brash. It seems like a match made in heaven. The Jets’ need for a big-play receiver is grave, while a potential Peyton Manning landing in New York could spice it up a bit. With or without Manning, Moss could still be interested in New York, a team that expressed interest in him last year before ultimately settling on Plaxico Burress due to Moss’s retirement.
The Jets wanted Moss last year, so if they are willing to pay him and can prove that Sanchez or someone else can get him the ball, he’d consider it. If Peyton Manning signs on, this becomes a real option for Moss.
1. New England Patriots
The Pats’ kick off the Moss search as we peruse the AFC, and they’re a fit for several reasons. They’re clearly built for a Super Bowl run, have a history with Moss, and badly need a legit vertical threat to stretch the field. The bad blood between Moss and New England appears to have dried up, so a return to the Patriots could look more likely by the day.
Just think about it. Josh McDaniels and Randy Moss both back together with Tom Brady and now an unstoppable Rob Gronkowski. All the Patriots would need to do is franchise Wes Welker and they would arguably have the league’s most unstoppable offense. If Moss is still an elite receiver, that is. And that’s still a big “if”.
Bill Belichick would likely risk losing some respect from his team after trading Moss away in 2010, but if the two sides are still on good terms, this appears to be the best and most logical fit. Greg A. Bedeard said via Twitter that it won’t happen, but if Moss has his way, he’s back in New England in 2012.