I would not do it for many reasons. The cap number is one. Moss makes way more money than he probably could command on the open market right now. His base salary is more than $9 million per year. I assume any deal would require a restructuring of his contract to make it more palatable. But either way, it is a lot of money to pay for an underachieving wideout no matter what the potential. If you could get Marvin Harrison, who is both talented and reliable, that would be a different story. I understand the Raiders were woeful at quarterback and Moss did not have much to work with, but he still underperformed.
Moss just turned 30 years old in mid0February. It is not uncommon for a football player to reach a point where their skills begin to diminish. Maybe Moss is at that point. Donald Driver keeps getting better as he gets older, but is he the exception or the rule? People talk about Favre's skills diminishing, but maybe Moss is the one who is on the decline.
Do the Packers really need him? Is the tandem of Driver and Greg Jennings good enough? Koren Robinson may be back after a few weeks, so the folks over at Lambeau Field may feel that they can get by at the position with those three guys. They may believe that they can take that money and upgrade at the safety or tight end position. When it comes to allocation resources, the Packers could do a better job of managing the cap and improving the team more.
I do not doubt that Packer fans will embrace him the first time he catches a Favre bomb down the sideline. If he can help the Pack get back, all sins will be forgiven. My high school lacrosse coach was not well liked by other coaches and players. They viewed him as jerk. I loved him, but could see why he rubbed people the wrong way. Some of it was jealousy and some was warranted. If he coached a rival team, I probably would have hated him too. He was a jerk, but he was my jerk. It will be no different for Moss. The "moon" will become a faint memory. The chronic problems with the law and authority will disappear from people's minds. He will be worshiped by fans throughout the country because he can score touchdowns. He may be a "bad guy" but he is our bad guy.
Any illusions Packer fans have that their team is different should be dropped. Just because Green Bay is a small town and we like to think our team is different, does not make it so. Just because Vince Lombardi preached character and integrity and selflessness as opposed to selfishness, does not prevent dopes from playing for the Green and Gold.
The most compelling reason that the Packers should pass of Moss it that he is a classic underachiever. He is on the record saying he only tries when he wants to. It is debatable as to whether Moss quit on the Raiders. It could be said that they quit on him, saddling him with Aaron Brooks and Andrew Walter. They kept Jerry Porter on the bench for political reasons. It would have helped to have a complementary player on the opposite side of the ball. If you gave Moss an adequate quarterback and a decent receiver to take the heat off of him, would he bounce back to prior form? Are you willing to bet 9 million dollars on it? Are you willing to bet that he comes in and performs up to snuff? What if he is washed up and struggles? What manner of trouble will he create if he is unhappy? Will the Packers have the guts to cut him at that point to avoid the distraction, even if it cost them big bucks and looks embarrassing? Ted Thompson does not seem to care what the press or fans think about him, but will he have the guts to admit that it was a mistake if Moss reverts to form and threatens the locker room?
Will he infect the locker room with his bad attitude and me-first attitude? This team is so young, that a bad actor can create a disastrous mix of arrogance, conceit and bad behavior. Can Mike McCarthy handle the man? Wide receivers coach Jimmy Robinson is a fine teacher and good man, but can he control Randy? What makes us think that they can run him, when so many others have failed? I cannot answer that and that is why I would steer clear of Randy Moss. If he walks the straight and narrow and is still physically capable of making plays that end up on SportsCenter, then it makes sense. If all he needs is a little love and a QB who can get him the ball, then it makes sense.
Come July, when he dons the Green and Gold uniform, what makes us think it will all make sense? If they do trade for him, I hope Moss realizes that he has a chance to redeem himself. I hope he scores touchdowns and makes plays. I hope the only reason we ever talk about Moss is to praise him for his play on the field. I hope we never have to mention anything he does or says once practice or the game is over. Hope is all we have.
Editor's note: John Lombardi is the grandson of legendary coach Vince Lombardi. His football experience includes stints with two teams in the World League (now NFL Europe); in the scouting departments of the Cleveland Browns and Tennessee Titans; and graduate assistant coach and director of football operations at Vanderbilt. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.