Patriots probably out of the Moss derby

New England's signing of Donte Stallworth could impact any pursuit by the Packers of Randy Moss

If the Green Bay Packers are in the hunt to acquire Randy Moss, they might have one less suitor.

The New England Patriots signed free-agent wide receiver Donte Stallworth on Sunday.

The Patriots and Packers entered the offseason in similar situations. New England needed weapons to surround marquee quarterback Tom Brady. Green Bay needed weapons to surround future Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre.

Speculation centered on both teams as possible destinations for Moss, should the Oakland Raiders decide to trade the underachieving, high-priced, former Pro Bowl receiver.

The Patriots already had acquired receiver Wes Welker in a trade with Miami, so with the addition of Stallworth, New England presumably would no longer be interested in Moss.

In one season with the Philadelphia Eagles, Stallworth caught 38 passes for 725 yards and five touchdowns in 12 games. Stallworth, a former first-round pick of the Saints, added a pair of touchdowns in the playoffs.

He was one of the few big-time talents at the position available in free agency, but news that he was in the NFL's substance-abuse program scared away many suitors and kept him on the market.

According to ESPN, Stallworth's deal could be worth $33.1 over six years. Only $3.6 million of that is guaranteed for the coming season.

Meanwhile, there's a chance Green Bay could back out of the Moss derby because of negative fan reaction. Moss has a history of on- and off-the-field troubles, and that's something that bothers the fans and team chairman and CEO Bob Harlan.

"I've had fans call me and say, ‘Bob, I'd rather see you go 0-16 than do some things that were done here in the '80s,'" Harlan said at Fan Fest on Saturday at Lambeau Field. "And believe me, I'm as concerned about the image of this franchise as anybody, and will be years from now. It's not just because I'm leaving. I'm very concerned about how we look next year and the year after that. So, we're going to be cautious."

Former Packers general manager Ron Wolf had a different take, saying Friday at Fan Fest that winning is "the No. 1 objective — within reason."

"You have to know what you're getting, but if he can help you win, there's no question that you go after him," Wolf said at Fan Fest. "Guys like Randy Moss don't walk down the street every day. You cannot discount that. From the time he took the field for Minnesota , he was a Packer killer."

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