Update: The Packers gather no Moss

Wide receiver Randy Moss lands in New England after the Packers decided the price — either Moss' price or the Raiders' price — was too steep.

Whether it was the Green Bay Packers electing not to match Randy Moss' price, the Packers electing not to match the Oakland Raiders' price or a combination of both, months of speculation fizzled Sunday when the New England Patriots acquired the mercurial wide receiver for a meager price.

By all accounts, Packers general manager Ted Thompson left Lambeau Field headquarters on Saturday thinking he had a shot to land Moss, the former All-Pro wide receiver who had the potential to add some much-needed electricity to the league's 22nd-ranked scoring offense.

On Sunday, however, the Patriots dealt a fourth-round pick to Oakland to get Moss.

As Thompson tells it, he learned of the trade on the news. That seems somewhat hard to believe. Wouldn't Raiders owner Al Davis have used New England's offer to try and leverage something else out of the Packers?

Regardless, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, the Raiders tried to work out a deal with the Packers for Moss on Saturday, but Moss and the Packers were unable to reach terms on a lower-priced contract. According to ESPN, Moss refused to renegotiate his contract for any team but the Patriots.

According to several Wisconsin newspapers, however, Thompson decided a fourth-round pick was too much to pay for Moss. He felt Moss was worth only a fifth-rounder. Which begs the question: Would Thompson really rather have a promising Division II offensive lineman (fourth-rounder Allen Barbre) over Moss? Or, for an apples-to-apples comparison, would Thompson really rather have receiver James Jones (a third-rounder from San Jose State) than Moss?

Then again, perhaps none of that is true. Perhaps Moss simply wanted to play for a Super Bowl contender, and Davis and the Raiders accommodated.

"He wants to play for a title and win a Super Bowl," Moss' agent, Tim DiPiero, told a Minneapolis television station before the draft, a sentence that sent a clear signal that Green Bay may not be a desired locale.

Moss' best days — his hungriest days — after all, were in Minnesota when the Vikings were winning games. He also has said he preferred to play on the East Coast.

"How many players can you ask in the league," Moss said Sunday, "that wouldn't want to come up here and play for the New England Patriots?"

Well, Moss very well may get his wish of playing in a Super Bowl. Why he respects Brett Favre, the Patriots have a better quarterback in Tom Brady, and Brady clearly has a better supporting cast. New England has been the league's dominant team this decade, and has improved itself greatly this offseason by signing pass-rush artist Adalius Thomas and adding receivers Donte Stallworth and Wes Welker.

Moss was set to make $9.75 million for the upcoming season and $11.25 million in 2008, far too much for an unmotivated and troublesome player coming off easily the worst season of his career with only 42 catches for 553 yards and three touchdowns. The Patriots were able to get Moss to agree to a one-year, $3 million deal, with another $2 million in incentives.

So, after months of talk, the Packers did not gather Moss. The wheels of a trade had been turning for months, and they gained speed on Saturday when Oakland traded for underachieving Detroit receiver Mike Williams, signaling Moss' likely departure.

"I am disappointed, not speaking about anything specifically," Thompson said. "I am disappointed on a couple of things that we were working on that didn't work out."

Lawrence is a regular contributor to PackerReport.com. Send comments to steve_lawrence_packers@yahoo.com.


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