RUMOR MILL: Moss To The Patriots?

Various reports have surfaced indicating that the New England Patriots are interested in acquiring Oakland receiver Randy Moss. Is it possible? Imagine Tom Brady having a target like Moss to throw to. It could certainly tilt the tables in New England's favor for 2007.

RUMOR: Oakland will trade Randy Moss to the Patriots

Buzz: Wide receiver Randy Moss, said he was happy to be in Oakland when he arrived after a trade that shipped Napoleon Harris and a first round pick (7th overall) to the Vikings for the all pro receiver. Moss, who signed a lucrative 8-year contract with Minnesota in 2001, has apparently worn out his welcome on the second stop of his pro career. The early indications that Moss is headed to a new locale have surfaced, and one of the teams mentioned in the mix are the New England Patriots.

Impact: If Moss were to come to New England, the Patriots would have an immediate upgrade to a highly suspect receiving corps that included two undrafted free agents competing for a starting job at the beginning of the season. While a Randy Moss of 2005 (60 catches, 1005 yards, 8 TDs) would be an upgrade, a Randy Moss of 2006 (42 catches, 533 yards, 3 TDs) would not.

Reality: Unconfirmed and unlikely.
For Moss to be remotely connected to New England two things would have to happen. First, Moss would need to buy into the team-first mentality over the "I'm Randy, hear me roar" mindset that has stuck to him over his career (not a guaranteed thing). Second, Moss would need to take a major pay cut to fit into the mix in New England. Although the Patriots have close to $20 million in cap space (after you account for Asante Samuel's $7.9 million Franchise Tag, and the impending release of Corey Dillon), doesn't mean they're ready to throw it at the wall hoping a Randy Moss of old sticks. Moss is not going to just chop his salary in half to facilitate a trade, and the Raiders aren't going to keep him around at an $11.7 million cap number when they need all sorts of help to fix their offense.

The rumor goes that the Raiders want a first round pick for Moss from any potential trading partner. Early indications are they would be lucky to land a first day pick for their disgruntled pass catcher. A $9.75 million salary and a substandard season with varying displays of a lackadaisical work ethic coupled with a penchant for a "me first" attitude are all things that prevent players from joining the Patriots.

If there were any truth to the rumor, Moss would have to seriously renegotiate his contract to be a remote possibility in New England before the team is even willing to address the character issues.

Other teams: The other serious suitor for Moss is reportedly the Green Bay Packers. The buzz coming from the Combine was that the Packers would investigate what it would take to get Moss out to Lambeau to catch passes from Brett Favre. Green Bay has more cap space than the Patriots at this point, and Packers GM Ted Thompson is reportedly willing to do what it takes to surround Favre with the weapons he needs to be successful

Moss to Jacksonville is being debunked by as a remote possibility. Character issues are the main reason given for why Moss wouldn't be a fit on Jack Del Rio's no-nonsense football team.

The simple reality is that Moss is unlikely to be traded, at least not to the Patriots. He may join a new team, but not via a trade when everyone knows the Raiders may just end up cutting him anyway.

Suggestion: The Patriots should steer clear of Moss unless they can get him on the cheap for a short term deal that won't come back to bite them. They will probably sign a different receiver who will be on the market. Kevin Curtis, Drew Bennett, Donte Stallworth or even Eric Moulds would be better long-term fits for the Patriots than Moss.

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