The free agency period is open for business in the NFL, and one of the most outspoken, volatile and valuable receivers in the history of the football has made himself available.
Randy Moss’ retirement was as short-lived as Brett Favre’s 15 retirements. After taking a one-season break from the NFL, Moss has made it known that he is ready to return. And while some news outlets found this interesting, most fantasy football owners yawned.
It was not like Moss left the NFL on a high note. His 2010 season was a fantasy fiasco. He spread out a paltry 28 receptions for 393 yards over three teams and was probably dropped by 99 percent of fantasy owners. And for an encore, he retired and sat out the 2011 campaign.
But now Moss wants to come back, and some fantasy football owners might be intrigued. Moss is one of the greatest receivers of all-time and a sure Hall of Famer. Plus, when fantasy owners had Moss on their rosters when they won their league championships, they could proudly proclaim they won “Straight cash, homey!” when people asked what first prize was.
If Moss does join a team in time for the 2012 season, he will have to be placed on fantasy draft lists. You cannot just flatly ignore a man who has 14,858 receiving yards and 153 touchdowns to his credit, no matter how he left the game two years ago. So here are three teams that Moss could sign with in the offseason:
Sidney Rice suffered three concussions and had about 100 surgeries performed on his shoulders last year, so his status for the 2012 season is questionable. Doug Baldwin is a solid receiver but will never force secondaries to double him. Golden Tate still has not realized his potential—and may never. And Mike Williams is an injury-prone one-year wonder.
That means Moss could fly right into Starbucks Land and get Seattle sports fans as excited as when they first laid eyes on Ichiro. The Seahawks need a deep threat who can run deep routes and open the underneath up for their logjam of possession receivers, and create running room for Marshawn Lynch (if Mr. Skittles re-signs).
There are a pair of problems with Moss coming to Seattle, though. One is that the Seahawks have one of the worst starting quarterbacks in the NFL in Tarvaris Jackson. While Jackson and Moss are familiar with one another—they shared a month together in Minnesota during Moss’ second-go-round fiasco with the Vikings—this combo would likely fail to click—and often. Seattle will hopefully sign, draft or trade for a better QB, but who knows who that might be?
The other problem is unless Moss loves Pearl Jam and constant rain, Seattle might not interest him. The Seahawks are not a Super Bowl contender, and the team is not going to sign Moss for multi-millions, so him ending up there seems like a reach. But maybe if no other teams give him a sniff, Moss will settle for Seattle.
You can always go home again, right? Or is that you can never go home again? Whatever the case, the logical move for all parties involved would be if Moss went back to New England, signed an incentive-laden contract and returned as the big-play receiver the Patriots have desperately lacked since Moss left.
New England needs someone to stretch defenses—badly. With Chad Ochocinco unable to learn the Pats playbook that Moss already knows, and with no other receivers on the roster who scare secondaries farther than 15 yards downfield, short and intermediate routes run by Wes Welker and New England’s terrific tight-end twosome are being clogged and covered by decent defenses.
Moss racked up 50 touchdowns in 52 games with the Patriots. And guess what? Quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick, the two men most instrumental in Moss’ New England success, are still there! So if Moss has 90 percent of the speed he had then and plays as hard as he ever has in his career, he could have a decent-to-1,000-yard year.
The only issue could be what happened to the Pats this past season. Ochocinco and defensive tackle/stomper Albert Haynesworth were brought in as reclamation projects, and both were utter failures. This could dissuade the Patriots from handing Moss a second chance.
Still, New England has a better chance of signing Moss than Seattle, and Moss’ fantasy value would be higher with Brady than any passer Seattle acquires.
Moss signing with the Jets makes more sense than syrup on pancakes. Moss needs a team that can give him a job and put up with his nonsense, and the Jets need a receiver who will make Mark Sanchez look like Joe Namath.
The Jets are not bringing back Plaxico Burress unless he signs for the veteran minimum and brings a muzzle for Santonio Holmes. The Jets do not have the salary cap space to sign a free agent like Vincent Jackson or Marques Colston, and their draft picks would be better used on pass rushers and safeties than receivers.
Enter Moss, who does not complain as much as Derrick Mason or carry guns in his sweatpants like Plaxico. Moss could help Holmes not get doubled as much and help the erratic Sanchez complete some passes over 10 yards.
The Jets will be a ground-and-pound team again under new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano, so Moss would not put up even close to the same numbers he could/has put up with New England, not to mention Sanchez is no Brady. Yet with all of the high-profile characters the Jets have brought in under Rex Ryan’s regime, Moss definitely seems like a perfect fit.
The Jets are my favorite to win the Moss sweepstakes. They are a serious playoff contender in need of a premium pass catcher, have a head coach who appreciates high-maintenance personalities and are searching for low-cost, high-reward receivers they can fit into their budget. If Moss signs with Gang Green and becomes their No. 2 WR, 50 receptions for 800 yards and seven touchdowns might be reasonable.