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Randy Moss to Rams: Why Ex-Titans WR Would Look Good in St. Louis

Shane GraySenior Analyst IMarch 12, 2012

Randy Moss to Rams: Why Ex-Titans WR Would Look Good in St. Louis

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    Would the St. Louis Rams consider pursuing future Hall of Fame wide receiver Randy Moss via the 2012 NFL Free Agency period as a target for Sam Bradford under the Gateway Arch?

    Would St. Louis go so far as to add Moss and then pass on a prospective young superstar like Justin Blackmon or the similarly built Stephen Hill in the 2012 NFL Draft after signing the 13-year veteran? 

    Some of you are already hyped over the concept of adding one of the best and most explosive receivers in league history to help solidify a sub-par receiving corps.  

    Others have came close to tossing their iPhone, laptop or PC after even being presented with such an idea.

    I will share my personal opinion and recommendation about signing Moss at the conclusion of the slideshow.  In the meantime, let us look at seven real reasons for St. Louis to add the aberration better known as Randy Moss to the Rams roster.  

1. Tools Appear Intact

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    The re-emergence of Moss as a legitimate option for NFL teams in 2012 (and possibly beyond) essentially began on March 6.  

    On that day, Moss showed NFL scouts and team executives that his skills were intact.

    According to Jay Glazer of Fox Sports, Moss looked like the real deal:

    Hearing from multiple sources re RandyMoss workout today he lit it up. Was told he ran about 45 routes and "looked like the old Randy.

    According to a report from Pro Football Talk, the overall performance of Moss "couldn't have gone better."

    It appears that Moss still owns the potential and skill-set that helped make him a monster, so cross that off the list of necessary hurdles to clear before starting the bus for a Randy Moss comeback tour.  

    Although he has not yet ran a 40-yard dash (that I am aware of), he was obviously quite impressive in doing what he does best: running routes and catching footballs. 

    If Moss is indeed able to do what "the old Randy" could, then one could rightfully deduct that his abilities remain at a top-tier level. 

2. Last Change = Motivation

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    After being out of the NFL in 2011, Moss surely realizes that an opportunity in 2012 would constitute his last real chance to make an impact in the league.  

    Moss, 35, must comprehend that  this is make-it-or-break-it time.  It is do or die.  It is now or never.

    Some people, regardless of the walk of life, perform best when the odds are stacked against them and their back is against the wall.

    Will Moss use his still-apparent talent and find the inner strength to perform to his potential once again?

    Or will he fade into the background as he did in 2011, retiring before the season begins? 

    Moss himself said, as reported here by ESPN, that he is ready to "[...]play football" and is "really excited" to do so.

    According to his agent, Joel Segal (as also presented in the above linked ESPN piece), "he still has the fire [...]" as well as a "chip on his shoulder."  In the aforementioned article, Segal is also quoted as saying, "He's got something to prove and a motivated Randy Moss can be a dangerous Randy Moss."

    With Moss appearing to still own the abilities that helped make him a six-time Pro Bowl selection and a four-time All Pro, a motivated Moss (like the version we saw with the New England Patriots), could indeed be "a dangerous Randy Moss." 

    And that Randy Moss could be a big-time contributor and upgrade for an offense that managed just 12 points per game last season in St. Louis. 

3. A Year Away Could Rejuvenate Moss Like John Riggins, Kurt Warner and Others

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    John Riggins is one of many NFL players who left the league for at least a season (for one reason or another) to return to later contribute at a solid and, in some cases, spectacular fashion. 

    Some other notable standouts who either retired, were injured or were benched for most or all of a season (or more) but who came back to play well have included: Kurt Warner, Mike Vick, Trent Green, Willis McGahee, Ricky Williams, Plaxico Burress, Deion Sanders, Randall Cunningham, Joe Montana and Jerry Rice, among others. 

    Running backs typically hit the wall at age 30.  The position takes a tremendous toll on the body, as would be obvious. 

    For a receiver, 35 is often looked at like 30 for a RB.  

    Riggins, though, took a year off and came back to notch two of his best seasons ever at the age of 34 and 35.

    During the 1983 season at 34, for example, Riggins earned an All-Pro birth and the NFL Player of the Year Award while helping lead the Washington Redskins to a Super Bowl appearance (after winning the Super Bowl the season before). 

    It is interesting to point out that Moss and Riggins are both generally regarded as laid-back men. Perhaps Moss has truly looked at his life and gotten serious at making the most of this prospective comeback, something that the similarly-natured Riggins apparently did.

    In speaking of his departure from the game last summer, Moss has said that he "had some things I had to adjust in my life."

    Before Riggins' return, Riggins stated, "I'm bored, I'm broke and I'm back." 

    Moss appeared bored himself in 2010.  Perhaps he realized that life after football was even more boring than playing a sport that helped make him stack major money and become an all-time NFL great. 

    If so, the well-rested and supposedly rejuvenated Moss could ultimately be "back" to his Pro Bowl form in 2012, just as a reinvigorated Riggins was some two decades previously.

    Riggins returned to the game at an age (32) when he was supposedly over-the-hill as a running back. In retrospect, however, he was clearly not finished.

    Moss, at 35, could get the chance to show the same.

    Moss' agent Segal says Moss has "something to prove."  It looks like he may get the chance to do just that.

    Why not prove himself on wide-receiver-starved St. Louis, who has a thing or two to prove itself? 

4. Wide Receivers Can Be Elite at Age 35 and Beyond

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    In researching the list of NFL receivers who have had very good to great seasons at or beyond the age of 35, the list I compiled was of greater length than expected.  

    Some of the players who have excelled and even earned Pro Bowl births at or beyond the magic mark of 35 have included Tim Brown, Henry Ellard, Isaac Bruce, Terrell Owens, Andre Reed, James Lofton, Cris Carter, Art Monk, Rod Smith, Joey Galloway and Jerry Rice. 

    Moss could add his name to this prestigious list. In fact, he has an advantage that was detailed in the last slide: a year away from the bumps and bruises. 

    Moss has had a year to let his body, ligaments, muscles, tendons and bones to heal, just as Riggins did. 

    With skills intact, motivation in place and a body rested and ready to go, there is no reason that Moss could not flourish at 35 years young (assuming his deep speed is yet intact) like those in the aforementioned list above. 

5. Potentially Best Deep Threat in St. Louis in Several Seasons

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    Randy Moss has been known to "take the ball deep and take the top off the defense," as he said here in this entertaining clip from DJ Steve Porter

    As most of you know, Moss is one of the best deep threats in NFL history.  

    During his illustrious career, Moss averaged a staggering 15.6 yards per catch on 954 receptions and 153 touchdowns in 13 seasons.  

    At the least, Moss could theoretically be seen as a healthy version of Danario Alexander at this stage of his career.  

    Both are about 6'5", have great speed and can get behind defenses for big plays. 

    Alexander has himself averaged 16 yards per catch over his first two seasons but has missed several games due to injury issues.

    With multiple major knee surgeries behind him, Alexander seems to always be at a greater threat than most to be one play away from missing time on the field.

    That said, even if Alexander returns to St. Louis (and if healthy, he should get the opportunity), what do the Rams do to stretch the field if he goes down? 

    Hopefully, the problem is addressed via the 2012 NFL Draft. However, rookies are a crap-shoot and learning NFL offenses can be touch for rookie wide receivers.  Furthermore, the Rams may not end up landing a speed guy.  You never know. 

    Having Moss on hand would provide St. Louis and Bradford a consistent deep threat and some solid injury insurance (while offering the potential for so much more).  

6. Incentive Laden Contract = Little Risk for Rams

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    According to Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports as reported by Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, the Moss comeback attempt is not about the money. 

    According to the aforementioned article, Moss would accept an incentive-laden deal with little to no upfront money.  

    Of course, with the positive reviews coming in as analyzed in slide No. 1, Moss and his agent, Segal, may alter that approach if some strong contract offers with good base pay come streaming in. 

    However, if the above report hold true and Moss were to accept a pay-for-performance-based contract, it would eliminate most of the risk for a team like the Rams.  

    With an incentive-heavy contract in place, St. Louis could always cut Moss, if desired, and move forward with minimal financial repercussions. 

    Inking Moss would be a low-risk, high-reward move, one that might appeal to St. Louis general manager Les Snead or head coach Jeff Fisher, who coached Moss in Tennessee during the 2010 season. 

    Whether Fisher was simply being kind or has real interest in Moss is unclear, but his recent remarks about his former wide receiver from this column form the St. Louis Post-Dispatch leaves some wiggle room for a possible reunion with his former wideout: 

    "At this point, it's too early to say. I thought the world of him over the six or eight weeks that I think we had him.  I thought he was a terrific teammate and he did a great job in our locker room."

    On the surface, Fisher seems at least slightly open-minded to the thought of adding Moss.  However, surface talk is surface talk. 

    Right now, it would still appear somewhat unlikely, even with the impressive performance at his tryout in New Orleans

    However, nobody outside of Rams Park in Earth City really knows if there is any true interest in Moss. 

    Time, as is almost always the case, will tell the tale. 

    Again, if an option of an incentive-laden contract presents itself and other free agent options fall through, Randy could be a Ram and Moss could be on a mission in the Gateway City. 

7. Polarizing Figure = Increased Attention = Potential Ticket Sales

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    If nothing else, Randy Moss is still a highly intriguing and polarizing figure amongst NFL fans across the country. 

    With the Rams organization in a lease negotiation that has a bit of a cloud hanging over St. Louis (that I have covered in-depth here and here, among other articles on the topic) that could eventually offer a potential departure in 2015 paired with the worst five year winning percentage in NFL history (going 15-65), adding someone like Moss could be a welcome boost to the box office.  

    The Rams have actually managed to sell out every game over the last two seasons and the vast majority of their home games over the last five seasons, even with the historically poor performance.

    Adding Moss may not be liked by all, but his name does garner attention and interest, and those two elements often result in a few extra ticket sales.

    However, to be clear, optimized ticket sales will come (as always has been the case in St. Louis) when the Rams field even a halfway competitive product.  

    When winning three games or less in four or five years, just about every venue in the NFL would have a few empty seats, too.

    Snead and the Rams front office are not going to sign any player based simply on the potential to sell a few tickets, but the possibility of having a few extra people in the Edward Jones Dome is obviously not going to preclude or persuade the Rams not to sign him, either. 

Overview: Is Moss Worth Signing in St. Louis?

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    After looking at the preceding slides, do you feel that St. Louis should give it a go and sign the talented, tall and tempting Moss? 

    Or should the Rams avoid the controversial future Hall of Famer at all costs, not even opening their minds to the option of snatching up Moss, even at a bargain price?

    Recently, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch discussed the idea of bringing Moss (and/or Terrell Owens) to the Rams. 

    Overwhelmingly, the various contributors said no, the Rams should not take a chance on Moss. 

    What do I think?

    In spite of the thoughts shared in this column and all of the possible positives that a Moss signing could theoretically bring, I too lean towards the "no to Moss" camp.

    St. Louis is a team that is coming off of a two win season.  For all the motivation one would think Moss would have now, he has seemingly struggled to stay motivated on below average teams, especially in recent years.

    If one has not noticed, St. Louis has epitomized a below average teams for awhile now.

    Furthermore, does one want to risk the potential of bringing on board the Moss of 2010 who was ineffective, appeared disinterested and showed an apparent lack of effort?  What example would the future Hall of Famer be setting for the young receivers and other young players on the roster? 

    Sure, Moss may in fact contribute to a team and make his mark in 2012.  I hope he does.

    That said, however, the best fit for Moss and all involved would be to land on a consistently contending team with a strong, veteran structure.  Moss would seem best-suited for a setup like that of New England, which previously worked well for him, overall. 

    Although the Rams may rise up this season and contend for a playoff spot, they are not as likely to do so as some other teams. 

    It would seem best for all eventually involved that Moss find a team with a higher likelihood of a successful season. 

    I wish Moss the very best; however, I feel the best fit for him will be in another city and on another team.  The Rams probably feel that way, too. 

     

    Shane Gray covers the St. Louis Rams year-round. You are encouraged to check out the rest of his work here and to follow him on Twitter.

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