Saving Patriots' Private Randy: A Beloved Soldier Comes Home, but at What Cost?

Max IasconeSenior Analyst IMarch 4, 2008

According to ESPN's John Clayton, the terms of Randy Moss' new deal call for $27 million over the next three years, with about $12-15 million of it in guarantees.  Although this would seem to be a moment of euphoria in Foxboro, I would like to urge some restraint.

Yes, Randy Moss was undoubtedly the best player on the historic Patriots offense last year, and surprisingly enough he was also a model citizen and a great veteran leader in the locker room.

However, we must not forget how Moss seemed to disappear in the playoffs and only had one catch in the Pats' Super Bowl loss to the Giants.  He is also pushing 31, and I think that his best days are behind him.

To me, this signing is strangely reminiscent of when, in 2003, the Red Sox picked up Pedro Martinez's $17.5 million option.

In both cases, aging franchise icons were overpaid simply to prevent a collective heart attack in New England, were the player to head to another team.  In Pedro's case he turned in one more good year (with the exception of his starts at Daddy stadium), and then began to fall apart.

There are some variables here.  Moss is still on the tail end of his physical prime, whereas Pedro's body was slowly giving out.  Also, I think Moss has more to prove and will come into the '08 season with a real drive to succeed—more so than Pedro did in '04 (not saying Pedro didn't give it his all that year, but Moss is going to be beyond driven next year.)

Now this is not to say that Moss is over the hill.  But barring a miracle trade for Chad Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, or Roy Williams, Moss will be double-teamed in every game next year.

He didn't respond well to this strategy last year, and I can understand why.  Other than Johnson, Fitzgerald, and Tory Holt, no wideout in the NFL can consistently beat the double team.

Maybe it's just me, but for $9 million a year I want the best wideout in the NFL.  And although Randy is pretty damned close, I don't think he's going to be the same guy next year.

Perhaps I'm wrong.  Heck, I hope I'm wrong.

I would love to see the Randy Moss we all know and love wreaking havoc on opposing secondaries and sprinting through double coverage.  But I just don't see it happening.