Moss has been called selfish, has been accused of quitting on his team, displayed a sullen attitude and can be very moody. In addition, after a poor year in 2010, Moss sat out all of the 2011 season.
However, after working out Moss personally, 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh and GM Trent Baalke made the move to sign him.
This is a calculated risk without a lot of downside. If Moss does not perform or if he becomes a distraction, the 49ers can just cut him loose, much like they did last year with Braylon Edwards.
The upside with Moss is very high, as the 49ers needed to improve their receiving corps following the 2011 season. Moss has 954 career receptions for 14,858 yards and 153 touchdowns. He is a future Hall of Fame inductee.
If Moss has anything left at the age of 35, he will be a welcome addition. He still has excellent speed and can stretch the field. His mere presence will open up the short-to-medium range routes for Michael Crabtree, Mario Manningham and tight end Vernon Davis.
Let's take a look at five key reasons why Harbaugh will get the most out of Moss.
Jim Harbaugh is fiery and emotional, but also very calculating
San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh has a proven track record for getting the most out of his players. He did just that at the University of San Diego, Stanford and last year with the Niners.
Harbaugh personally worked out Randy Moss prior to the 49ers' signing him. They also spent a lot of time talking, and I'm sure Harbaugh felt very comfortable bringing Moss in after those discussions.
Moss respects professionalism and excellence, as does Harbaugh. As a player, Harbaugh played for 14 seasons and made the Pro Bowl in 1995. He was a very good quarterback and has developed into an excellent head coach, as well.
Harbaugh has the credentials that have earned Moss' respect. That will go a long way towards ensuring that Moss listens to Harbaugh and his coaching staff. The two are off to a good start together, like a mutual admiration society.
Michael Crabtree has formed a close bond with Randy Moss
In the 49ers' mini-camp and OTA workouts, Randy Moss has been a mentor to the 49ers' young receivers. Head coach Jim Harbaugh has allowed Moss to run with this responsibility and Moss has firmly grasped the role.
Moss has been virtually joined at the hip with mercurial receiver Michael Crabtree. He has been providing tips to Crabtree which will help him be a stronger receiver and a better professional.
With Moss' vast wealth of experience, if he is willing to share, the young 49ers are wise to listen and learn. So far, this has been the norm with Moss acting as a mentor for his teammates.
It will be up to Alex Smith to get Moss the ball
San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh is a master of creating favorable matchups for his offense to exploit. He will make sure that Randy Moss sees the football coming his way. Harbaugh will attempt to get Moss involved early and often, which will do wonders towards keeping him engaged.
The key will be Alex Smith and his ability to get Moss the ball. The two have talked at great length and have worked well in offseason minicamps. Smith is a smart guy, and he knows he will get the most out of Moss when he feels like he's an integral part of the offense.
The 49ers' offense will be much more explosive and exciting in 2012, with the addition of Moss, Mario Manningham and speedster LaMichael James.
Unlike several of Moss' previous teams, the 49ers can win
The San Francisco 49ers were a couple of botched punt plays away from being a Super Bowl participant in 2011. The team has been focused on taking that next step this coming season.
Head coach Jim Harbaugh leads the 49ers on their quest to recapture the glory days of years past. The 49ers have an excellent defense, one of the best in the league. This defense should keep them in any game they play.
The 49ers are poised to make a run at the championship again, in 2012. That fact will definitely help to keep Randy Moss engaged.
Moss has been known to lose focus when his team isn't playing for anything and that should not happen with the 49ers. This is an up-and-coming team and the expectations are sky high. If the 49ers are to make a Super Bowl appearance this coming season, Moss will definitely play a big role.
Linebacker Patrick Willis leads the 49ers' defense
Many things can be said about Randy Moss, both good and bad. However, one thing you won't hear is that Moss is stupid. He fully realizes that Jim Harbaugh and the 49ers are likely his last real chance at glory.
The 49ers will give Moss plenty of opportunities to make plays and that will keep him engaged. Moss must excel in San Francisco and also be a model citizen.
I strongly believe that Moss realizes that Harbaugh took a chance on him and he is prepared to work hard and show Harbaugh some results.
If Moss has a good year, he will be able to parlay his success into another big-money contract. He will undoubtedly be on his best behavior.
Alex Smith will return to the 49ers
This promises to be a great seasons with the 49ers. The team is poised for the run to the Super Bowl. The 49ers also realize that they are playing with a small window.
The window of opportunity is now more open than at any time in recent memory. It will be up to each of the 49ers' players to regroup, focus and make that successful run.