It's no secret that Randy Moss is one of the greatest wide receivers of all time and has contributed more than his fair share in the New England Patriots offense over the past few seasons, but it appears that he will be contributing somewhere else next season.
Moss has already publicly expressed his concerns with the organization about his diminished role in the Patriots' offensive scheme. On Monday night, while everyone else seemed to be in jubilant celebration over the team's win against the Miami Dolphins, Moss could be seen on the Patriots sideline with a much less joyous look on his face than that of the others.
The Patriots special teams and defense was responsible for the teams success in the match-up, not Moss. For the first time since Moss became a Patriot, he was held without a catch for the entire game. He had one chance for a TD grab, but the ball slipped through his fingers and sailed out of bounds just passed the goal line.
This could be the last straw for Moss. He is one of the best Monday Night Football performers in the history of the game, yet QB Tom Brady hardly looked his way all night. Moss loves to shine on the biggest of stages, and he didn't even get the chance to shimmer on this one.
It is now reported that Moss will be traded to the Minnesota Vikings as early as this week. But if the deal falls through and he remains a Patriot for the remainder of the year, Moss will be a free agent after the season. If he does choose to leave, he'll be looking to land on a team worthy of title contention. There will certainly be a large number of suitors calling for his services, but here's a list of some leading candidates in the Randy Moss sweepstakes.
The Chargers have been in the playoffs every year since Rivers joined the team and have a disgruntled WR of their own in Vincent Jackson. It looks as if the team won't be able to salvage their relationship with the receiver, so the spot in this above picture between TE Antonio Gates and WR Malcom Floyd will need to be filled.
Randy Moss would be a perfect fit on this team. They already have a pro bowl QB in place in Phillip Rivers. Rivers would love to have the best jump baller in the game running the sideline for him, and with Gates sucking up some serious attention in the secondary Moss would have a little bit less pressure than he has in recent history.
With Floyd on the other side of the field, Moss could actually see one on one coverage more often than he ever has since his rookie season. Add to that the Chargers always sturdy running game, and Moss could be the last piece of a puzzle that has been lacking completion for a very long time.
The Chiefs seem to really have something cooking over in Kansas City, and it isn't the barbecue. This team is full of young up-and-comers, and they need some depth at the WR spot. Dwayne Bowe is a good receiver in his own right, but he hasn't shown the kind of consistency that the team needs out of him.
Rookie TE Tony Moeaki is QB Matt Cassel's favorite target and has a similar skill set as Gates does in San Diego. He'll be sure to draw a defender or two away from Moss as well. Rookie WR Dexter McCluster is a speedy play-making threat in all facets of the offense, but he'd benefit from a little concern being shown to someone else when he steps on the field. Moss would surely draw said concern.
This would also be a reunion of sorts for Moss. He would be teaming up with the man who brought him to the Patriots in the first place, Chiefs GM Scott Pioli. He'd also be reunited with Cassel, who won 11 games as the starting QB in in 2008 during Tom Brady's absence. Moss seemed to develop chemistry with Cassel as the season went on.
The Chiefs also have one of the most potent running games in the league and a stifling defense. The Chiefs are set up for success. They have youthful players and on their side and an experienced coaching staff on their sideline. They can only get better, and Moss could only aid them in that department.
The Jets have everything in place but a legitimate threat at the WR position. TE Dustin Keller is looking great, but a TE doesn't win championships by himself. WR Braylon Edwards is far from sure handed, and he's already having legal problems—again—in New York (DUI.) WR Santonio Holmes is good at his trade, but he's much more suited as a number two than a main target.
The Jets also have one of the best defenses in the NFL, and they have the league's best cornerback bar none in Darrelle Revis. This move would ensure that Moss would never have to face Revis again, who seemed to be Moss's kryptonite when the two faced off.
The Jets run a two back system that is shaping up to be very dangerous for opposing defenses, and RB Ladanian Tomlinson is just as hungry for a title as Moss. The two could really do a number on the competition.
Most importantly, the Jets were already in the AFC championship game in 2009. The pieces are in place, and the team is already winning. Moss would only make their young QB, Mark Sanchez, even better than he already looks. Sanchez is really coming along well, and Moss would be a welcomed addition in his growth, I'm sure.
The New York Giants are next on the list. This is the team that beat Moss and the Patriots in the Super Bowl three years ago, cutting them short of the perfect season. QB Eli Manning hasn't been quite the same since losing their number one deep threat Plaxico Burress to the New York state prison system.
All that the Giants' offense is missing is a big play WR. They have a bruising backfield with Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs, and their complimentary receivers Steve Smith, Hakeem Nicks, and Mario Manningham would become the best receiving corp in the NFL if they added Moss to the mix.
Their defense is a sack producing machine. This team is loaded with talent, and Moss could be just the player they need to get them back to Super Bowl form. They are already in contention to win the NFC East title this season, but Moss could take them even further than that.
Moss could also save head coach Tom Coughlin's job. Coughlin has been on the hot seat ever since the Giants won the Super Bowl, and if he could sign Moss, the team would have to keep him around for at least one more year. The Giants would be as dangerous as they ever have been with a Randy Moss in the fold.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are one of the leagues best teams, but WR Hines Ward isn't getting any younger. The team has been looking for a new number to fill his diminishing role for years, and Moss would be perfect to fit the bill. WR Mike Wallace is very good, but he's young and raw. He could only benefit from having one of the leagues best and most success driven receivers to learn from.
This team is literally strong at every position except WR and they're not exactly week there either. Head coach Mike Tomlin has done a wonderful job of continuing the Steelers legacy that has been left behind him. They play hard nosed defense and have the best singular defensive play-maker in the NFL in Troy Polamalu. Tomlin and Troy are responsible for much of the Steelers' recent success.
QB Ben Roethlisberger has already won two Super Bowl rings, and Moss would easily make him the favorite to win a third. With Ben's elusiveness, physical prowess, and strong arm, Moss would be able to run around for what would seem like days until he got open for Big Ben to find him down-field. The two together would be a nightmare for any defense that they went up against.
Randy Moss would make a great team simply ridiculous. There would be virtually no way to stop the Steelers from doing whatever they wanted to on Sundays, Mondays, Thursday, and whatever other days they'd be playing on; believe me when I say that they'd be playing on some or all of these prime time billing days.
It would take a miracle for the Patriots to keep Moss. History has shown us all that once he wants to leave, he's already gone. "Remember Moss in Minnesota? Oakland?" You can be sure that before the start of the 2011 season, "New England?" will be another name on that list.
Wherever he lands, he'll make an impact. I can't see Randy Moss playing for just any run of the mill team, so I'm sure we'll be watching him in the playoffs next season.
His departure could be the beginning of the end of the New England Patriots era of dominance in the AFC East. The New York Jets were in the AFC Championship game last year, and the Miami Dolphins have been pushing their way back into legitimacy for the last couple of seasons. Losing Moss would be a huge blow to a team that is already lacking in play-makers and has a sub-par defense.
So good luck in 2010, Patriots. If you don't win a championship this year, it may be a long time before you get another chance.