Now that Randy Moss has been officially dealt to the Minnesota Vikings for a third-round draft pick in next year's draft, speculation has run rampant on who will replace Moss as the downfield threat that makes the Patriots' offense go.
As of right now, players like Brandon Tate, Julian Edelman, and even Taylor Price are in line to inherit the No. 1 spot on the Patriots' depth chart. It's likely WR Wes Welker and TE Aaron Hernandez will see increased workloads as well.
But neither Tate, Edelman, or Price have the downfield ability to even scratch the surface of what Moss did for the Pats in his time in New England. If the Pats wish to win this year, they'll have to find someone to fill the shoes of Moss.
Enter Vincent Jackson of the San Diego Chargers: disgruntled, suspended, and holding out. Available for the right price, Jackson draws a lot of comparisons to Moss, and brings the same deadly combination of size and explosiveness that made Moss so good.
It's been reported that the Chargers are looking for two high draft picks in return for the Pro Bowler, and the Patriots certainly have an abundance of picks.
The Pats have eight selections in the first four rounds of next year's draft, picking twice in each of the first, second, third, and fourth rounds. One of their first-round picks is conditional on the Oakland Raiders' performance, and was the pick that the Pats received in return for trading DE Richard Seymour last year.
The Pats also have Pro Bowl lineman Logan Mankins, in the midst of his own holdout, under contract. The great play and clean bill of health by the O-line makes him an expendable piece to the Patriots.
It remains to be seen what the Pats will do in the wake of the Moss trade. Coming off a blowout win last Monday night, against the Miami Dolphins, it would seem foolish to give up on the season so soon.
Yet finding no one to fill the void created by Moss' departure would seem to indicate that's what the Patriots intend to do.