It’s truly difficult to see Randy Moss’s Patriots career end in a way similar to Manny Ramirez’s Red Sox career.
However, the deal has been completed (sending Moss to the Vikings for a third-round pick), so we have to step back and look at the Patriots’ possibilities.
I see two very legitimate options for New England (keeping the draft pick or trading it):
1. Send Logan Mankins and the third-round pick to San Diego for Vincent Jackson.
Jackson is six years younger than Randy Moss, and is very much a deep threat. He has off-field issues, but he is still young and many players (including Moss) have improved in terms of off-field baggage after joining the organization.
This trade is about as close as the Pats can get to filling the void left by Moss, and it also gives them an opportunity to completely wipe the frustrated Logan Mankins out of their minds.
The Chargers have other receiver options, including Malcolm Floyd, who are deep threats, themselves; they can afford to part ways with Jackson.
There is a major roadblock, however. San Diego may struggle to sign Logan Mankins, especially with a potential lockout imminent.
2. Keep the draft pick.
I think that the Patriots are trying to accumulate as many picks as they can for this year’s draft, since it is extremely deep. As of now, they have two first- rounders, two second-rounders, two third-rounders, and two fourth-rounders.
That’s a lot of picks. (Keep in mind, they hold the Panther’s second rounder, and the way Carolina’s season is going that could end up being the equivalent of a late first round pick).
Defenses will obviously focus more on Wes Welker at this stage, so look for Brandon Tate to line up on the same side of the field as Wes.
Tate has the speed to blow the top off of defenses, and while he is certainly no Randy Moss, it’s not as if New England totally lacks a burner.
Look for Julian Edelman and Taylor Price to see increased roles, especially Edelman. Julian may have to take on much of Welker’s responsibilities if Welker (as opposed to Moss) gets double teamed.
The reason this trade was possible is because of the Patriots’ tight ends. You’ll notice a much more dangerous 12-18 yard passing game with the mismatches Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski create.
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