Randy Moss: Five Other Ex-Patriots Who Might Have Wished They Never Left
On Monday night against the New York Jets, former New England Patriots wide receiver Randy Moss is hoping he'll be catching touchdown passes from Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre.
In a move that surprised most, Moss was traded earlier this week by New England along with a seventh-round draft choice in 2012 and sent to Minnesota in exchange for a third-round draft choice in the 2011 draft.
After months of speculation and rumors that Moss was unhappy and seeking a new contract, the Patriots made a bold move.
Head coach Bill Belichick decided to trade the future Hall of Fame wide receiver before the end of the season in order to receive compensation. Moss was due to hit the free-agent market should a contract not be reached by the end of the 2010 season.
There had been tons of speculation that Moss was unhappy with how often he was being thrown to and that New England had yet to offer him to a new long-term contract—one that appeared the New England Patriots weren't going to give him.
Moss, already a superstar before coming to New England, was brought in like many other players in the past (a la Corey Dillon) to be plugged into the New England system and do his job.
Loved by some, hated by others, Moss by all accounts was very well liked and well respected by his teammates. However, Moss was often criticized by fans, media and sometimes opposing players for not giving it his all when the play did not involve him.
Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis was quoted as saying: "In the second half, you could tell he was putting his foot on the brake. I mean, everybody knows that's Randy. Sometimes he plays 100 percent, sometimes he doesn't."
When it comes to the New England Patriots, it's often said that the sum of the team is greater than it's individual parts. What does that mean? In short, that no one player is greater than the entire team.
The New England Patriots front office and Bill Belichick have done a great job over the years managing their cap room by plugging players in just like moving parts. When players gain to seek contracts perceived by the organization as being compensation above the value the organization places on the player, more often than not, players are allowed to go to free agency, traded, or waived.
Future Hall of Famer Randy Moss is no exception. You'll see a few examples of players that have moved on in similar situations—however, none with the talent of Moss.
No. 1: Lawyer Milloy
Lawyer Milloy was drafted in the second round of the 1996 draft by the New England Patriots. He played seven years in New England, won one Super Bowl and was a four-time Pro Bowler.
When Milloy's contract came up after the 2001 season he wanted more money than the Patriots were willing to give him. He was released before the first game and picked up by the Buffalo Bills, who ironically opened the '02 season and beat the Patriots, 31-0.
Since leaving the Patriots, Milloy has never been selected to another Pro Bowl or won another Super Bowl. He's gone on to play for three other teams since leaving the Patriots organization.
No. 2: Deion Branch
Deion Branch was drafted by the New England Patriots in 2002 and played four years before being traded to the Seattle Seahawks after a contract dispute.
In four years with the Patriots, Branch won two Super Bowls, named the 2004 Super Bowl MVP, scored 14 TDs, and amassed 2,744 receiving yards.
Since signing with the Seahawks, Branch has been plagued with injuries and has been a mere shell of his former self. He is finally healthy and, now that Moss has been traded, there are rumors emerging of Branch returning to New England to close out his career.
A place he never should have left to begin with!
No. 3: David Patten
David Patten was acquired by the New England Patriots on April 2, 2001 as a free agent. He played 12 years in the NFL, four of those years with New England.
In those four years, Patten amassed 2,513 yards and 16 TDs. That's more than half of his career total yardage (4,715) as well as double the amount of touchdowns he's earned while playing for other teams in the NFL.
Patten left as an unrestricted free agent on March 3, 2005. He earned three Super Bowls during his four seasons with the Patriots (2001-04) and was on the receiving end of the longest pass play in Patriots history, a 91-yard touchdown pass from Tom Brady at Indianapolis on Oct. 21, 2001.
Patten came back to sign on for a second stint with the Patriots on February 24, 2010 before finally calling it a career this past summer during preseason camp.
No. 4: Ty Law
Ty Law was originally drafted in the first round of the 1995 NFL draft by the New England Patriots. He was selected to five Pro Bowls and won three Super Bowls in his 10 years (1995-2004) while making over 50 million dollars while playing in New England.
When contract negotiations broke down he left the team and signed with the Jets. For the remainder of his career in the NFL he was never really the same productive player. He went on to play for three different organizations and never played in another Super Bowl.
No. 5: David Givens
David Givens was drafted in the seventh round of the NFL draft by the New England Patriots. He filled a role and made a name for himself as a wide receiver while playing in New England.
In his four years with the Patriots he amassed 2,214 yards and 12 TDs. When he wanted more money than the Patriots were willing to give him, Givens left and signed with Tennessee.
He only played five more games in the NFL with Tennessee before he blew out his knee, having never scored another NFL touchdown.