With the free agency period set to begin in the latter part of this week, could a bold move by the Arizona Cardinals help to resurrect and restore the once high flying offense to the desert?
Randy Moss' agent has recently been quoted as saying that he is in the best shape of his professional career and is ready to prove that he is more than just a side show attraction or distraction.
In theory, a top-flight wide receiver playing opposite Larry Fitzgerald could be one of the ingredients the Arizona Cardinals need in order to climb the ranks of the anemic NFC West and position themselves to secure their third division title in four years.
A brief review of Moss’ career shows the immediate improvement that his presence has had on offensive units throughout his Hall of Fame career.
1998: Minnesota Vikings - Overall Offensive Rank - first
1999: Minnesota Vikings - Overall Offensive Rank - fifth
2000: Minnesota Vikings - Overall Offensive Rank - fifth
2001: Minnesota Vikings - Overall Offensive Rank - 24th
2002: Minnesota Vikings - Overall Offensive Rank - eighth
2003: Minnesota Vikings - Overall Offensive Rank - sixth
2004: Minnesota Vikings - Overall Offensive Rank - sixth
Following Moss’ departure from the Twin Cities, the Vikings slipped to 19th overall in total offense and failed to make the playoffs for the next three seasons.
2005: Oakland Raiders - Overall Offensive Rank - 23rd
2006: Oakland Raiders - Overall Offensive Rank - 32nd
Its safe to say that the Raider years were somewhat of an anomaly for Randy Moss. The “Black Hole” moniker was more indicative of the state of the organization than the eccentric fan base that roamed Oakland-Alameda Coliseum on Sundays. The likes of Joe Montana and Jerry Rice would have had a difficult time being successful given the same circumstances.
2007: New England Patriots - Overall Offensive Rank - first
2008: New England Patriots - Overall Offensive Rank - eighth
2009: New England Patriots - Overall Offensive Rank - sixth
Further proof that two seasons spent in Oakland had more to do with an inadequate system being in place as opposed to the perceived diminishing talent level. From 2007 to 2009, Moss went on to have arguably the most productive stretch of his professional career while with New England.
In addition to his record-setting 2007, he also helped to open up underneath routes for Wes Welker, turning the relative unknown into the most dominant slot receiver in the National Football League.
While playing alongside Moss, Welker went on to post reception totals of 112, 111 and 123; leading the league twice in that statistical category. In 2010, a Moss shortened season, those reception totals slipped to 86.
Similarly, this past season, the attention that Randy Moss garnered during his short stint with the Minnesota Vikings helped to loosen up the coverage for Percy Harvin. In fact, three of Harvin’s best statistical performances from this past year came when Moss was lined up on the outside.
What would the addition of Moss do for the production levels of Larry Fitzgerald, Early Doucet, Andre Roberts and Stephen Williams?
The numbers outlined show the immediate impact Randy Moss can have on an organization and their offensive output. When averaging out the offensive rankings for Moss’ 12 seasons, he has contributed to helping his teams rank inside the top third of the league in overall scoring with an average ranking of 10th out of the 32 NFL franchises.
During that same time span, the Arizona Cardinals have recorded an average offensive ranking of 22nd.
Coupling the hectic season that Moss endured in 2010 and his recent comments to prove he is still an elite and dominant receiver in the NFL, its logical to assume that his services could be secured with an incentive laden “show me” contract.
While the acquisition of a serviceable quarterback is clearly the top priority within the organization, ensuring that a solid supporting cast of offensive weapons surrounds that talent will ultimately encourage their success as a unit.
The addition of Randy Moss would help give the Arizona Cardinals a running start.