Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

06 Oct 2010

More Thoughts on the Future of Randy Moss

It's no secret that age was a major factor in today's Randy Moss trade. On New England's side, the Patriots saw a 33-year-old receiver and didn't want to give him a contract extension only to see him suffer age-related decline. On Minnesota's side, the arrival of Moss takes an old team and makes it even older, which makes you wonder what happens to the Vikings after 2010 is over.

Historically, wide receivers tend to decline after the age of 30, so the Patriots' worries make sense. However, Hall of Fame-level receivers are not quite the same as regular NFL receivers, and there's a good history of receivers similar to Moss playing well for another two or three years.

I ran similarity scores for Moss for the three-year span of 2007-2009. Here were the ten most similar three-year spans:

Tim Brown 1997-1999
Cris Carter 1997-1999
Cris Carter 1995-1997
Jerry Rice 1990-1992
Reggie Wayne 2007-2009
Joe Horn 2002-2004
Marvin Harrison 2003-2005
Michael Irvin 1995-1997
Cris Carter 1996-1998
Terrell Owens 2002-2004

It makes a lot of sense that former teammate Cris Carter shows up three times on this list of similar players. Carter and Moss share something that most of the other great recent receivers don't have: height. Carter is 6-foot-3, Moss 6-foot-4, while guys like Harrison, Wayne, and Irving Fryar are more like 6-foot even. Even if Moss starts to lose his speed, that height isn't going away, and neither is Moss' knowledge about how to use his body to shield the ball from defenders in the red zone.

In the next season, the ten players listed above averaged 78 catches, 1,111 yards, and 8.9 touchdowns. Only Irvin was near the end of the road; he's fairly unique among recent star receivers in that his career ended at the age of 33 instead of going a few more years.

Next, I took that average line, pro-rated it to 13 games, and added it to Moss' stats in the four games he's played already this year. I stuck that into the similarity scores system as an estimated 2010 season for Moss, and ran three-year similarities again. Once again, Cris Carter shows up over and over again. The most similar spans for our estimated 2008-2010 Moss are:

Tim Brown 1998-2000
Cris Carter 1996-1998
Terrell Owens 2006-2008
Cris Carter 1997-1999
Cris Carter 1998-2000
Irving Fryar 1993-1995
Marvin Harrison 2003-2005
Michael Irvin 1996-1998
Tony Martin 1997-1999
Donald Driver 2007-2009

A couple of these players were nearing the end -- not just Irvin, but Fryar and Tony Martin -- but still, most of the players similar to Moss still had 3-4 years left in the NFL. (Going down this list a little more, you'll find other guys who have played past the age of 35, such as Derrick Mason, Keenan McCardell, and Jimmy Smith.) Even with Irvin and Martin falling off significantly, this group of ten players averaged 67 receptions, 906 yards, and 7.0 touchdowns the next season.

I agree with Bill Barnwell in his ESPN Insider piece today that Moss doesn't really provide the Vikings with the Sidney Rice replacement that they need. However, based on historically similar players, it is hard to say that Moss is nearing the end of the road despite being in his mid-30s. He may no longer be the best receiver in the game, but he probably has two or three years left in the top ten. That's something the Vikings can consider as they try to decide whether or not to give him a contract extension.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 06 Oct 2010

75 comments, Last at 08 Oct 2010, 1:15pm by crack


by Key19 :: Wed, 10/06/2010 - 12:59pm

Betcha he's not top 10 when Tarvaris takes over next year. Moss signing a long-term deal with the Vikes at this point looks like career suicide. Unless they snag the next Sam Bradford in next year's draft, he's going to be without a legit QB for the rest of his career (after this year of course). Fitz is having enough problems in his prime with a bad QB, no reason to think Moss would fare better.

by crack (not verified) :: Wed, 10/06/2010 - 1:02pm

Gee, where could a former Philly assistant get a QB. Hmmm. I wonder what team might not have use for a QB next year. Or might have a free agent available. Hmmm.

I guess haters gotta hate.

by bingo762 :: Wed, 10/06/2010 - 1:08pm

Also, has McNabb signed a long term deal with Washington yet?

by Shattenjager :: Wed, 10/06/2010 - 1:46pm


And I haven't heard about any ongoing talks, either.

by andrew :: Wed, 10/06/2010 - 4:01pm

Betcha Tarvaris doesn't take over next year.

by crack (not verified) :: Wed, 10/06/2010 - 1:07pm

Oh and Barnwell's article was weird. Comparing Moss and Berrian? Saying Rice and Moss aren't comparable? Rice had 15 y/r last year. I don't remember him being a yac guy a la Welker. Moss averaged 15 y/r last year. Berrian had 11 y/r. What is Barnwell talking about?

by Boo-urns (not verified) :: Thu, 10/07/2010 - 9:33am

Ya, I agree. Moss historically has been much more than a deep threat burner, and has been a very "tough" WR. Using his 2010 statistics isn't particularly fair.

More importantly, Barnwell's analysis ignores the 2010 role of Randy Moss, which Moss himself well understood when he said (as part of his 1st game press conference): "I understand my role. My role is to take the ball deep and take the top off the defense."

I haven't watched every Pats game, but in the ones I've seen, ever since the Jets game where he burned Revis and caused a hammy injury, Moss has always drawn a double coverage look (corner + safety help over the top, very rarely the corner will blitz, but I'm guessing he draws double coverage from elsewhere), which really opens things up underneath for guys like Aaron Hernandez and Wes Welker. I think that that type of attention from defenses will most certainly benefit the games of Harvin and Shiancoe, and obviously will help Peterson as well.

To say that Moss is simply like Berrian is kind of a bold claim, and one that I would expect a lot more justification for from Barnwell than the one or two (out of context) stats he gives.

by Will Allen :: Thu, 10/07/2010 - 12:11pm

Saying that Berrian is like Moss is akin to saying that A.J. Burnett is like C.C. Sabathia.

by crack (not verified) :: Fri, 10/08/2010 - 1:15pm

I disagree, at least CC and AJ go by initials for their first names. That's more than Berrian and Moss have in common.

by Will Allen :: Wed, 10/06/2010 - 1:25pm

Given the state of their passing game, the Vikings were looking at the prospect of the next four weeks' worth of tough games rendering the rest of the season meaningless. Having Randy Moss on the roster reduces that prospect significantly, although it certainly doesn't eliminate it.
After four weeks, if Rice gets back healthy, having him, Moss, Harvin, and Peterson on the field will be match-up nightmare for most defensive coordinators, if the offensive line is just average, and will make a guy like Shiancoe look like a star. Hell, until Rice gets back, having Moss on the field may make Berrian look like he has value.

Given that missing the playoffs would be an utter and complete disaster for ownership, this is a no-brainer trade.

by Danish Denver-Fan :: Wed, 10/06/2010 - 1:28pm

Plus he's probably a better player than most of the above, so he has a higher level to start dropping off from.

by JIPanick :: Wed, 10/06/2010 - 1:28pm

Not sure Irvin is a good case to use when talking about anyone's future. He didn't decline into retirement; he suffered a career ending injury in week 4 of 1999 (age 33). His DVOA at the time was 21.1% and he was coming off a 1000 yard season at 32, so he hadn't exactly gone off a cliff in performance before that.

by Bobman :: Thu, 10/07/2010 - 11:14pm

Refresh my memory (before I Google it): was this a head/neck injury that left him lying on the carpet in Philly? Or am I imagining things....

by JIPanick :: Fri, 10/08/2010 - 12:17am

"Spinal Cord" injury. Don't remember if that meant neck or not.

by AnonymousOne (not verified) :: Wed, 10/06/2010 - 1:44pm

"Historically, wide receivers tend to decline after the age of 30, so the Patriots' worries make sense."

True, however Moss did have a 1250+ yard, 13 TD season when he was 32 (i.e. last year) against what FO called the toughest slate of pass defenses in the history of the universe. He seems to still have it.

Even if he has lost a step, which there seems to be no evidence of, he still consistenly draws double and triple coverage.

I dont see how this move could possibly help the Pats short term. Average run game (with Randy Moss keeping teams from stacking the box), bad defense, and now no legitimate (proven) deep threat.

Long term improvement? Maybe with the additional draft pick. Though Belichick recent draft history is less than stellar.

by RichC (not verified) :: Wed, 10/06/2010 - 2:17pm

"Even if he has lost a step, which there seems to be no evidence of, he still consistenly draws double and triple coverage. "

Its only a small bit of evidence, but Moss has looked terrible this year. He's dropped more balls in 4 games than in the entirety of last year. It may just be fluke, but to say theres no evidense isn't entirely correct.

As to Belichick, his last two drafts have been absolutely stellar, so I have no idea what you're talking about.

by Revenge of the NURBS (not verified) :: Wed, 10/06/2010 - 2:48pm

Absolutely stellar? How about we wait more than 4 weeks before rendering a verdict on the 2010 draft. 2009 class looks solid (though I wouldn't say absolutely stellar), but again, that's with one year in the books.

More importantly, the 2006-2008 classes, which we do have more information about, were all sub-par. By my count, there are 3 players who start for the Patriots from those 3 draft classes (I could be wrong, I'm taking the interweb's word for it on the Pats' depth chart), and one of them is a kicker. It's entirely possible that so many guys from the recent draft classes are starting because the previous draft classes were so bad.

by RichC (not verified) :: Wed, 10/06/2010 - 3:45pm

Mayo, Wheatley, Slater, and Wilhite is a fine grab from 2008.

Merriweather was the only pick in 2007 before the 5th round (well, Kareem Brown was a 4th round comp pick). About half the guys they picked in the later rounds are still in the NFL.

The Patriots basically punted on the 2007 draft, and traded away all their picks.

2006 was a bit of a mess.

by RickD :: Wed, 10/06/2010 - 6:07pm

Mayo, yes.

Slater? He's just a special teams guy. And he's hardly outstanding at that.

Wheatley and Wilhite have to be viewed as inadequate, given that in the subsequent two drafts the Pats had to use high picks to get Butler and McCourty. Or was the plan to use early round draft picks to get 4 CBs in 3 years??

by RichC (not verified) :: Thu, 10/07/2010 - 10:09am

A 6th round pick for a special teams captain, and your gunner is a good pick, believe it or not. Frankly, its a much greater return than your average 6th round pick.

As to wheatley, hes been hurt repeatedly. You can't predict that. And no 4 high round CBs isn't strange, considering that the Patriots base alignment has 3 of them on the field.

Are we going to say that Tuck and Umeniyora aren't any good because the giants drafted Kiwanuka?

by RickD :: Thu, 10/07/2010 - 11:35am

No, I'm going to say Wilhite isn't very good because I've seen him play, and Wheatley isn't very good because he's buried on the depth chart below Wilhite.

by Anonymous1 (not verified) :: Thu, 10/07/2010 - 7:22pm

Wheatley had a fine camp and might even be a starter right now if not for an injury, which regretably happens all too often with him.

by RichC (not verified) :: Wed, 10/06/2010 - 3:55pm

Oh, forgot Shawn Crable from 2008. He's been playing about 20 plays a game the last 2 games.

2006, fine. But 2008 was a pretty good draft.

As to 2009, yes, its only 1 year, but Chung looks like a stud in the making, Brace looks like hes going to be a pretty good player, Butler needs some work, but he definitely has the tools, Vollmer looks like a stud in the making, McKenzie looks like a decent role player, Ingram is the long snapper (eh), Pryor looks like hes going to be pretty good, and Edelman already looks pretty good.

I don't know how thats anything but stellar. There's a very real possibility that the Patriots walked out of the 2009 draft with 3+ guys who could be probowlers at some point (Chung, Vollmer and one of the others)

by PatsFan :: Wed, 10/06/2010 - 4:09pm

Crable wasn't even on the team for the first two games. He then was in on something like 10 plays in the 3rd game and was inactive against Miami.

by Revenge of the NURBS (not verified) :: Wed, 10/06/2010 - 5:17pm

It's not stellar because you had to use the phrase "looks like" 5 times. "Looks like" means we don't know yet. It could end up being a great draft class, but these things have to marinate for a few years. Many's the promising youngster who flames out or just fails to get any better. Believe it or not, Laurence Maroney "looked like" a promising talent early on.


by jackgibbs :: Wed, 10/06/2010 - 7:18pm

they 'drafted' randy moss in the fourth round in 2007. that automatically makes that a stellar draft

by Revenge of the NURBS (not verified) :: Thu, 10/07/2010 - 12:13pm

A "good use of a draft pick" is not the same thing as a "good draft pick". The whole discussion here is about what kind of value the Patriots can expect to get out of that 3rd rounder. Are you suggesting that they might be able to trade this 3rd round pick for a veteran superstar with a few good years left? I suppose that's possible. Personally, I think the more likely outcome is that the pick either gets used to actually draft someone, or gets packaged as part of a trade involving draft picks. In that scenario, I'm going to look at the track record of what happens when the Patriots actually draft someone.

by Boo-urns (not verified) :: Thu, 10/07/2010 - 12:22pm

I think their 09-10 drafts are collectively very good with a chance of being stellar. I would say they probably validate BB's drafting reputation.

McCourty, Chung, Vollmer, Cunningham, Spikes, Edelman, Butler, Hernandez, Gronkowski are all key starters or situational starters (depending on package). That's a pretty good haul I'd say. If these guys develop as hoped, I'd say that's a phenomenal haul.

by Will Allen :: Wed, 10/06/2010 - 2:55pm

I think there is a pretty good chance he again contracted the virus he had in Oakland; the "I'm half a lunatic and now unhappy, so I'll allow my performance to suffer greatly" virus. If he stays in Minnesota long enough, before the calender gets him for good, he'll probably catch the virus again.

He's as good an offensive player I've ever seen in a non-QB, but make no mistake, he is hard, hard, hard, to manage. If he puts up big numbers now in Minnesota, all the hindsightists will claim that Belichik blew it, but that certainly will be a mile from being proven.

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Thu, 10/07/2010 - 8:46am

Will ... I'm with you. Moss is great when he wants to be. Once he loses faith in his QB or team he gives up. If the Vikes are foolish enough to resign him and Favre is gone, he is going to be forgettable.

I also have doubts about his grittiness/toughness to pull a team out of the mire. Some players step it up when the going gets tough; Moss just disappears.

As great as Moss is and can be, he's got to be surrounded by greatness to achieve his own greatness. He doesn't drag the rest of the team up when they really need him.

Look at his performance in the 2007 playoffs - 7 recs, 94yds, 1TD in 3 games. (1 catch against Jacksonville, 1 against San Diego, 5 against Giants). Does anyone remember Jerry Rice disappearing in the playoffs? Even T.O. showed up for the big games.

by RickD :: Thu, 10/07/2010 - 11:43am

You know, Moss could have quit in 2008 when Brady went down in the first week. He didn't.

Nor did he quit on the team in the 2007 playoffs.

by Anonymous23 (not verified) :: Wed, 10/06/2010 - 6:49pm

"Its only a small bit of evidence, but Moss has looked terrible this year. He's dropped more balls in 4 games than in the entirety of last year. It may just be fluke, but to say theres no evidense isn't entirely correct."

Well, it may only be a small bit of evidence. But against the Jets he burned the best CB in the game and made a one handed catch that was one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. To say that he should be considered "terrible" is silly.

Stellar? Let's look at the recent 3rd round draft picks, discounting the 2010 class, since that is what they got in return. And I am talking about what they have done, not what you seem to think they can do.

Brandon Tate - Apparently a very good return man. WR? We'll see, when he has more than 11 catches we can make a judgement.

Tyrone Mckenzie - Who? Yup.

Shawn Crable - Drafted in 2008, 1 career tackle.

Kevin OConnell - yeah

David Thomas - 3 years with NE, 21 catches.

Ellis Hobbs - Subpar DB, now a return man for another team

Nick Kaczur - Solid, if unspectacular, RT.

Guss Scott - It's ok, nobody else has heard of him either.

So, in the last 6 drafts (not including 2010) the Pats have had 8 3rd round picks. One of them, and possibly two including Tate, contribute to the team in a meaningful way. That is hardly stellar.

And doesnt even take into account high round disappointments such as Butler, Brace, Wheatley, Maroney, Jackson, Watson, Hill...

by jackgibbs :: Wed, 10/06/2010 - 7:24pm

uhh. reevis pulled up lame on that catch and consequently missed the next two weeks. I hardly think it's fair to say he got burnt in that situation. You should probably look at moss' numbers in the meeting where reevis was healthy...

by Anonymous23 (not verified) :: Wed, 10/06/2010 - 7:39pm

That doesnt negate the point. Moss beat him, Revis pulled up lame from trying to chase him.

And the fact that Moss draws coverage from the #1 CB on every team, plus safety help, and sometimes more is proof by itself that he was a major factor on the offense even when the ball wasnt being thown his way.

by jackgibbs :: Wed, 10/06/2010 - 8:17pm

well, he was injured the week prior and was listed as questionable heading into that game, so it's not like moss's speed forced him into an injury.

and I have no disagreement with your second point. the patriots offense is worse now than it was yesterday. the patriots oganization, on the other hand, may well be better off now, though.

by RichC (not verified) :: Thu, 10/07/2010 - 10:03am

And again, one good catch doesn't negate the fact that hes got the lowest catch percentage on the team BY 35%

Everyone else on the team is in the 70s and 80s. Moss? 41%.

The play in the endzone against miami is a perfect example. Its a touch catch, and most guys don't get it, but 2 years ago, moss would have.

by RickD :: Thu, 10/07/2010 - 11:49am

It doesn't make all that much sense to compare catch percentages without accounting for where the players are when the pass is thrown. Moss was running deep routes. Welker runs shallow routes. Of course Welker has a higher catch percentage.

And if you watched the games, you'd know that the low catch percentage has a lot more to do with Brady's inaccuracy than with Moss's hands.

Your analysis is lazy.

by AnonymousOne (not verified) :: Fri, 10/08/2010 - 11:35am

Not to mention that Moss, more often than not, has to catch the ball with a crowd of defenders on him.

by RichC (not verified) :: Thu, 10/07/2010 - 10:06am

"And doesnt even take into account high round disappointments such as Butler, Brace, Wheatley, Maroney, Jackson, Watson, Hill..."

Brace is playing 30+ snaps a game, and Butler is a 2nd year CB who has looked very good other than 1 game against the Jets. Wheatley has looked good, but can't stay on the field beacuse of injury issues.

The rest of them aren't recent drafts, and if you think Watson was a bust, you don't understand the value of average starters.

by PatsFan :: Thu, 10/07/2010 - 10:50am

Butler is a 2nd year CB who has looked very good other than 1 game against the Jets

Yeah. He's looked so good that he's been benched the past two games.

by Boo-urns (not verified) :: Thu, 10/07/2010 - 12:26pm

Butler could end up being excellent or a bust. It's too early to tell one way or the other imo.

Similar sentiment on Brace.

Maroney was one of the most disappointing Pats draft picks I can remember. I recall watching his college clips and being super excited about his prospects. Ugh.

What do the Pats do with their draft picks next year (other than trade for 2012 picks)? I could see taking an O-lineman or two, a DE/OLB or two, and another CB. Real question for me is do they take a RB with one of their first rounders?

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the Raiders 1st rounder will *not* be a top 10 pick.

by tuluse :: Thu, 10/07/2010 - 4:05pm

It's too early to tell one way or the other

Isn't that kind of the whole point? That it's too early to tell if the Patriot's drafts have been good or not?

by Yaguar :: Fri, 10/08/2010 - 5:00am

TE is one of the positions where an average starter comes at a much lower cost in terms of draft picks. Plenty of teams regularly start mid-round picks and get average production out of them. A first-round TE is expected to be above-average.

by AnonymousOne (not verified) :: Fri, 10/08/2010 - 11:51am

I didnt say Watson was a bust, I said he was a disappointment. Which he clearly was. A first round TE is expected to produce FAR more than what the Pats got from him. If you cant see that, then you clearly cant see through your Patriots goggles.

As for Brace, simply playing doesnt mean he is living up to being a high 2nd round pick. Butler has more pass interference penalties than passes defended. And Wheatley should be considered good because you think that, if he actually played, he would be?

You should just stop. I didnt say that those guys were busts. I said they were disappointments. That isnt to say that some of them couldnt turn it around and be standouts (which you expect 1st and 2nd rounders to be), just that they arent after 2 or more years.

by Anonymous1 (not verified) :: Thu, 10/07/2010 - 7:20pm

You neglected to consider traded 3rd rounders that became 2nd rounders. Those players include Cunningham, Gronk and Dillon.

by Ajit (not verified) :: Wed, 10/06/2010 - 3:45pm

No one seems to have an idea of what exactly the pats offense will look like now. The patriots before moss were a primarily short throwing team and that doesn't look to change. THe real question is for aaron, will defenses play the patriots differently than in the past? Ie- will this team sans moss be able to move the ball as effectively without the threat of moss? I just can't imagine we will see absolutely no impact from his departure.

by Boo-urns (not verified) :: Thu, 10/07/2010 - 12:29pm

I think you'll see defenses move closer to the line of scrimmage now, and obviously, assuming Tate replaces Moss, you won't see a lot of double teams, which means you have an extra guy to scheme with.

I would guess you'll see a lot more Jets-style defensive fronts, with everyone stacked at the LOS and threatening blitz, and then either dropping back into coverage or actually blitzing. Hernandez and Gronkowski should see a lot more looks, and I think someone (probably Tate) needs to step up as a deep route runner to keep defenses honest.

Pats will still smoke most teams, but I think they'll have a much tougher time with the good defenses (Ravens will be a good test).

Also predicting that Patriots YPC will drop significantly.

by crack (not verified) :: Wed, 10/06/2010 - 3:45pm

I gotta say this moss trade coupled with the Allen trade from a couple years ago almost makes me forget about Herschel Walker.

Ok, no it doesn't.

by Lance :: Wed, 10/06/2010 - 4:03pm

Deleted because I can't read without glasses, it seems

by commissionerleaf :: Wed, 10/06/2010 - 4:03pm

A third round pick for a receiver of Moss' stature is pretty weak, although Moss' contract situation obviously changes things. I think this deal makes sense for the Patriots, who obviously believe Moss is dogging it because he won't get a contract. A third round pick and no Randy Moss salary obligation is nothing to sneeze at.

I don't understand the Vikings perspective. They couldn't make Moss happy before, and nothing I've seen from Brett Favre this year makes me think he's capable of playing at Tom Brady's level with or without Randy Moss. He doesn't need Randy Moss (or Vincent Jackson) anyway. He needs friggin' Wes Welker. Someone he can bail out to when he should throw the ball away (but of course, being Favre, won't).

New England, outside of the very strange 2007, isn't really a downfield passing team anyway. Tom Brady has always been better at short area passing anyway; he has a good arm, but he isn't Peyton Manning or Jay Cutler out there. He has to have a clean pocket to make good downfield throws, and the New England offensive line seems to alternate days when it is dominant with days when it is, um, not.

Brady is absolutely expected to play out his long term deal in New England. They can build for the medium term while remaining competitive, and Randy Moss wasn't a part of that.

by PaulH (not verified) :: Wed, 10/06/2010 - 4:46pm

This move makes perfect sense to me for the Vikings. You're all-in anyway, and it's basically either now or never. Yes you may fall apart, but you would have probably done that without Moss too, and if that happens then Favre is gone and Childress probably isn't too far behind him. Hell, the team may even be moving at that point. So, with that in mind, why not?

by Will Allen :: Wed, 10/06/2010 - 4:51pm

The Vikings fully expect Moss to be unhappy eventually. They hope it doesn't happen this season, and that is as long as their horizon is right now. It is hard to understate how large a disaster it would be, in ownership's view, to miss the playoffs this year, given the desperation they have to garner public support for a tax subsidized stadium. Their next four games are very tough, and very critical. Does having a guy who has scored 51 touchdowns in the last 52 games improve their chances? Yes. Does a third round pick seem expensive? Not in the least, given their priorities.

by Jerrard (not verified) :: Thu, 10/07/2010 - 12:42pm

Solid analysis. The Vikings have already thrown the deed to their house (not yet built, in this case) on the table so what difference does it make if they bet a little more? They desperately need help TODAY at receiver which Moss will provide...whether that's still going to be true even next season is immaterial. And let's not discount the fact that Favre is also a major risk factor when he becomes discouraged. They have no hope if he starts forcing things like he was prone to towards the end of his time with the Packers--and the Miami game in particular had shades of that. This move just may cure both those ills. And if it doesn't, the season was going to be lost, anyway.

by PaulH (not verified) :: Wed, 10/06/2010 - 4:42pm

To those who question the Patriots compensation in this trade, exactly what did you expect them to get? We're basically talking about a three-month rental of a 33-year old receiver with attitude issues who had caught nine passes in four games with Tom Brady throwing him the ball. Also, I would imagine the Vikings had to pay a fairly substantial portion of Moss' salary as well.

Don't get me wrong, a mere third round pick is somewhat disheartening given Moss' upside, but the Patriots were clearly dealing from a position of weakness here, and given all of the aforementioned considerations it is far from a shock that they only netted a third rounder.

by RickD :: Wed, 10/06/2010 - 6:09pm

Compensation? What the Pats get out of this is "Randy Moss is gone." Presumably that's what they wanted more than a 3rd round draft pick.

by Bobman :: Thu, 10/07/2010 - 11:22pm

you mean if the Pats had played hardball in the negotiations, MINN would have paid to clone Moss, so the Pats could get rid of two of him at the same time?

by danb (not verified) :: Wed, 10/06/2010 - 4:46pm

Barnwell's piece seemed way off to me. Berrian hasn't been a deep threat in two years. Harvin is much more of an over the middle, underneath guy than Barnwell gave him credit for. And Sidney is much more of a dynamic downfield threat than Barnwell indicates.

by FooBarFooFoo (not verified) :: Wed, 10/06/2010 - 4:47pm

Honestly, I'd rather have cut Bill O'Brien instead of Moss. O'Brien isn't good. I think it would be unfair to compare O'Brien to McDaniels (who is a Offensive genius in my eyes), but O'Brien just isn't smart with the playcalling. The offense has had issues the whole year.

by jds (not verified) :: Wed, 10/06/2010 - 5:14pm

Any chance this deal was done before Monday night, and BB and O'Brien were trying to keep Moss out of harm's way during the game?

by PatsFan :: Wed, 10/06/2010 - 6:30pm

Though only targeted once, Moss was in for 46 of 58 offensive snaps. (Courtesy Mike Reiss who blogs the snap counts every week.)

by Twodoc (not verified) :: Thu, 10/07/2010 - 12:29pm

This was my thought exactly. The last two years their offense has been awful in the second half of games, especially big games, which tells me the opposing defensive coordinators are doing a much better job of halftime adjustments than the Patriots' offensive coordinators.

I expect the offense to grow more cramped now, even if Moss wasn't particularly productive so far this year. I suspect they weren't calling many plays that were particularly helpful for getting Moss the ball. Also, Brady didn't help Moss much this year when he underthrew deep passes when Moss was open and forced throws when he was covered against the Jets.

by Boots Day (not verified) :: Wed, 10/06/2010 - 5:36pm

Moss makes sense for the Vikings in that Brett Favre is liable to keep chucking the ball far downfield and hoping someone catches it, and there's no receiver more likely to catch those balls than Randy Moss.

by t.d. :: Wed, 10/06/2010 - 10:18pm

Irvin's career ended at 33 not because of ineffectiveness, but because of injury concerns. He was still a great player at the time.
edit: I see someone's already made this point

by sn0mm1s :: Thu, 10/07/2010 - 1:10am

Comparing Moss to Berrian and Harvin is ridiculous. History tells us that an offense properly using Randy Moss sets NFL records. Has no one watched any of the Pats games? I don't know if it is playcalling or Brady - but for quarter plus long stretches Brady won't even look to Moss' side of the field. It isn't that Moss is covered it is like he doesn't even exist. Can Brady even throw a deep ball down the sideline anymore? He seems to throw passes over the middle and the only passes towards the sidelines are at or near the LOS. People thought Moss was done when he went to the Pats from the Raiders and we know how that turned out.

by RichC (not verified) :: Thu, 10/07/2010 - 10:14am

Brady has thrown 22 balls to Moss this season. Moss has caught 9 of them, 2 of them have been picked off, and if my numbers are correct, 5 have been dropped.

Brady has been completing passes at a higher than 75% rate to every other receiver/rb/te. He hasn't been looking at Moss as often because throwing to Moss has been dangerous.

by sn0mm1s :: Thu, 10/07/2010 - 10:30am

As I said, I put that more on Brady. Brady hasn't been the same since his injury. He doesn't throw down the sideline deep. He doesn't throw the 10 yard outs towards the sideline. He pretty much just throws over the middle. The same thing was happening last year. I was at the Pats v. Broncos game and he rarely even looked in Moss' direction. Throwing to Moss is dangerous because Brady can no longer make those throws consistently.

by Jerrard (not verified) :: Thu, 10/07/2010 - 1:05pm

The deep ball point you make is at least arguable. But the 10-yard out comment is laughable. He's getting the ball to his receivers and they're making yards. His adjusted yards per attempt (courtesy of Pro Footbal Reference) so far this year are the second best of his career, only trailing the other-worldly 2007 season, and his completion percentage is great. Do you seriously believe that would be the case if the guy could no longer make basic throws like 10-yard outs? (Or don't you think defenses would have picked up on that if that really was the case?)

by sn0mm1s :: Thu, 10/07/2010 - 4:23pm

I think good defenses have picked up on it - just Moss still demanded double coverage. It isn't like Brady is lighting teams up. Just because Brady's completion percentage is high doesn't mean he is throwing bullets to the sideline. The vast majority of Brady's sideline passes are right around the LOS. Most of the other passes are over the middle. I guess we will see over the next few games.

by Nathan :: Fri, 10/08/2010 - 4:50am

Wait now Brady can't throw a 10 yd out? That isn't a particularly difficult throw for an NFL QB. In fact I'd say it's required. This ain't FNL and Brady ain't Matt Saracen. Brady has made tougher throws this year. I won't sit here and say this won't affect the Pats offense but to suggest Brady suddenly can't complete high school routes is ludicrous. Cassel could throw that route. I bet Quinn can throw that route.

by GlennW :: Thu, 10/07/2010 - 2:06pm

Wasn't FO foretelling of Randy Moss's imminent demise three years ago at age 30, before he joined the Patriots? Well, it has to happen sometime.

by TheMike :: Thu, 10/07/2010 - 3:25pm

Is it possible this opens up the Pats' deep game? Would a single-covered Tate be a better deep target than a double-covered or Revis'd Moss?

by Will Allen :: Thu, 10/07/2010 - 8:14pm

If taking fewer guys to cover a deep route runner improves an offense, hell, they coulda' hired me!

by Bobman :: Thu, 10/07/2010 - 11:28pm

Well... THAT is one piece of analysis I hadn't counted on....

I think if rosters open up in coming years they can add a slow, middle-aged, short guy like me to run a couple deep routes a game. The D will be lauhging so hard the RB can waltz in for six from 80 yards away.

Moss's role was "to take the top off the defense." (quoted above) Mine too, just in a different way.

by Will Allen :: Fri, 10/08/2010 - 9:50am

If the Rules Committee cooperates, I promise to be the first guy to run a "9" route while holding a beer!

by mawbrew :: Thu, 10/07/2010 - 3:29pm

I've got two questions on this deal.

1. If the Vikes don't give Moss a new deal soon (within three games) will he start pouting and become a problem sooner rather than later?

2. Could the Pats have come up with some kind of contract extension that would have made Moss content without costing them a ton up front (allowing them to trade him after this year)? A deal with a modest bonus this year, and a more substantial guaranteed bonus due at the start of training camp, maybe. Of course, they would be accepting significant injury risk, but if he avoids injury I have to believe they would have been able to trade him to somebody after this year.