Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

01 May 2007

FOX Blog Wrap-up: April 2007

With so much of our attention on the book right now, we're not doing a lot of posting over on the FO FOX blog, but here are some posts you might want to see from the past few weeks:
Are Workhorse RB Dying Out?
Game Over for the Titans
Big 10 DTs Go Home
You Go to War with the Randy Moss You Have

Posted by: admin on 01 May 2007

33 comments, Last at 10 May 2007, 12:50pm by Digit


by pawnking (not verified) :: Tue, 05/01/2007 - 4:52pm

Those drinking the Randy Moss Kool-Aide should read this article. Actually you have to talk pretty fast to yourself to be convinced that Moss to NE is a good idea.

If you believe in team chemistry, what in Moss's background makes you think this is a good fit? If you believe in stats, what in Moss's last few years of production makes you think this is a good idea? Only an odd Simmons-esque combination of the two viewpoints will lead to the conclusion that this will all work out in the Pat's favor.

by MJK (not verified) :: Tue, 05/01/2007 - 5:37pm

Actually you have to talk pretty fast to yourself to be convinced that Moss to NE is a good idea.

I fail to see how it is a bad idea, for anyone involved. For the Patriots...is Randy Moss likely to increase their chance of winning more than a 4th round draft pick? Of course. For Randy...will he have a better year with Tom Brady throwing him the ball, or Andrew Walter? Obvious answer. For Oakland...is it better to pay $13M or so to a disgruntled and unproductive Randy Moss, or to cut ties with him and draft someone better. Again, obvious.

I'm not predicting Moss will be amazing, and I'm not handing NE the Lombardi. In fact, I'm not even 100% sure Moss will make the Pats opening day roster. But it only costs them a 4th rounder (one of nine 2nd day picks they had) to find out if they can recover even part of one of the most exciting recievers to play the game in recent years. If it doesn't work out, little to no harm done. And if it does, they're geniuses.

by tom (not verified) :: Tue, 05/01/2007 - 7:21pm

Randy Moss for a 4th round pick sure sounds like a no-brainer from a production-only perspective. But what I haven't seen mention of anywhere is Moss' production relative to his cap number. Does anyone know what his cap number is this year and for the near future? It's got to be around $10mm, right?
It seems like he'll have to be the Randy Moss of of 5 years ago to justify that kind of salary cap hit, regardless of what the Patriots gave up to get him.

by MJK (not verified) :: Tue, 05/01/2007 - 7:40pm

It was reported in various news sources over the weekend that Moss tore up his current contract in order to get the Patriots to agree to the trade (he apparently really wanted to play for them). The info I have heard, and granted this is third hand so it might be wrong, is that Moss agreed to a 1 year contract with the Pats, with no signing bonus, a base salary of ~$3M contingent upon him making the opening day roster, and about another ~$2M in incentives. Depending on whether those are "likely to be earned" incentives or not, that puts his cap hit at ~$3-5M, but only if he shows enough in a crowded WR training camp to make the opening day roster.

Another report I heard is that Brady restructured his contract to give the Pats the cap space to get Moss, because even if he was going to restructure, they supposedly had to have the cap space to cover his original contract. Which means right now they probably have something like $6M in cap space AFTER taking Moss into account.

by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Tue, 05/01/2007 - 7:44pm

Moss restructured to a $3 million base salary, with something like $2 million in incentives.

More interesting to me, were the 100+, well-nigh unreadable comments to that post. Interesting in a flaming-car-wreck sort of way, anyway.

by BillWallace (not verified) :: Tue, 05/01/2007 - 8:01pm

I think you can't underestimate the impact of Randy Moss not trying on his 2007 stats.

I don't know what to believe about his speed... whether he's lost a step, or can still run a 4.3... but I do know that if there was a time to throw out the stats, this is it.

I'm not a Pats fan, I'm just a Bay Area resident who was stuck watching the Raiders play 14 times last season. I've never seen a player try less hard in any major pro sport than Moss did last season.

by SJM (not verified) :: Wed, 05/02/2007 - 12:00am

I think a better comparison than the guys mentioned is Terrell Owens in his first year in Philly. To wit:

The WR went from a bad team with poor QBing (yes Garcia was poor) and a bad coach where he was accused of not caring and being a locker room cancer, and his stats were well down from his career averages, to a successful team with a Pro Bowl QB and a highly respected coach (again, I know Garcia was a Pro Bowl QB also, but he was past his prime, not true of Mcnabb or Brady).

So, is it a good comparison? Owens only had one down year, not two, and his down year was not nearly as bad as Moss's. However, if Moss is as healthy and fast as he's reported to be, there's no reason he can't bounce back to a decent level. Remember, he doesn't have to be as good as Owens was in 2004 (potential MVP until he got hurt, best player in the Super Bowl), he just has to be a bit above average and he will represent a big improvement. To continue the comparison, Owens became a huge headache in 2005 over a contract dispute. Moss reportedly only has a one-year deal, so that can't be an issue. Also, as immature as Moss has been, he's never been as immature as Owens.

I love this deal for NE. A fourth round pick!

Also, nobody has mentioned the Oakland angle. They essentially traded Moss for Mike Williams and Josh McCown. I get that they wanted to get rid of Moss, and a 4th was not a horrible value in that situation, but forget the 4th for a moment. Moss for Williams and McCown would be the most lopsided trade in history.

by jonnyblazin (not verified) :: Wed, 05/02/2007 - 4:59am

I wonder what effects smoking marijuana has over time with regard to a person's motivation, concentration, and having a lucid grasp on reality... I'm just sayin, Moss's recent lack of competitive spirit may have more to do with that substance than Andrew Walter and Gallery.

by BadRick (not verified) :: Wed, 05/02/2007 - 7:42am

I have to say I loved the statistical comparisons that implied that Randy Moss is about the equal of Webster Slaughter and Ernest Givens.

It's called being obtuse. None of the people in the list of receivers compared to Moss was ever considered to be one of the two best (if not the best) WRs in the NFL. Yes, we know Moss has been unproductive for two years. That does not mean that his future arc will mirror the arcs of a bunch of receivers who were never at his level to begin with.

I have no idea whether Moss will be successful with New England or not. I do know that the Pats are taking very little risk here. With that in mind, the possible return/risk ratio is very high. And if he sulks or is unproductive, the Pats will cut him, and he'll find it very hard to get a job anywhere else.

I'm sure he knows that. That's why I think it's more likely than not that he'll work very hard for the Pats, just as TO did in Philly. Is his career arc going to follow that of Jerry Rice: a high productivity level well into his 30s? Probably not. Will he still have personal issues to deal with? Sure. Will the Pats take any crap from him? With people like Tom Brady and Rodney Harrison running the show - no. There will be zero tolerance for prima donna crap in Foxboro.

So, no, I have no idea whether this will work. But I am optimistic. And in the worst case - it's certainly worth a 4th round pick.

by starzero (not verified) :: Wed, 05/02/2007 - 10:01am

as a colts fan, i am excited about the potential for meltdown in new england. for me, that's the best result of this deal. otherwise we have more disgrace and dominance at the hands of the damn patriots.

by rashreflection (not verified) :: Wed, 05/02/2007 - 11:31am

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I am not sold on similarity scores, at all. They weren't of great use in baseball until we developed metrics to measure every skill (hitting/piching/fielding/baserunning/etc.) independent of context, and football has far more of this statistical noise that still needs to be filtered out.

And marijuana certainly doesn't seem to have had any long-term effects on people I know. Hell, Mark Stepnoski smoked his whole career (isn't he, or wasn't he, the president of Texas NORML?) and was still great.

by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 05/02/2007 - 12:03pm

#7: Except Owens was never a fast WR. He was always a larger WR able to beat tackles on pure size.

Moss's strength was always his speed, and right about now is when that starts going away.

by MJK (not verified) :: Wed, 05/02/2007 - 12:36pm


I wouldn't hope for a Pats meltdown. I'm a Pats fan and I certainly don't hope for a Colts meltdown. The current Colts-Pats rivalry is one of the best in football, and arguably one of the best in sports right now (it's certainly more interesting than the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry that all the major sporting outlets insiste on cramming down our throats). Every Sherlock Holmes needs a Professor Moriarty; every Superman needs a Lex Luthor. You can decide for yourself which team is which, but how boring would it be if either team's biggest rival just imploded and stopped being competitive?

I thought the AFC CG game last year was one of the best football games I have ever watched, perhaps THE best (except for maybe Giants-Bills SB), and even though the wrong team won in the end (from my perspective), I'm glad I had the chance to see it. I hope that the Colts stay just as good as they were last year, and that New England gets another crack at them.

by w welker (not verified) :: Wed, 05/02/2007 - 12:48pm

Doesn't it seem like every one-time hot shot receiver just starts acting like an insufferable primadonna whenever their skills start to slip. I don't know why GM's can't see through it, But I guess they think they can teach charachter but not speed/catching etc. But being a tool is certainly the best way to eek out one or two more big contracts when you are bum receiver, with nothing to sell but stats from a couple years ago. TO got contracts from Philly and Dallas, (injuries and dramma both times to cover up lack of skills) Keyshawn to Dallas, David Boston to Miami? and San Diego?

by M (not verified) :: Wed, 05/02/2007 - 2:01pm

As a Vikings fan, I got to witness Randy Moss' capabilities in his prime, as well as his shenanigans. I do not think he is even in the same league as Terrell Owens as far as divisiveness, because he doesn't actively go out of his way to create locker room conflicts. Yes, he gets upset at losing, and mails it in on more plays than the average player, but does anyone honestly think that the New England players and coaches will tolerate any of that shit? This isn't Terrell Owens going to Philly. Tom Brady and Bill Belichek have thicker skins than their counterparts, so odds are they aren't going to let him get to them one iota. Furthermore, a motivated Moss, even if he has slowed down a bit, is still better than 85% of the receivers in the NFL. Keep in mind, you don't need to be a burner to catch jump-ball passes in the end zone. If nothing else, he should be able to make New England one of the top red-zone teams in the league. If anyone is looking for a good comp for him, look at James Lofton's post-GB career. While not a star, he definitely contributed, and his YPC wasn't too shabby in his later years, either. I don't remember much of Lofton in Green Bay, but I believe he wasn't the easiest guy to get along with, either. Yet, does anyone remember him disrupting Buffalo's locker room? No. Because it was clear he wasn't the alpha. Randy Moss is most dangerous when he is NOT the alpha - see 1998-2000. He will definitely make New England better, and not be a locker-room cancer, either. If there is any con to all of the pros, it is his health. But he has been able to have some pretty good games when he had a bum ankle. Interestingly, he seemed to have his best red zone days when he couldn't run worth a lick (GB playoff game in 2004-5).

by Adam (not verified) :: Wed, 05/02/2007 - 2:14pm

#9 Is his career arc going to follow that of Jerry Rice: a high productivity level well into his 30s? Probably not.

I agree!

If anyone will have a Jerry Rice type career it will be Marvin Harrison, not T.O. or Moss. Harrison isn't as physically gifted as some other receivers (including TO, Moss, Chad Johnson, Steve Smith) but his smaller stature actually works to his advantage for longevity. He is also not throwing a fit (at least to my knowledge) that Reggie Wayne gets as much action. Harrison has arguably the best hands, runs tight routes, and has been with the same qb forever. Moss and TO will fade away in the next two years and although Harrison won't be putting up MVP numbers he will get a crack at Rice's.

by J (not verified) :: Wed, 05/02/2007 - 3:02pm

A couple of problems with the Moss post:

a) What would the three-year similarity scores have predicted for Moss going into the 2004 season? Coming off of some of his most productive season, would the similarity scores have called his sudden decline?

No. The reason is that the three year period the Macey chose to base his similarity scores on just happens to correspond with the first three years in which Moss has struggled with nagging ankle, hamstring and groin injuries.

There's a difference between "losing a step" and not being able to stay healthy any longer. With the former, a player rarely, if ever, returns to form. With the latter, it can happen... though, it seems as often as not, these kind of chronic "wheel" problems can dog a player the rest of his career.

Moss is 30 -- he will never be the "Moss of old" again, it's true, but that doesn't mean there isn't reason to think he'll be closer to that than he will to the Moss of the last three years... if he can stay healthy. That, to me, seems to the key question.

b) I don't think you can compare Moss' and Branch's "catch %" straight the way Macey did. Usually, at FO, writers are careful to remember just how much we can read into stats that are based on the context-less play-by-plays.

One would assume that Moss, a deep threat, was the recipient of a higher ratio of "low percentage" passes than Branch, who worked short + middle as often, if not more, than he did long. Also, factor in the fact that Moss played in an offense that was entirely predicated on getting him the ball -- and defenses knew it. Branch, meanwhile, played in an offense predicated on spreading the ball around.

Moss probably saw more double coverage, and had the ball forced to him while tightly covered more frequently than Branch, who usually didn't see many passes thrown his way when defenses decided to blanket him.

I would be much more interested in what the game-charting data had to say about Branch and Moss' respective catch rates.

by Tom (not verified) :: Wed, 05/02/2007 - 3:44pm

Re 16:

I think Torry Holt has a better chance. He entered the league at a younger age, and has racked up yards faster.

by Yaguar (not verified) :: Wed, 05/02/2007 - 10:51pm

There's clearly going to be a time some point in the future where Rice, Harrison, and Holt are the top three for all-time receiving yardage. Harrison will move past Tim Brown into second place very soon - he has only 1237 yards to go.

Holt is 4259 yards behind, meaning he'll need to play fairly well through 2010 to pass Brown. I think that's doable; he's 30 now, and he has a good quarterback who's not going anywhere anytime soon.

Moss is roughly where Holt is, but he's not producing at a 1000 yard/year clip anymore, and he seems physically "older" than Holt, even though Moss is actually younger. Moss might make it past Tim Brown, but it would take a serious resurgence with NE.

Holt and Harrison will never pass Rice, but looking over the long run, you can see some people who have a chance. The key characteristics:
1. Fast start. Harrison and Holt were both old when they entered the NFL. Ideally, you have a Randy Moss-like start.
2. Be consistent, and don't get injured. Harrison and Holt have this, but not the fast start.
3. Another thing Harrison and Holt have: a good quarterback. Lee Evans, Roy Williams, and Andre Johnson are great receivers who would be doing a lot better if they had more reliable quarterback play.

Keeping those criteria in mind, here are the current players I think are most likely to challenge Rice's records: Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin, Chad Johnson, Marques Colston. All of those guys have had good starts, and are set with a fairly young stud at QB. If they can have Holt-like consistency or Harrison-like longevity, they could get in the neighborhood of 20,000 career receiving yards.

by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 05/02/2007 - 10:54pm

There’s a difference between “losing a step� and not being able to stay healthy any longer. With the former, a player rarely, if ever, returns to form. With the latter, it can happen… though, it seems as often as not, these kind of chronic “wheel� problems can dog a player the rest of his career.

Similarity scores look for players who play similar numbers of games, too. The entire point is to see what previous players have done after having 3 years of nagging injuries. Answer: continue to struggle with injuries.

That's pretty much the entire point of running the similarity scores.

by kleph (not verified) :: Thu, 05/03/2007 - 9:31am

and the lucid prose of the fox sports commentors continues to inspire us all.

another way to consider the moss trade is in terms of how defensive coordinators will cope with it. in the early part of the season, they almost have to assume this will be moss of '02 and plan for it. that's the kind of strategic advantage belichick salivates at the thought of.

further into the season, when he is more of a known quantity he still brings more to the table this year than any fourth round draft pick would be able to.

by MJK (not verified) :: Thu, 05/03/2007 - 1:13pm

I used to read that "lucid prose" for amusement value, but I don't anymore. I started to be able to feel myself getting dumber as I read it. Kind of like listening to talk radio (both the conservative and the liberal kind).

by passerby (not verified) :: Thu, 05/03/2007 - 7:29pm

I see the Moss to NE situation as being very different than the TO to Philly situation from a risk/reward perspective.
The Eagles didn't have much reliable depth at the WR position and was counting on TO as the "savior" of that the WR spot.
The Pats already solidified the WR position and aquired Moss to add more spice.
TO was able to walk into the Eagles' locker room with the I-am-your-savior attitude knowing that the Eagles will sabotage their season if they cut him. Moss won't have that luxury. So the situation neither put too much presure on him or fuel his egotistic fire.
If TO doesn't work out for the Eagles, they lose their season. If Moss doesn't work out in NE, they lose a 4th round pick

by SJM (not verified) :: Fri, 05/04/2007 - 4:08pm

Re: 23

I made the comparison to TO not to imply that Moss will eventually kill the Pat's chemistry like TO did to the Eagles (he won't), but to make the point that TO came out of a down year in a bad situation and bounced back to a Pro Bowl level. The people who think the Moss of Oakland will be the Moss in New England would be wise to pay attention to that. I'm not saying that Moss will return to the Pro Bowl, just that he will be a lot better than he has been.

by Pat (not verified) :: Sun, 05/06/2007 - 10:17pm

The Pats already solidified the WR position and aquired Moss to add more spice.


In what weird world did the Pats "solidify" the WR position?

They added Donte Stallworth, a frequently-injured WR.
They added Kelley Washington, a frequently-injured WR.
They added Wes Welker, a slot receiver.

Looks a lot to me like they carpet-bombed the position with a lot of question marks. Ditto with Moss.

Probably a smart (cheap) strategy, but not exactly 'solidifying.' There's still a chance (not a big one) that they could end up with a crappy WR corps next year.

Don't get me wrong - they definitely strengthened the WR position, and virtually everyone's got a 1 year contract (except Welker, but he's a returner). But I wouldn't call that position 'solid'. Which is why they got Moss.

by MJK (not verified) :: Mon, 05/07/2007 - 1:01pm

Pat, how exactly would you "solidify" a position, then? Except in the case of a few types of injuries, there's no reason why past injury history should correlate with future injury probability (unless past injury history is indicative that the player doesn't condition properly, but such players are unlikely to last in the league...see Justin Smith).

You could sign a WR that's cosidered fantastic and that has never missed a game in his career, and there's exactly the same chance that his knee will get rolled on or his arm will be broken by a vicious hit as there is Donte Stallworth or Kelly Washington. The point is that ANY player can be injured at any time. The only way to "solidify" a position is to have depth (and even that's not a sure thing). So I'm not sure what else you would call what the Pats did...

by passerby (not verified) :: Mon, 05/07/2007 - 2:02pm

Maybe I should have used the word "strengthened" instead of "solidified". But the point stands. The Pats have already improved their WR corps before adding Moss while TO was The improvement for the Eagles'.

TO walked into that locker room with more swaggers can Moss can afford. TO arrived on a pedestal thinking that the Eagles need him more than he needs them.

Most people think that Moss is a has been because of his stats in Oakland. He needs the Patriots to revitalize his career while the Pats can just cut him without ruining their season.

by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 05/07/2007 - 5:08pm

Pat, how exactly would you “solidify� a position, then?

In one year? Barring a few free agent coups? You wouldn't. It takes more than one year.

Except in the case of a few types of injuries

You mean, like "chronic" injuries? Y'know, like the kind that Donte Stallworth and Kelley Washington have? Washington - and Stallworth - have both had hamstring injuries off and on for multiple years now.

The Pats have already improved their WR corps before adding Moss while TO was The improvement for the Eagles’.

Yes - but TO was a surer thing than any of the additions the Patriots made.

I don't really agree that Moss is a "low risk, high reward" pickup. The risk is pretty large - they don't really have the roster space for yet another flaky receiver. It's entirely possible that Moss might shove off one of the other WRs who might've made a bigger contribution.

by Digit (not verified) :: Mon, 05/07/2007 - 6:29pm


If we're arguing that Kelvin Kight or Bam Childress are somehow more worthy of roster space than Randy Moss or Donte Stallworth, then I think you're insane.

The guys that Stallworth, and Moss are replacing are people like Childress and Kight, for chrissakes- they're -very- fungible. I think the risk/reward ratio is -much- higher in favor of Moss/Stallworth than those two.

Also, some think Gaffney is the most likely to get kicked off if Washington makes the team.

Gaffney was -still- available as a FA at the beginning of last year, and may be again if someone is injured. I think he counts as a 'street free agent'.

Basically, the Patriots' WR corps last year was essentially street free agents and Caldwell. Given that, I don't think it's really much of an argument that this corps -is- better than last year's if at least -one- of these guys is healthy for all sixteen games.

Or to put it in better terms: The risk that -one- guy might get hurt is what, 25 percent? If he misses 4 games out of 16 games, I'd say 25 percent is okay.

But -two- guys with a similar injury at the same time, I think the odds are lower. One out of sixteen instead of one out of four. And then they plug in the sixth WR, who usually is inactive on game-day anyway, and you're still coming out ahead of last year's street free agent / street free agent WR combo.

Keep in mind that usually the sixth WR does NOT play because he's stashed on the Inactive list. So the injured player would probably be switched for the sixth WR in this case. Last year, that would be Kelvin Kight. This year, that would likely have been Kelly Washington or Jabar Gaffney or Reche Caldwell.

I'd argue that the -depth- of the WR signings actually makes it more likely that the Patriots will have at least -one- difference-maker on the field at all times, not less.

by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 05/08/2007 - 12:26pm

If we’re arguing that Kelvin Kight or Bam Childress are somehow more worthy of roster space than Randy Moss or Donte Stallworth, then I think you’re insane.

If someone sits on the inactive roster for 2/3 of the season, anyone is more worthy of roster space than they are. Injuries reduce the effective contribution of a player to zero.

But -two- guys with a similar injury at the same time, I think the odds are lower.

Stallworth's had hamstring injuries in 3/5 seasons. In all of those seasons it dogged him all year long. Washington's had hamstring injuries in 2/4 seasons. That's a fair bit higher than 25%. What's the chance both of them have hamstring injuries? Well, based purely on previous years, something like ~30%. That's probably high, but a 10% chance that both of them do is probably not crazy.

Also, some think Gaffney is the most likely to get kicked off if Washington makes the team.

There's some value in keeping street-FA level players for multiple years. They'll at least know where they're supposed to be.

Also do people really think Washington won't make the team? Why'd they give him a signing bonus, then? It wasn't that small (it was $300K). Seems a bit much, although maybe that's what they had to do to pull him away from Cincinnati.

I’d argue that the -depth- of the WR signings actually makes it more likely that the Patriots will have at least -one- difference-maker on the field at all times, not less.

The number they had on the field (at WR) last year was zero, so it's hard to get less. But while I agree there's a good chance they'll get one decent WR, I think there's a good chance they'll struggle to have a stable WR corps.

Their best WR acquisition so far was probably Welker, followed closely by Moss. But Moss is a short-term solution (he's on the wrong side of 30). Welker might be a real solution, but he's only really been a slot receiver.

by Digit (not verified) :: Tue, 05/08/2007 - 2:31pm


Agreed. I just don't find it hard to think this is an improvement over LAST YEAR'S insanely fluctuating WR corps- at least they finally sorted things out for the playoffs. Because I think odds are that if the new guys get hurt, the -same- people from last year are going to end up replacing them anyway.

Also, I don't find it hard for the Patriots, of all teams, to just up and cut Washington. It's a relatively small bonus (the real money comes when the Pats pick up the option), and they've shown they don't fear cutting anyone if they don't feel he'll help. (Doug Gabriel last year being a case in point.)

by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 05/09/2007 - 12:14pm

Oh, it's definitely an improvement over last year. The entire point I'm making, though, is that Moss isn't a "no risk/high reward" proposal. There is a risk. Their WR corps is not solid enough that they can afford to burn a roster spot on someone who may or may not actually be a good WR.

and they’ve shown they don’t fear cutting anyone if they don’t feel he’ll help.

Good point. That's really what the risk is with Moss, then - the risk that they wasted a 4th rounder in a draft they had very low opinion of.

I also think not holding on to Gaffney would be a mistake - going into next year with Moss, Washington, Welker, Stallworth, Jackson, and what, Troy Brown? Cadwell? would be really dangerous. Gaffney gives at least some continuity from the previous year, and his injury record is absolutely spotless.

To me, making "Moss vs Stallworth vs Washington" a "best 2 out of 3" competition would make sense.

I'm still disturbed that the Patriots have ten vet WRs on the team right now.

by Digit (not verified) :: Thu, 05/10/2007 - 12:50pm

Agreed about Gaffney - I actually like him better than Caldwell, and think he'll benefit more from having a full training camp (he came in mid-season).

But the thing is, I think the Randy Moss risk/reward ratio (and the effect he'll have for others on that offense) is so high it's well worth taking the chance, as the most likely result is that if he lives up to even half the promise, one of the other risk/reward ratios players will be cut/traded.

Of course, there's always Troy Brown being this year's "Patriot who retires in the middle of training camp".