Well, it is now official. The 3-1 New England Patriots have traded their star receiver Randy Moss to the Minnesota Vikings for a third round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. Yes, as a person who owns a Moss jersey, I was shocked when I first heard this news. But, am I disappointed? Not as much as the average fan, because Bill Belichick has a plan in place that ultimately will set the organization up for long term success. If Moss was traded, then there was pretty much a guarantee that Moss was being a distraction in the locker room since Week one where Moss complained about not feeling wanted in a game in which Wes Welker made his return from ACL surgery.
Over the last 24 hours, more information has been released about the reasons why Moss was shipped back home to Minnesota. On Monday, according to ESPNBoston.com, Moss got in a heated exchange with quarterback coach and offensive play caller Bill O’Brien. This led to Moss saying after the game that it was all part of the gameplan in a game in which he had zero catches. Also, you have New York Jets’ cornerback Darrelle Revis saying that Moss quit in the 2nd half of a Week 2 loss to New York. Keep in mind; this is a second half in which Revis did not play in due to a hamstring injury. I tend to side with Revis on this one because Moss was quitting on times in December last season and I saw evidence in the Jets’ game where it seemed Moss was not his usual self only going up with one hand to make a catch in the 4th quarter, ultimately leading to a Brodney Pool interception.
With this trade, New England can now go with what has been working for his offense the last two games and that is a balanced attack. Against Miami and Buffalo, New England has worked on running the ball and have done it effectively with the likes of Fred Taylor, Benjarvus Green-Ellis, and Danny Woodhead. We also saw in 2001, 2003, and 2004 that Brady has won with the likes of receivers like David Patten and Bethel Johnson. Also, Brady reached the AFC Championship Game in 2006 with Reche Caldwell and Jabar Gaffney as the two main receivers. This move shows the confidence Belichick has in 2nd year wide receiver Brandon Tate. Tate has two kickoff returns for touchdowns this season and was considered a deep threat receiver back in his college days at North Carolina. Plus, I wouldn’t rule out New England making a big trade for Vincent Jackson with their eight draft picks in the first four rounds next year or bringing back Deion Branch from Seattle who has played in that system before.
So, what did we learn from this trade? Even though Moss had a record breaking 23 touchdowns in 2007, that does not mean he is different from any other player on the Patriots’ roster. When you make public statements regarding your contract, then the front office will be quick to replace you. Logan Mankins is another example of this. Take a look at Tom Brady. He never made any negative remarks towards the organization and was then rewarded with a contract. Despite the record breaking year for Moss, his reputation speaks for himself and no team that Moss has been on has won a championship. I don’t think you can win a championship with Moss on your roster. Even though this hinders the Pats’ chances of making it to Dallas in February, a playoff spot this year would set this team up in the right direction for the next five years with their multitude of draft picks in 2011.