By: Russ Goldman
I wanted to take some time to digest the Randy Moss trade before commenting on it. Now that I am another day removed from the trade I am ready to share my thoughts on the subject. The trade of Moss has short term and long term effects on the Patriots. I will cover both, but before I do that I wanted to discuss the player himself.
I was never a big fan of Randy Moss the player. Before he came to the Patriots I thought he was the exact opposite type of a player that would be considered a Patriot. My perception of Moss was that he was a “me” player instead of a “team” player.
Up until this season I have to say Randy Moss was a very good Patriot, and was a team player. He was not a disruption in the locker room, and he was a great talent. He put up tremendous numbers with the Patriots in his three plus seasons. I gave him a chance when he arrived, and he really delivered as a player. I thought he finally grew up, and he would be a Patriot for his career.
Now, let’s go forward to this off-season when I started to hear and see startling statements coming from Moss. Reportedly at a charity event in Florida he mentioned that the Patriots don’t pay their players. Before the season began there were reports at the Patriots Kick Off Gala that Moss did not look interested in being there, and wore his head phones a good amount of the time. Finally, there was his 16-minute press conference which included comments about his lack of a new contract after the Patriots victory against the Bengals.
All of these events led me to feel that Moss would not be a Patriot for the rest of his career. I had a feeling something was going to happen. However, I did not see this trade happening this year, let alone after the win against Miami. I thought maybe by the trade deadline the Patriots might do something with him, but what happened on Wednesday definitely caught me off guard.
In regards to the trade I am not against the Patriots making a deal for Moss. What I have a major problem with is that the Pats do not have a suitable replacement for him right now.
I understand that if he was starting to be a problem in the locker room that a move needed to be made. But, you should already have a plan B in place before you make that type of transaction. I don’t see a suitable replacement at this moment on the roster for the Patriots. They have some great young players, but I don’t think they are ready yet to make up for the loss of Moss.
Now, I will completely change my mind on this trade if the Pats find a receiver say like a Deion Branch, who Profootballtalk.com is reporting could return to the Patriots. At this point it is speculation, but it is a story worth following.
In the short term, the Patriots are not going to be a better team without Moss. I definitely see the value that he brought to the Patriots. He is the home-run hitter that stretches the field, and was also obviously a scoring threat.
The Patriots are going to probably go back to the ball control team they were before he got here. However, I do think it’s possible that offensively we could see them take a step back this season, which might cost them a game or two not by not having him on the team anymore.
However, I see the benefit of this trade in the long term. It is pretty obvious that the Patriots were not going to give him a new contract. If he was not in the Patriots long term plans, I see the reasoning in making the trade.
The Patriots now have the opportunity to play their young players, and let them learn now. They could struggle at times, but the benefits in 2011 and beyond could be huge. New England has two young tight ends and three young wide recievers. Without Moss, these players will be counted on to step up this season.
I am already on board with the rebuilding of the defense. It would be hypocritical of me not to be in favor of the offense rebuilding as well.
The true benefit of this Moss trade is the chance now to completely reshape your team. In a way it is exciting to see the Patriots start over, and I’m intrigued to see what the rest of the season brings.
Do I want the Patriots to be a Super Bowl contender now? The answer to that question is absolutely “yes”. However, with the entire team in rebuilding mode I am more looking forward to the future.
The Patriots can still have a great season, and there is still certainly plenty of talent left on this team. This club right now is bringing me back to 2001. We are starting over, but something special can still happen. They’re in a position now very similar to that season where the expectations are low, and no one expects much from them. We also heard reports that Belichick told them before the Miami game that, “no one believes in you,” much like the “us against the world” mentality they had during that first championship season.
The Patriots are becoming a “team” again. The trade of Randy Moss I think was the final move to push the Patriots towards the future and away from the past, and with 12 games to go I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next.