What a week it’s been here in New England.  Between the Randy Moss trade a couple of days ago, and now the recent discussions about the Patriots acquiring Deion Branch, it’s been anything other than a “quiet” bye week.  Needless to say here are today’s headlines with more on each of these topics.

The Boston Globe has an article this morning about Branch as a possibility to replace Moss, but the interesting note from this article was the fact that Brady apparently knew the trade was coming and had been in touch with Branch beforehand.

“The source added that Tom Brady, knowing that the trade of Randy Moss was in the works, has been in touch with Branch frequently over the last week or so, talking to him about coming back to the Patriots.”

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick held a press conference yesterday to give his side of the story, and Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com reports that Belichick claims that there were never any discipline problems with Moss during his tenure here in New England, and that all the reports of altercations between both he and any of the other coaches were untrue. 

“There was never any incident or discipline problem with Randy, there never has been one with me in four years,” Belichick said during a news conference addressing the deal. “It certainly wasn’t about contract and money, I think Randy showed and proved from the first year he was here what that was all about. He [re-did] his contract and made the whole [trade from Oakland] work. I think you can eliminate those two things.”

Moss also held his own press conference out in Minnesota, and didn’t say anything about Belichick or his former team.  He basically said it’s a business, and that this trade was more of an “understanding” than anything else.

“I’ve been traded before. I was more hurt when I left [Minnesota the first time],” Moss said. “I think when I got traded from New England I feel it was more of an understanding. I’ve said time and time again. This is not football, man. It’s a job; it’s a business. When the fans of the game understand the business of the game I think it’ll be better for everyone.”

Glen Farley of the Patriot Ledger writes that the Moss trade is “just a sign of the times”, with Wes Welker pointing out yesterday there’s a sign at Gillette that tells players where to go if they don’t want to be here.

“I don’t know if there’s really any message or anything like that,” Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker said on Thursday. “We have a sign (at Gillette Stadium) that says if you don’t want to be here, you don’t have to be here, and I guess I’m not really sure the scenario or anything like that, but it’s kind of the way things worked out and we wish Randy the best. At the same time, (we’ve) got a great group of guys that love to compete, love to battle and love to play hard, and I’m looking forward to working with these guys.” 

Christopher Price of WEEI.com reports that in the locker room, Moss’ ex-teammates were all business on Thursday, with Tom Brady saying that the players simply need to move on and focus on the rest of the season.

“Randy really knows how I feel about him,” Brady said in an interview with “Patriots All-Access” that will air on Friday. “I love him as a guy, as a person, as a player. He did a lot of great things for this team. At the same time, I think coach (Bill) Belichick feels that’s what he thinks he needs to do for the team. So we as players, we deal with it and we move on. I think I’ve been around long enough to realize that nothing really surprises me. The best thing for me to do is to be the best quarterback that I can be for the team.”

Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald writes that Vince Wilfork was a bit misty-eyed while talking about Moss with reporters yesterday, and is disappointed that the veteran receiver is no longer with the team and had some good things to say about him.

“I was very fortunate to play with a guy like Randy. I had a chance to know him as a person, not just as an athlete. He was a great person, he was a great athlete, probably one of the greatest guys you’ll ever meet,” Wilfork said. “It’s business. It’s a classic case of business. It happens all the time, but we’re going to keep rolling, and I’m pretty sure Randy is going to keep doing what he has to do in Minnesota.
 
“But one thing is for sure, we’re friends forever.”

Ian Rapoport of the Herald reports that wide receiver Wes Welker was also surprised by the trade, but he was even more surprised to learn that Moss wanted out weeks ago after reportedly requesting a trade after their week one win over the Bengals.

“That was the difficult thing because he was always the guy giving pep talks before the game, after the game, and not knowing that he was wanting to get traded the whole time was a little bit disappointing,” Welker said. “At the same time, he’s doing what’s best for him. It’s a business.”

Bill Simmons has an interesting read this morning on the Moss trade, and writes that it was a good move by the team.

Mike Reiss reports that one of the changes we’ll see is in the offensive formations, which will likely feature more from the Patriots tight ends.  Reiss points out that this year’s offense has only been in a pure three- or four-receiver package 36 percent of their snaps, compared to 56 percent during the 2009 season

Tom Curran of NECN reports that the Patriots did look into potentially acquiring disgruntled San Diego Chargers receiver Vincent Jackson, but according to Curran San Diego wants at least a 1st and 2nd round pick in order to get him.

Transcripts finally became available on the crash involving quarterback Tom Brady last month, with witnesses reporting a “huge crash”.  Considering the condition of the two vehicles, it’s very fortunate that the injuries on both sides weren’t more severe.

In the battle of the local radio ratings, the Boston Herald reports that 98.5 The Sports Hub is closing in on WEEI, with the latest ratings being released today.

That’s it for this morning.  Be sure to check back as we’ll have more updates later on throughout the day.