By: Ian Logue
What a strange season it’s been, and we have yet another afternoon with a breaking news story that obviously has everyone talking.
Michael Lombardi of the NFL Network reported Monday afternoon that the Vikings plan to waive wide receiver Randy Moss, and it’s likely due to his comments following Sunday’s loss to New England. During his “press conference” in which Moss told reporters that he “missed the hell out of his former team”, and also blasted head coach Brad Childress’ decision to go for it on 4th down at the goal line just before halftime instead of kicking a field goal. He also made matters worse when he claimed that Childress didn’t heed his advice when Moss told about New England’s potential plans on offense.
“I think we did a pretty good job of heeding it, both offensively and defensively,” Childress said. “He gave us some windows into how we thought they would end up playing. That’s obviously in his eyes.”
However, before the team left the stadium to catch the plane back to Minnesota, he gave Moss the O.K. to stay back in New England to “visit family”. Apparently he decided the best decision he could make was to let Moss go, and he reportedly informed the team of his decision this afternoon at the beginning of the team meeting.
Following the story on Twitter, the overall reaction seems to be that most people in Minnesota feel Childress did the right thing. The question here is, what does it all mean for the Patriots?
Despite being waived, there are too many factors that would likely keep Moss from returning to New England (PHOTO:Icon/SMI)
By waiving Moss, he’ll have to completely pass through waivers in order to become a free agent. The only problem will likely be that it gives another team an opportunity to claim him, and that will likely be the biggest challenge the veteran will face if he hopes to come back to Foxboro. By rule, Moss has to pass through waivers before becoming a free agent, and whatever team picks him up would be on the hook for the remainder of his 2010 salary. According to Jeremy Fowler, whatever team grabs him will still owe him $3.39 million for rest of season. Moss may dig in and say he’s not going to play for them – but whatever team opts to pick him up, they have the right to sit him down for the rest of the year whether he likes it or not.
That’s a problem, because Moss is somewhat handcuffed since he’s also trying to play for a new contract – which he never received after he landed in Minnesota. Sitting out won’t earn him anything, and he’s made it clear he’s concerned about his future with the impending lockout that could potentially keep there from being football next year. So the only way to get a new deal is to play – the only question is where.
According to Adam Schefter the teams likely to consider claiming Moss on waivers would be the Cowboys, Redskins, Rams, Bears, Dolphins, Raiders, Chiefs, Jets, and Patriots, with New England being the last team able to do so thanks to their record. Yesterday’s press conference made it pretty clear Moss really wants to return to New England – but unfortunately the situation is complicated.
You won’t get much out of Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, who was asked by the media about Moss, but said, “You can’t bait me into it. I can’t comment on anybody else’s players or transactions.”
One report had Miami as a team that could potentially claim him in order to block a potential return to New England, since at 4-3 they’re clearly still in the hunt for the division. The $3.39-million it may take to keep him off the field may be worth it – since anything they can do to keep the Patriots from getting better obviously makes sense. They know as well as anyone else that a receiving core that consists of Welker, Branch and Moss is about as dangerous as it gets for someone like Tom Brady, and it could be money they consider to be well spent – even if he decides not to play for them. It’s better than having him line up against them in January for what could be a key divisional game to finish the season.
Another possibility could be the Jets, who at 5-2 would give New York quite a player. Bob Glauber of Newsday tweeted that Rex Ryan wouldn’t comment on Moss, saying, “We really can’t talk about Randy Moss until he passes through the waiver wire. We’re not going to touch that one.” When asked again he reportedly reiterated, “”I’m not going to say one word.”
Needless to say it should be an interesting 24-hours to see how it all plays out. However as intriguing as it would be to have Moss back in the mix – it’s probably pretty unlikely.
So stay tuned….
UPDATE: Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune reports that the waiver wire is out, but Moss’ name isn’t on it – meaning the soonest he could hit the waiver wire would be Tuesday.