Well, after taking a few days off to re-charge my batteries, I return to the stunning news that the Minnesota Vikings sent a 3rd round pick to the New England Patriots three weeks ago for, essentially, nothing. The particulars of that trade were a 3rd rounder from the Vikes to the Pats in exchange for All Pro wide receiver Randy Moss. Three weeks after that trade, which also saw some online 'fisticuffs' between this blog and currently suspended punter regarding the value of Randy Moss, the Vikings out-and-out cut the over-rated wideout today less than 24-hours after Moss had yet another bizarre exchange with the press.
The move has sent shock waves through the NFL. But, as amazing as this move was, I'm willing to bet it was cheered by a majority of NFL fans. Pro football is popular because of moves like these, reinforcing the idea that in the NFL, more than any other sport, there is the perception of instant accountability.
Act like a jerk? Cut.
Screw up in a game? Cut.
Piss off the fanbase? Cut.
In baseball (whose World Series ratings were crushed by an NFL regular season match-up between two non-division opponents last night), a player like Moss would be protected (see or Barry Bonds). In the NBA, coaches and GMs would have to throw their arms up in the air and simply tolerate the player's stupidity. Contracts in the NBA are guaranteed, meaning that if you cut a Randy Moss-type player, you still must pay him and he still counts against your cap.
In the NFL, contracts aren't guaranteed. NFL = Not. For. Long. It's a common and popular term used to describe a player's career with one team or within the league. Because so many NFL fans work in jobs that reward solely on your performance, the idea of a player getting paid millions of dollars to, essentially, sleep walk his way through a season is not a popular one. This is why baseball and basketball are dwarfed by the NFL.
Instant accountability. Play well, or you're gone.
All that said, the talk in Colt land today (other than the fact that we have A FRIGGIN GAME TONIGHT!) is 'Hey, why not make a claim for Moss?' Even NFL Network's Mike Lombardi suggested it would be a good idea.
After the jump, I provide reasons behind the cold hard truth that all of you know: Randy Moss has about as much a chance of joining the Colts as a wide receiver as I do. Maybe less.
On the surface, it makes sense of Indy to, at least, put in a claim for Moss even though he still has not appeared on the Monday waiver wire. Colts tight end Dallas Clark was, for all intents and purposes, the team's best deep threat. Clark can outrun many corners, let alone safeties and linebackers. Down the seam, Clark was a killer. With him gone, the Colts lose a player that demanded a double-team. If they got Moss, teams are then forced to double both Randy and Reggie Wayne, allowing players like Pierre Garcon, Austin Collie, and Anthony Gonzalez to rule the middle of the field. Hell, teams might be forced to play Indy in a base dime defense.
However, the reality with Moss is that he is a quitter. Has been his whole career. Time and time again, organizations have jettisoned him because he has not consistently given maximum effort during a season, let alone an off-season. When the Patriots sent him packing three weeks ago, the guy who practically owes his whole friggin career to a Moss double-team, Wes Welker, seemed to cheer the move.
Now, imagine a player like Peyton Manning, who is probably THE most demanding quarterback in football, having to deal with a 'prima donna' receiver like Moss. Again, the same Randy Moss who quits on routes. Who loses interest when the ball isn't throw to him. Who plays when he wants to.
Seriously, Peyton's head would f*cking explode the second Moss dogged a route that forced an incompletion.
Sure, as a situational player in certain packages, Moss would dramatically help the Colts offense. But, would he blend with Indy's style? Would he get along with Peyton? Would the team tolerate his antics?
No. No. And no.
IF the Colts were to put in a claim for Moss, and IF they acquired him, the move would absolutely need to be approved by Manning. If not, it would be a powder keg ready to explode. We've seen Manning lose his mind on the sidelines when he's disagreed with people who are his friends. Imagine him laying into Moss after he quits in a game.
Incidentally, it seems both Pat McAfee and I were wrong in our assessment of Randy Moss' value. Bill Belchick was right to ditch Randy for a third rounder. The Pats have been 3-0 since the trade, averaging 25 points per game and defeating the Ravens, Chargers, and Vikings in the process.