Patriots Coffee Talk 2/23: Bring Back Moss?

Welcome to Patriots Coffee Talk!  This is going to be an experimental feature that will go up each weekday morning at 6:00 AM.  Topics will have a wide range, but will bring up relevant Patriots issues and its goal will be to spark debate. So yap away! 

Today's topic is going to be a hotly debated one, and involves a very polarizing New England figure, former Patriots wide receiver Randy Moss.

As you know, the Patriots traded the disgruntled wide receiver away to the Vikings in October in return for a third round pick.  Moss' reunion with the Vikings was short lived, being waived due to a conflict with the head coach Brad Childress just a month after arriving.  Although there was a lot of speculation whether the Patriots would place a waiver claim on Moss (especially after some touchy post-game hugs and remarks following the Patriots 28-18 victory over Moss' Vikings), they ultimately didn't.  And it wouldn't have mattered, as Moss would be claimed by the Tennessee Titans.  In Tennessee, Moss wasn't used much.  In fact, once their number one receiver Kenny Britt returned to health, Moss barely stepped on the field.  In eight games with the Titans, Moss recorded just six catches for 80 yards, failing to register a single touchdown.

At 34, Moss is now headed for unrestricted free agency for the first time since signing a three year extension with the Patriots in the 2008 offseason.  Moss turned 34 just over a week ago, and it seems safe to say that his best days are behind him.  Nonetheless, if motivated, Moss can still be an elite player that can threaten downfield and take the top off the defense.  Naturally, because he arguably fits the deep-threat need that the Patriots have, some have wondered if Randy Moss and the Patriots could possibly reunite one final time.  Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com doesn't necessarily reject the idea:

If you're the Patriots, do you consider bringing Moss back? I go back and forth on the possibility. A one-year, short-leash type of deal in which Moss could complement the talent already on the roster sounds good. But then I wonder if there were more behind-the-scenes issues that led to his trade, and if those would come to the fore again.

Reiss later explains what he thinks it would take for Moss to come back:

He tells Bill Belichick he had it wrong last year, has a new outlook on what's important, and would accept a one-year salary at $2.2 million with incentives that could push it higher -- putting him in line with Wes Welker and Deion Branch. Is it likely to happen? Probably not, in part because it could block the development of younger receivers, but that's the thought I've been bouncing around in recent weeks.

Personally, I fall somewhere in the middle.  I would take the wait and see approach with Moss - play the waiting game.  If the Patriots don't pick up a receiver in the draft, and/or Taylor Price / Brandon Tate don't come along as quickly as the team hopes, then maybe the Patriots should revisit the idea in July.  I don't believe Moss will sign with any team quickly, and at a minimum, I think he will have to wait until the draft passes to sign.  I think Randy regrets asking to be traded from the Pats, and I think he would truly welcome a return to Foxboro.  That being said, I think the Patriots need to be careful.  But if Moss comes into a situation similar to 2007, where he has that "I'm here to prove the doubters wrong attitude," and the Patriots can find a way to work Moss into and not disrupt their newfound balance on offense, I don't necessarily see the downside to inquiring on Randy.

So what do you think?  If you were in the Patriots front office, would you consider bringing Randy back into the fold?

Until then, I'm gonna leave you guys with a salute... I love you guys, I miss y'all, I'm out.

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