Mike Reiss says the only explanation for the Moss deal is that Belichick knew a bomb was ticking.
Successful football coaches don't just lead their teams through periods of crisis. They also anticipate when those crises might arise and react accordingly. That might best explain why New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick traded receiver Randy Moss to the Minnesota Vikings on Wednesday.
He had to sense trouble brewing.
It is the only plausible explanation for accepting the bargain-basement price of a 2011 third-round draft choice in exchange for Moss, and even throwing in a 2012 seventh-round draft choice to the Vikings as a sweetener.
In most deals, Belichick talks about the value the team receives in return, but that's not what this one appears to be about. This looks more like a situation in which Belichick saw the potential for a volcanic-type disruption, so he took the best deal possible while strategically keeping Moss out of the AFC.
The hope entering the season was that a motivated Moss in the final season of his contract would produce just that, but it seemed as if the future uncertainty distracted him more than it motivated him, the defining moment coming during his rambling contract-related news conference following the season-opening win over the Bengals. Coupled with New England's revamped offense that has spread the ball around more evenly and featured more multiple tight-end packages, it was a mix that had the potential to turn toxic.
Belichick had to sense that, and with the team on its bye week and the trade deadline approaching Oct. 19, this was the window of opportunity to strike a deal.
In the end, it appears as if Belichick assessed the risk of keeping Moss as greater than the potential reward. So he took what he could get and sent him on one final deep route -- straight to Minnesota.
Jackie MacMullan writes Randy Moss could've, should've and would've but won't, thanks to his ego.
It didn't have to end this way, but then, that's what we always say when Moss changes zip codes.
When Randy Moss looks in the mirror, he only sees one thing: a gifted athlete who is better than all the rest, who deserves to be pampered, praised and yes, above all, paid. It's apparent his gaze into that mirror is unwavering; why else would he force the hand of a football team that rebuilt his image, had his back (at least publicly) and featured him in tandem with one of the best quarterbacks of all time? His near obsession with his contract became the ultimate distraction, one he simply could not or would not overcome.
- The New England Patriots announced the trade of WR Randy Moss to the Minnesota Vikings for an undisclosed draft choice.
- Paul Perillo breaks down the Moss to Minnesota deal.
- Ask PFW: Moss trade fallout.
- Patriots Today - Moss moves on to Minnesota. (3.41 min. video)
- Belichick Breakdown: Patriots at Dolphins. (3.10 min. video)
- Patriots Today - Coach Belichick on Patriots Monday. (2.53 min. video)
- PFW in Progress - Week 5 Edition. The Randy Moss Trade, Monday night's win over Miami and more. (2:1:20)
- Patriots Playbook - Week 5 Edition. (1:58:18 min. audio)
- Karen Guregian points to a rift between Randy Moss and ownership that ultimately caused the trade.
- Shalise Manza Young says the Patriots offense will now be about ditching the long ball in favor of the ball-control, game-management offense at which Brady excels.
- Karen Guregian reports the national 'experts' feel the Patriots offense will lose its bite without Moss.
- Ian Rapoport shares some tidbits regarding Randy Moss' reaction to being traded, from a close friend who was with him.
- Dan Shaughnessy hates the trade and sees it as one more example of Belichick's arrogant assumption that his system is more important than the talent.
- Ron Borges piles on the criticism of Belichick's decisions to not only let Moss go, but others like Ty Law, Asante Samuel and Richard Seymour that have hurt the team's chances of winning.
- Mike Reiss offers a few interesting notes and statistical tidbits on Randy Moss.
- Tom E. Curran says the Moss trade was business, not personal.
- Tom E. Curran examines how do the Patriots improve with the trade of Moss?
- Tom E. Curran notes Jerod Mayo says the team will adjust to being without Randy Moss.
- Troy Brown: Moss move a 'win-win'.
- Monique Walker looks at the receivers left behind.
- Karen Guregian notes ESPN analyst Cris Carter asserts the Patriots "absolutely [do] not" have a championship offense without Randy Moss.
- Monique Walker says Moss was right, this was his last year in a Patriots uniform.
- WEEI mentions the surprising decision to shut Patrick Chung out of the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors.
- Shalise Manza Young updates us on the Patriots schedule for the rest of the week and offers a quick stat-check of where the Pats stand.
- Ian Rapoport reports the Patriots filled the 53rd roster spot by re-signing OL Quinn Ojinnaka. They also signed QB Brett Ratliff to the practice squad.
- Matt Kakley notes that Patriots fans have not only experienced disbelief, but also the urge to buy up all the Randy Moss merchandise remaining at the team's Pro Shop.
- Tedy Bruschi (ESPN) Patriots better without Moss. (4.03 min. video)
- Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) Rodney Harrison reacts to Moss' departure from New England.
- Don Banks (SI) Breaking down the blockbuster Moss trade from every angle.
- Dan Graziano (NFL Fanhouse) Randy Moss trade a big-picture deal for Patriots, not a 2010 white flag.
- Jason La Canfora (NFL.com) Belichick knows exactly what he's doing by trading Moss.
- Michael Lombardi (NFL.com) Patriots aren't giving up on season.
- Kerry J. Byrne (SI) Trading Moss doesn't make Patriots better, but then again ...
- Tim Graham (ESPN) Patriots' O moved away from Randy Moss.
- Clifton Brown (Sporting News) Patriots move on without Moss.
- Danny O'Neil (The Seattle Times) Deion Branch-to-Patriots talk heats up. Again.
- Judy Battista (NY Times) Patriots trade Randy Moss back to Vikings.
- Vic Carucci (NFL.com) Belichick's gamble leaves contending Patriots short on talent.
- Peter King (SI) With receiving corps in shambles, Vikings had to make this deal.
- Rich Cimini (ESPNNY) Darrelle Revis: Randy Moss let up in Week 2 game against Jets.
- Andrew Brandt (Nat'l Football Post) Back to the future. Moss returns to Vikings, and guess who's there?
- Sean Leahy (USA Today) Analysis: How does the Randy Moss trade change the Patriots and Vikings?
- Tim Graham (ESPN) Something amiss with Randy Moss trade.
- Andy Kent (NFL Fanhouse) Randy Moss reportedly had altercation with Patriots' QB coach Monday.
- Tim Graham (ESPN) How I see it: AFC East Stock Watch.
- Eric Edholm (Pro Football Weekly) Patriots' Price could benefit from Moss trade.
- Steve Wyche (NFL.com) Moss trade changes dynamics of Vikes, Pats and NFC North.
- Sean Leahy (USA Today) Steelers are glad to see Randy Moss leave the AFC.
- Jason Whitlock (Fox Sports) Moss trade reeks of desperation.
- Pat Kirwan (NFL.com) While some QBs chase history, offensive balance has its place.
- Vinnie Iyer (Sporting News) Putting the special back in teams.
- Alex Marvez (Fox Sports) NFL quarterly report: Surprises, disappointments and parity.
NFL Total Access Top 10 plays from Week 4. (2.39 min. video) Patriots special teams number 7. Behind LaDainian Tomlinson??? Really???