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New England Patriots Links 10/07/10 - All Moss All The Time

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.