The Vikings traded a third rounder to the Patriots for Randy Moss today, a move so stunning I still can’t believe it actually happened. Even the way the news broke was strange, with ESPN writer Bill Simmons tweeting the news by accident, only to have it turn into a real rumor, then finally reality.
Let’s get down to brass tacks: This trade is bad for both teams. The Vikings just traded away a nice pick for an old wideout who isn’t under contract beyond this season, and is unlikely to stick around if Brett Favre decides to finally retire (yes, yes, yes, we know the drill by now). They could have used that same pick a couple weeks ago to acquire Vincent Jackson from San Diego, who would have had to sit out the Monday Night game against the Jets before being cleared to return. Jackson is younger than Moss (but not better) and would have made more sense as a possible long-term investment.
The Vikings next four games are against the Jets, Cowboys, Packers, and Patriots. It’s clear that they didn’t think they could survive this stretch without a top tier wideout in the fold, since Sidney Rice won’t be available until around Week 9 or so. Essentially, they traded a third rounder to rent Moss for these four games. Player rentals never happen in the NFL, the way they do in baseball. And the reason they never happen is because they are stupid.
Brett Favre has always wanted to play with Moss, and vice versa, so this trade is clearly a ploy by the Vikings to keep Favre happy as he plays out this final year. They look more desperate with this trade than Sean Young in a Catwoman suit. They aren’t going to hand Moss an extension, because they’ve already sworn off all extensions this year (Rice, Chad Greenway, etc.) for one last shot at a title for Bretty Boy.
But here’s the thing: The Vikings have NO shot at winning that title. None. Favre is playing terribly. Perhaps Moss will give him a shot of energy, but Moss can’t pass block, and Favre has wilted under pressure this year. Why would you keep placating Favre when he’s playing so horribly?
And Brad Childress is their coach. Childress stinks, and they could stock this team with 40 Hall of Famers and he’d still screw it up. And once this season is over, the Vikings will be forced to start over at QB and numerous other positions (most notably OL, DT, and safety) without the benefit of that pick. They’ve auctioned off the future for a present that I just don’t think is very promising, Moss or not.
Now, for the Patriots. Maybe they’ll flip the pick for Vincent Jackson. You’ll feel the smugness coming all the way from Boston if that happens. But if they don’t, this offense just lost its best weapon, with nothing immediately to show for it. Tom Brady will suffer. Wes Welker will suffer. Whatever stiff they toss in at running back will suffer. Moss stretches defenses and opens up the rest of the field for everyone else. That’s gone now. Yeah, Moss was unhappy. But when is Randy Moss EVER happy? Have you ever seen Randy Moss jump for joy? That isn’t how he is. When you get Randy Moss, you get big plays and big frowns. That’s how it works.
The Moss trade is essentially the Pats way of saying that they don’t believe in their defense and that this season is a writeoff. Which is INSANE, because anything can happen during the course of a season, and the Pats were 3-1 in a wide-open AFC. They easily could have won the title this year. With Moss gone, that’s far less likely. I don’t get the reasoning for it at all.
This trade kills the Pats in the short term, and it kills the Vikings in the long term. It won’t be long until we find out if either sacrifice was worth it.