Just over six months ago, Randy Moss was a free agent. There was speculation that the Patriots would slap him with the franchise tag after a record-setting 2007 season that saw him haul in 98 Tom Brady balls for 1,493 yards, including 23 touchdowns. Instead, they let him test the market and Moss was apparently very close to signing with the Eagles.
In fact, according to the Boston Herald, he took less money to stay in New England to rejoin forces with Brady and Belichick, take care of some unfinished business, and any other clichés that seem appropriate here.
At the time, I applauded Moss for keeping his word, taking less money, and returning to the Patriots. It wasn't necessarily a tough decision -- playing with Tom Brady has to be the highlight of his up-and-down NFL career -- but a few million bucks can go a long way in changing someone's mind.
Now, though, with the benefit of the ol' time machine, I have to wonder if Moss regrets his decision. Again, I'm not blaming him -- just wondering if he's played the "what if" game since Brady went down in a heap eight minutes into the season. Hardly original, I know, but just something that crossed my mind as I watched Asante Samuel -- along with his 10 teammates -- shutdown the Pittsburgh Steelers yesterday afternoon.
Samuel left the Pats for a big payday in Philly, and so far, so good on that front. Meanwhile, Moss is still in New England, now hauling in passes from Matt Cassel. I'm pretty sure Bill Belichick didn't highlight this possibility as a selling point during contract negotiations.
This isn't to say the Patriots won't make the playoffs, or things won't be back to normal when Brady returns in 2009. But through three games, Donovan McNabb has looked sharp, even with a less-than-100-percent group of pass catchers. Don't get me wrong, Randy Moss ain't no Hank Baskett, but he's pretty good.