2010 could be Moss’s last as a Patriot

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It’s certainly been a busy Monday in New England. Besides Vince Wilfork being hit with the franchise tag, Randy Moss indicated this weekend at a charity golf tournament that 2010 will probably be his final season as a Patriot. Here’s what Moss had to say:

I don’t think they are going to extend my contract here.

I understand the beast, the nature of it. I think that just with what I think and what I know I don’t think they’re going to re-sign me back. So, after this season if there is not a lockout I’ll be looking for a new team.  I got a lot of respect for the Patriots and what they did for me and my family. So, the only thing I can do is just play this year out and see what my future holds after that. ”

Why does Moss think that this is the end of the road in New England?

You know the Patriots don’t really pay, so when I got my second contract from them that was a blessing in disguise. I understand the business. I don’t think they’re going to re-sign me back. I’m not mad. I’m not bitter. It’s just the way things are in this NFL, so like I said after this year I’ll be looking for a new team. I think so.”

Therein lies part of the problem that we’ve seen come up recently with players like Asante Samuel, Daniel Graham, Jabar Gaffney, etc.: there’s a perception, real or not, that the Patriots will not pay to keep their players. Or maybe even sign new ones for that matter. Now, I’m not advocating that the Pats suddenly become Dan Snyder or Al Davis and spend like money like Congressman, but they do need to kill the perception that they won’t take care of their own. They can start off with re-signing Vince Wilfork to a long-term deal.

What possibilities exist for the Patriots and Randy Moss?

  1. The Patriots can simply let Randy Moss play out the last year of his contract and let him walk after this season, as Moss anticipates is going to happen.
  2. The Patriots see how Randy plays this season and if he plays like the 2007 Randy Moss, then try to re-sign him to another deal.
  3. The Patriots trade Randy Moss before the season starts to get some compensation for losing him and free up money to sign other players, a la the Richard Seymour trade. This seems like the least-likely path that they’ll take because if Moss goes, the Pats need to make sure they have quality replacements, or they will waste another year of Tom Brady’s career, not to mention make Brady a very unhappy camper. The only way I see this happening is if they sign some quality wide-outs or make a blockbuster trade, like trading for RFA Vincent Jackson or Anquan Boldin. Otherwise, it will be rough goings with no Welker to start the season, and it probably won’t get much better when he returns.

What was already a very interesting and important offseason just added another storyline. What IS Moss’s future in New England? My guess is option #2. I don’t think that the Pats will let Moss go if he has a great year, especially if they plan on keeping Brady happy.