In contract year, expect Moss to play big

The Patriots shouldn’t be concerned with Randy Moss’ personal business matters when it comes to the firing of longtime agent Tom DiPiero or his search for new representation. That will have no effect on the 2010 season.

Instead, they should sit back and embrace the fact that the league’s top deep threat (something I will stand by until another receiver shows me that he can separate like Moss down the field) is playing in his contract year.

I do see Moss as a team player in that Patriots uniform and have always felt that landing in New England was the best move of his entire career. Playing with Tom Brady and adapting to the locker room of a Bill Belichick-coached team added multiple years — and numbers — to his career.

But, even in saying that, let’s all be honest when it comes to players — they want to get paid. And, they want to be talked about. Some deserve it and some bitch about it. However, the goal is the same. Moss will use this season as an audition for the Patriots and the rest of the league. If he continues to play at a high level in his 13th season as a pro, then we should expect him to see something in return as a free agent next offseason.

And, this is beneficial for New England. Brady will get a receiver who can run past any half-field safety in the league, and outside of the Jets’ Darrelle Revis and the Raiders’ Nnamdi Ashomugha, a player who should win the majority of the matchups he sees outside of the numbers.

Why wouldn’t you want that as an organization?

There has always been talk about Moss’ effort for a complete game and a complete season. We all know that, but I don’t see how that comes into play next season. Will he be around after 2010? Too early to speculate on that, but the Pats are preparing themselves for life after Randy. They drafted Taylor Price from Ohio in April and will have no issue with finding a replacement from the free-agent market or the 2011 draft — because that is how this franchise operates.

But, for this season, I expect Moss to play hard. I expect him to study and prepare like he is working out for teams as a rookie prior to the draft. He is still an ideal fit for what the Pats do on offense with their multiple personnel groupings and their vast collection of offensive packages. Still a “game plan” player at this stage of his career — a guy who forces defenses to adjust to wherever he is aligned on the field.

Does he have limitations at his age? Probably, but those “limitations” are still good enough to beat a defenders leverage and make a play down the field—because he is that good. We should expect him to produce big numbers. It is time to get paid again.

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