So, if you're a football fan, you have likely been informed that the Patriots traded Randy Moss to the Vikings for a third-round pick in this year's draft. At face value, that seems a bit of a steal for the Vikings, considering Moss has had at least 1000 yards and 11 touchdowns each of the last three years. Oh, and there was that 23-touchdown season somewhere in there, and the next year Tom Brady was out for 97% of the season. Although, on the other side of the coin, the Patriots got him from the Raiders for a 4th round pick in 2007. In net transactions, the Patriots got 3 and a quarter years of top-5 receiver performance and all they had to give up was moving up in the draft. Oh, Bill Belichick...
But this all begs the question: Why, if Moss has been so excellent for the last few years and will probably be the second most productive receiver of all time, is he only commanding 3rd and 4th round picks?
In short, I have no idea. But you be the judge: here's his career in a nutshell.
1998: Moss was an absurdly talented wideout coming from a small school in Marshall who, despite having 3500 yards and 54 touchdowns in just two seasons (including bowl games), fell to the 21st pick in the draft because of concerns about his maturity as a result of being involved in various legal troubles as a teen. The most notable of teams that passed on him for these reasons was the Dallas Cowboys, who was Moss' favorite team and coveted him as well.
Moss (according to an NFL Network Top 10 episode) had the greatest rookie season of all time, racking up 1300 yards and 17 touchdowns for what was, at the time, the greatest scoring offense ever. This included a game against the Cowboys where he caught 3 passes for 163 yards, all for touchdowns. A little bit of motivation, maybe?
2005: (questionably) traded to the Raiders, of all teams, for a linebacker and first and seventh round picks. The first rounder turned out to be Troy Williamson. If half of you haven't heard of him, that should tell you something. He slumped through two seasons with the Raiders, bringing about questions about how much he had left in the tank.
2007: Moss is traded to the Patriots for a 4th round pick, despite interest from the Packers (and particularly Brett Favre-- more on that later). The Patriots go through the whole SpyGate fiasco, and through all that the Patriots decide to "stick it to the man" and put up the biggest aerial extravaganza we've ever seen, setting a new scoring record and individual records for touchdown passes (50 for Brady) and receiving touchdowns (23 for Moss). The highlight of that year, in my opinion, has to be the Sunday night game against the Bills in which he answered Terrell Owens' 4 touchdown performance earlier in the day with 4 touchdowns of his own: in the first half.
2010: Moss feels as if the Patriots are not giving him the respect he deserves for his performance over his tenure in New England (and who could argue with the numbers), and asks for a trade. He gets no catches in Week 4 against the Dolphins, and two days later gets traded to the Sidney-Rice-less Minnesota Vikings, quarterbacked by none other than Brett Favre, the guy that wanted him three years ago. Just imagine what Moss and Favre would have done in 2007, when Moss was playing out of his mind and Favre had one of his best years, getting the Packers to the NFC championship. Oh, and Moss is back on the Vikings, that too.
Life comes full circle, doesn't it?
Oh, and now that Moss is in Minnesota again, check out the next 4 games for the Vikings:
v. Jets-- Favre returns to play the Jets, who he un-retired to play with in 2008.
v. Cowboys-- Big-ticket teams playing each other, and there's that whole Randy Moss thing.
v. Packers-- Favre v. Packers, always a big game
v. Patriots-- wait, I thought Randy Moss was on the Patriots!