Randy Moss is going to the Tennessee Titans, who claimed the enigmatic wide receiver off waivers from the Minnesota Vikings. Since waiver priority is determined by the inverse order of the current standings, the 4-3 Miami Dolphins would have acquired Moss had they decided to put in a claim. Did the team make a big mistake by passing up the chance to feature two 2009 Pro Bowlers in a revamped vertical game?
There were plenty of reasons for Miami to pass on Moss, who can be the best player on the field if he’s motivated, and a head-case who doesn’t respect his teammates or coaches and carries far more baggage than he’s worth if he’s disinterested.
Despite playing for Bill Belichick, one of very few coaches who has earned Moss’s admiration, the wide receiver still found a ticket out of New England after questioning his role in the offense and getting into a spat about Tom Brady’s hair (I don’t actually think that last part is true, but it’s hilarious nonetheless).
Through his career, Moss has been repeatedly chastised for his lack of effort, failure to finish routes and make blocks, and an alarming attitude in the locker room that largely contributed to his release from Minnesota.
But hate him or love him, Moss is one of the most talented WRs in NFL history, and players of his caliber are hardly ever so readily available. He’s two and a half years removed from a season in which he recorded nearly 1,500 receiving yards and caught an NFL-record 23 touchdown passes. For his career, he ranks second in league history in TDs (153), fourth in receiving yards per game (76.6), fifth in total receiving yards (14,778), and eight in catches (948). Those skills didn’t suddenly diminish overnight.
Perhaps the Miami coaches didn’t think they could keep him happy in a run-first offense, or didn’t want to deal with the distractions and media circus that surrounds the outspoken and constantly unhappy Moss. But his off-putting personality aside, the Dolphins sure could’ve used him on the field.
The team ranks 25th in the league in passing plays of over 20 yards (17) with an anemic average of 6.7 yards per pass attempt. Miami hasn’t had a true deep threat (at least one who can catch the ball) in years, and Moss would’ve commanded double-teams and opened the field for Brandon Marshall — who publicly lobbied for the acquisition — and slot receiver Davone Bess.
It would’ve been a relatively low-risk and low-cost gamble for the Dolphins, since Moss is owed $3.388 million for the remainder of the season, the final year of his contract. Even he has to realize that at this point, no team would hesitate to cut him if he continues to exhibit an oversized ego and a poor attitude, and that he could find himself out of a job in the offseason if he burns yet another bridge.
The Dolphins could’ve gotten a playmaker whose talents could’ve single-handedly brought the division title back to South Beach. Instead, they’ll have to settle for seeing Moss catch passes only once this year, when the visiting Titans come to Miami on November 14.