Randy Moss and deal with 49ers‎

Randy Moss’ return to the NFL is significant. Considering all the dominos that are about to fall around the league when free agency begins Tuesday at 4 p.m. E.T., Moss’ one-year deal with the San Francisco 49ers reveals a lot about the open NFL job market, and not just about the 49ers’ woeful passing game last season.
The acquisition of Moss is a clear indication of how critical wide receivers in the NFL have become, particularly ones who are tall. As Moss was wrapping up his incentive-laden deal with the 49ers, the New Orleans Saints were working feverishly to get Marques Colston signed to a new contract before he hits free agency.
Once free agency officially begins, look for Vincent Jackson to quickly sign a deal that could be worth in the area of 12 million dollars a year. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Chicago Bears and Buffalo Bills are all expected to make a serious push for Jackson, who would still like to stay in San Diego if the Chargers make a remotely reasonable offer. The Washington Redskins were expected to also be in the mix but it is unclear how much Monday’s salary cap penalty affects their free agency plans.
Last week, the Bills went out on a limb by re-signing wide receiver Stevie Johnson to a five-year deal that averaged more than 7 million dollars a year.
What do Moss, Colston, Jackson and Johnson have in common? Each is at least 6-foot-2.
Height and good hands can be found on the top four scoring teams in the NFL last season – New Orleans, the New England Patriots, Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions. The Saints had Colston and 6-foot-6 tight end Jimmy Graham. New England has 6-6 tight end Rob Gronkowski. Green Bay has 6-3 wide receiver Jordy Nelson and 6-5 tight end Jermichael Finley. The Lions have this guy nicknamed Megatron. Maybe you’ve heard of 6-5 Calvin Johnson.

Randy Moss and deal with 49ers
Randy Moss.

He’s 14 months removed from his final NFL game, he was traded and waived during a three-team odyssey in 2010, and he’s the oldest position player on his new team.
At 35, can Randy Moss still contribute? The 49ers believe he can, signing one of the greatest receivers in NFL history to a one-year contract Monday after Moss sat out the 2011 season in retirement. Financial terms were not disclosed.
During a 10-minute media conference call following his signing, Moss, whose work ethic and attitude have been questioned throughout his 13-year career, repeatedly invoked his love for football and desire to return to the NFL.
“I still love the game” – said Moss, who is tied for second in NFL history with 153 receiving touchdowns. “I still think I can play at a high level. I’m very passionate about the game of football.”
Moss clearly clicked with 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh, who picked up the six-time Pro Bowler at the airport Sunday and tossed him passes during a 15-minute workout at the team facility Monday morning.
Moss said he admired Harbaugh’s youthful enthusiasm. It’s a trait Harbaugh gave to the no-frills, team-first 49ers as they went 13-3 last season. Asked if he could fit into the 49ers’ culture, Moss said the team clearly had investigated his background.
Special-teams coordinator and assistant head coach Brad Seely might have served as one character witness. Seely and Moss were with the Patriots in 2007 and ’08.
“The thing about me being here is they’ve done their research on me” – Moss said. “And I think when it comes to the worldwide sports media, that I’ve gotten a bad rap. They’ve done their homework on me or they wouldn’t have brought me in here … One thing I would like the sports world to understand is the love and the passion that I have for the game of football.”


As the 49ers struggled throughout the 2011 season to find consistency at wide receiver, it’s hard to imagine anyone expected this to be the outcome. San Francisco signed Randy Moss to a one-year deal on Monday night, ending Moss’ brief retirement from the NFL.
“I really didn’t know who was going to try me out, who was going to hook me up” – Moss said during a conference call after the transaction was announced. “The organization here pulled the trigger.”
Will this work? Well, that depends on a number of factors, each more uncertain than the next:
- Does Moss have anything left in the tank? It’s not as if teams just forgot to sign the eccentric 35-year-old before he announced his (albeit short-lived) retirement prior to last season. His 2010 campaign was a mess, filled with disappointing stops in New England, Minnesota and Tennessee. All told, he caught just 28 passes and looked like a guy on his last legs.
- Who will throw him the football? The 49ers appear close to bringing back Alex Smith as their quarterback, but as of the time of Moss’ signing, nothing was finalized yet. Even if the ink gets on the dotted line for that deal, can Smith build off his surprising 2011 season or will he revert to the mistake-prone QB we saw before that?
- How will Jim Harbaugh adjust for Moss’ abilities? Part of the reason San Francisco made it to the NFC title game last season despite any legit threat at wide receiver — with a tip of the cap to tight end Vernon Davis and a stingy defense — was that Harbaugh’s offensive system is based on running the football and keeping things simple for the quarterback. Moss, though, is a guy who wants the ball in his hands and does his best work downfield.
If this all pans out, it could be a stroke of genius from the 49ers. The one-year contract not only means that Moss should be plenty motivated, it keeps the risk for San Francisco low. If Moss won’t toe the company line, the 49ers should be able to boot him without taking much of a hit.
The 49ers still could use another threat on the outside to combine with Moss and the very inconsistent Michael Crabtree. But Moss gives them the home-run threat they were lacking.
All that said, the 49ers took a similar shot last offseason by signing Braylon Edwards.

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