Monday, November 1, 2010
Randy Moss a Jet? Never say never
By Rich Cimini
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- If Mike Tannenbaum has proven anything in his tenure as the New York Jets' general manager, it's that he's not bashful about chasing big names -- LaDainian Tomlinson, Jason Taylor, Santonio Holmes. Go back a couple of years and there was Brett Favre.
What about Randy Moss? Don't rule it out.
As of late Monday afternoon, it appeared unlikely that the Jets would submit a claim for Moss, who could be placed on waivers as early as Tuesday by the Minnesota Vikings. But never say "never" with the Jets, who are on a Super Bowl-or-bust mission this season.
The usually candid Rex Ryan was cagey Monday when asked if the team has any interest in Moss.
"We really can't talk about Randy Moss until he passes through the waiver wire, so I'm not going to touch that one," said the Jets coach, alluding to tampering rules. "That's all you get right now because I can't comment on it."
In the past, Ryan has often referred to Moss as the "best vertical receiver in the league." Then again, Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis, a longtime nemesis of Moss, has called him a "slouch" because of the receiver's reputation for slacking off on plays.
If the Jets were to land Moss on waivers -- the chances would be slim because their 5-2 record puts them 30th on the waiver list -- it would turn their receiving corps into a sideshow. They already have former Pro Bowl wideout Braylon Edwards, former Super Bowl MVP Holmes and the reliable Jerricho Cotchery, Sunday's three-drop performance against the Green Bay Packers notwithstanding.
The Jets, coming off their first shutout loss in four years, are having enough trouble utilizing the current cast of characters, so imagine what it would be like with Moss on the team.
So why would they be interested? It could be to prevent Moss from returning to the New England Patriots, who lead the Jets by a game in the AFC East. The rivals face each other on Dec. 6 in what could be a battle for division supremacy.
The Jets' passing attack has slipped significantly in recent weeks, falling to 27th in the league rankings. On paper, the current receiving corps is loaded with talent, but Edwards, Cotchery and Holmes have combined for only 56 catches and five touchdowns. Of course, part of that can be attributed to inconsistent play by quarterback Mark Sanchez.
But if the Jets feel a player can help them, they will explore it. Tannenbaum checks into almost every big name who becomes available. In June and July, he performed due diligence on troubled quarterback JaMarcus Russell and wide receiver Terrell Owens.
When the passing game struggled for the first month of the 2009 season, the Jets made a trade for Edwards, formerly of the Cleveland Browns.
Imagine the ego massaging they'd have to do with Moss, Edwards, Holmes and Cotchery on the same team. After Sunday's 9-0 loss to the Packers, Edwards seemed frustrated by his role. He caught only one pass, declining after the game to speak with reporters.
Asked Monday to explain why he dodged the media, he explained:
"You're intense, you're emotional, you don't want to answer a question the wrong way or go off, something you wouldn't do if you're more calm, cool and collected. So I took [Sunday] to be with family and calm down."
Edwards was wide open for two potential long pass plays, but he wasn't spotted by Sanchez. Asked how it felt to be targeted only four times in the game, Edwards replied, "Was it that many?"
Rich Cimini covers the Jets for ESPNNewYork.com. Follow him on Twitter.