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Randy Moss broke his self-imposed code of silence on Monday in a big way. Though promises had been made that the wideout would speak to the media after Sunday’s season-opener, Moss unloaded a heap of grievances on CBSSports.com’s William Bendetson. Moss most recently signed a three-year $27 million contract with the Patriots following the 2007 season, in which he broke Jerry Rice’s record of touchdown receptions in a season with 23.
“When you have done so much and put so much work in, it kind of feels like I am not wanted,” Moss said.
As has been widely reported, the Patriots already have their plate full with quarterback Tom Brady’s contract situation. As of Tuesday morning, Brady is reported close to a deal, but nothing is confirmed. To say Moss is Brady’s favorite target is an understatement, as both only realized their full potential once united in that record-shattering season of 2007. The Patriots have always been team-first during the Bill Belichick era, but if any one player stands above all, it is Brady. Moss may have been wise to take a wait-and-see approach once Brady’s contract gets formally addressed. Moss is scheduled a base salary of $6.4 million in 2010, highest on the team.
As for how he’s dealing with the implied snub, Moss said, “I am taking that in stride and playing my final year out and whatever the future holds is what it holds, but it is kind of bad feeling – feeling not wanted.” Sensational headlines aside, this really is small potatoes when considering the NFL’s wacky collective bargaining agreement. Without guaranteed contracts, players rarely receive extensions prior to free agency, especially those players north of age 30. “I am a little older and understand the nature of the business,” he said. Part of his understanding probably included Tuesday’s leveraging statements.
Moss has often hinted that this will be his final season in New England, and he’s probably correct. None of Belichick’s past history indicates that he’s in the business of overpaying for aging players, Hall-of-Fame-bound or not. But with reports that Moss looks as fast and talented as ever, Patriots fans may be in for a real treat as this season could turn out to be a showcase for the contract-seeking veteran. With this his last chance at a final and sizable payday, Moss would be remiss in any attempts at playing disgruntled, a la his days with the Oakland Raiders. The Patriot organization doesn’t kowtow to anybody, and any tantrums will be ignored anyway.
As it stands, Moss may be unhappy but it is the Patriots who are securely in the driver’s seat. The only way Moss can ensure a big payday is to make big plays on game day. With 47 touchdowns in three seasons in New England, making the big play is hardly the concern.