Wow, to be honest that the first thing I thought and it’s still what’s going through my mind when I think about the fact the San Francisco 49ers pulled the trigger and signed Randy Moss. When news of his visit hit this weekend I honestly didn’t even think it was worth putting forth the effort to talk about it here. Why bother I thought? The Niners won’t sign him, this is them gauging if he could be an option down the line if all other options to land a quality receiver fall through. But I shortly learned along with the rest of Niner land that I had misjudged Trent Baalke and Jim Harbaugh.
A million thoughts and a ton of possibilities, some great, some awful present themselves immediately with the 35 year old Moss now in the fold. Let’s take a look at what some of the thins Moss could mean to the 49ers.
Downside: Moss comes in and doesn’t exhibit the top end speed or skill necessary to be a star level receiver anymore. Randy Moss is not a player that can simply come in and be a #3 quality wideout for you. He’s not Jerry Rice at 35, he’s not going to come in and out work everybody and be a quality possession WR. He needs to burn people down the field and collect a big plays and make a big time impact as a polarizing figure in the offense. He needs to be a physical freak in the red zone. Moss is not a physical receiver, not a tough over the middle guy. To be successful, he needs to beat people, and at 35, after a year off following his worst year in the NFL. That’s a big leap of faith to make.
Downside: Moss could come in and do exactly what he did in his last season in the NFL. Turn everybody off in the organization leading to his early release. It happened in New England when the Pats shipped him back to Minnesota for a mid round pick. Within a few weeks the Vikings decided to cut ties with him and it hurt the organizations reputation in a big, public way. Then in Tennessee, he went in and wasn’t productive and was ultimately released. It’s easy to say that the 49ers have a strong locker room and a strong head coach, but so do the New England Patriots.
Upside: If the 49ers get the Randy Moss that plays with fire and up to his potential that’s half the battle. If he’s also able to contribute like the Moss of old at 35 years old, look out. The 49ers signed Moss to the same type of deal they signed Braylon Edwards to last year. Only Edwards did nothing for the team, became a distraction and was released. The 49ers offense is complicated, Vernon Davis admitted to not really understanding it until late last year. If Moss works hard on the field, in the weight/conditioning aspects and in film study, the 49ers have themselves a new, cheap, explosive weapon.
Worth the risk?: The biggest question here is, is Randy Moss worth the risk? I say although it’s a surprising move. And I didn’t see it coming, I trust the organization. It’s a low risk contract, and the team can ultimately cut him if it doesn’t work out for any reason. If Harbaugh believes his locker room is strong enough to handle Moss, then bring it on. The team must bring in another WR or two and cannot put all their eggs in Moss’ basket. As long as they do that, this will remain a low risk move that could pay off big in the end.