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Clock's ticking on Moss' deal too

Posted by Albert Breer  February 11, 2010 04:08 PM

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Our guy Christopher L. Gasper broached an interesting subject on the Web site today ... As everyone's attention is focused on the contract situations of Tom Brady and Vince Wilfork, Randy Moss is heading into a year in which his deal expires.

Moss signed a three-year, $27 million deal going into the 2008 season, and coming off his 23-touchdown year of 2007. He turns 33 on Saturday.

One reason to worry about the age thing? Moss has faded late in seasons ... Over last five years, Moss has had three 100-yard games in December, two of which came during that big 2007 season. The last time he went for triple-digits in a December game was that big Giants Saturday nighter at the end of '07 campaign.

On the flip side, it's not unprecedented that receivers continue to produce in their mid-30s. Terrell Owens turned 34 during the 2007 season, and had an enormous year for the Cowboys. I covered T.O. that year in Dallas, and wrote a story about how remarkable that production was for a receiver that age. Jerry Rice, Tim Brown, Marvin Harrison and Isaac Bruce also had big years at 34, though only Rice sustained that kind of production for long after that.

The uncertainty of the CBA will play into Moss' situation as well. In the past, a team could wait-and-see on a player like that, and use the franchise tag the next year if it needed to. But with the CBA expiring, and the union sure to fight for modifications to the rules surrounding the tag, that's no sure thing either.

Wes Welker's injury situation throws another variable into the matter, since the Patriots can't be completely sure of how quickly he'll return to action, or how effective he'll be when he comes back.

I'd expect some significant tweaking to the receiver position to come over the next few months. What will be very interesting is to see if the Patriots actively seek to find a long-term replacement for Moss, either through the draft or on the trade market, or if they look for complements to what they already have.
News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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