It’s time to hit on free agent wide receiver Randy Moss, Washington quarterback Jake Locker and the Patriots’ preseason schedule, which featured a very interesting quark.
1. There is plenty of speculation out there that the Jets might be interested in signing Moss, but take it all with a grain of salt. Until free agency begins and teams are legitimately allowed to speak with players, it’s tough to say for sure how much interest either side will have in a potential agreement.
2. It’s also no secret that Moss is coming off his worst season, and his performance in 2010 gave no indication that he can simply ramp it back up due to the motivation of a contract. He had different types of motivation in all three stops in 2010, and the slightest dent on a highlight reel would have made him an attractive free agent this offseason.
3. Because of that, I wouldn’t be the slightest bit surprised that the Jets’ “interest” was fabricated. One theory for their interest in Moss stemmed from keeping him out of New England.
4. But in this poker game, who’s to say the Jets aren’t expressing interest to push the Patriots toward re-signing Moss? The Jets aren’t stupid, and they know New England’s offense was far less effective in 2010 with Moss on the field.
5. And if the Jets’ interest in Moss is sincere, the Patriots should tip their caps and let him go to New York. His game doesn’t suit Mark Sanchez‘s strengths, and if the Jets are going to keep their success going in 2011, it will be with their rushing attack, not a newfound air-it-out approach on offense.
6. Moss had his chance to stick it to the Patriots last Halloween when he returned to Gillette Stadium with the Vikings, and he had one catch for eight yards. Obviously, the Patriots were hell bent on limiting Moss in that game, but so was nearly every other team that has lined up against Moss throughout his 13-year career. If he could still play at an elite level, he would have found a way to be more involved in that game.
7. Speaking of strange news, the Patriots reportedly hosted Locker for two days this week. Locker’s stock has been all over the place since January, but it’s looking more and more like he’ll be a mid-first-round pick.
8. It made some sense when they pulled out all the stops to host Tim Tebow last year, but Bill Belichick knew Tebow and has been friends with former Florida coach Urban Meyer. The Patriots might have interest in taking Tebow if someone didn’t overdraft him, but more than anything, that highly publicized visit seemed like a mirage to boost his draft stock.
9. On that note, I don’t think the Patriots are pulling anything similar with Locker. And even more, I don’t know why they’d show a bluff that they’d be interested in taking Locker. It doesn’t hurt to try, but I can’t imagine any teams would believe they’ve got interest in taking Locker at No. 17.
10. Then again, this could be to drive up the price of their 28th pick in a potential trade. It’s a weird gamble, though, because it seems very unlikely that Locker would fall that far. Even if Locker slid into the 20s, one of the quarterback-needy teams in the early second round will make a play to trade up and take him.
11. Of course, the Patriots could be interested in Locker as Brady’s successor, but it doesn’t make a lot of sense to use a first-round pick on a quarterback when Brady still has four seasons remaining on his current contract. And as I wrote in February, the Patriots don’t need to actively search for Brady’s replacement in the draft for at least another year or two.
12. So, the Locker visit is pretty hard to understand right now, but it should be easier to comprehend after the draft. At the very least, it will be easier to settle on one theory behind New England’s play.
13. Florida interior lineman Mike Pouncey hasn’t shied away from the spotlight throughout the pre-draft process, and Tuesday, he tweeted the top-six teams he hopes draft him. He didn’t specify whether or not his list was in any order of priority, but here’s the order they appeared on his account: Steelers, Patriots, Giants, Cowboys, Dolphins, Buccaneers.
14. Before Tuesday, Pouncey had already proclaimed he’d love to line up with his brother in Pittsburgh, but he’d be shocked if he wasn’t taken by the Cowboys, and he also wouldn’t mind playing in the Florida weather. His open stream of consciousness might be a little too much for the Patriots, who might prefer Baylor guard Danny Watkins if they had the choice between the two.
16. It was definitely interesting to read Bill Parcells’ comments about a variety of things Monday, most notably his reaction to drafting left tackle Jake Long over quarterback Matt Ryan in 2008. Long might be the best tackle in the league at this point, and he was definitely considered a safer pick over Ryan.
17. However, Ryan has become one of the brightest young quarterbacks in the league since he was the third pick in 2008. The Falcons had two losing seasons before drafting Ryan, but he has guided them to 33 victories and two playoff appearances since then. The Dolphins, meanwhile, have 25 victories and one playoff appearance since taking Long.
18. It was pretty amazing to see how much excitement there was over Tuesday’s release of the preseason schedule, but it’s extremely obvious that players, fans and media alike have all been craving actual football news.
19. One thing really stuck out about the schedule on NFL.com. 55 of the league’s 64 preseason games will be on Saturdays, which is a huge transition from past years when games have been spread throughout the week, though they’ve been concentrated on Thursdays. (I say, “according to NFL.com” because the individual teams announced a block of dates for each game, so I’m not completely sure if something got crossed up.)
20. Commissioner Roger Goodell has admitted a stark decline in preseason attendance — remember, that was his PR campaign for 18 regular-season games — so the move to Saturdays has got to be a way to try boosting attendance. It’s going to be tough for fans to spend that kind of money to see a preseason game anyway, but at least this would give them an option to go on a Saturday, rather than rushing out of work to see kickoff and then getting stuck in postgame traffic on a weeknight.