Because Moss hasn't played a single down since the 2010 season — when he had the worst statistical year of his career — and hasn't been productive since 2009, it's impossible to know what he's got left in his legs. Sure, reports have indicated Moss looked great at his workouts, but that stuff is typically closer to propaganda than the truth.
There are some reasons why it could work, and it has nothing to do with the contract, which is reportedly worth about $4 million without a single guaranteed dollar. Of course, if things go poorly, the Niners can release him without any financial repercussions. But if Moss becomes a malcontent midway through the season — or worse, late in the season — the damage to team chemistry could be crippling.
Anyway, 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh is a terrific offensive mind who developed quarterback Andrew Luck at Stanford and then gave a big boost to quarterback Alex Smith last season in San Francisco. The 49ers' offense is still a work in progress, but then again, they were thin in 2011 from a receiver standpoint.
The biggest knock on Moss has always been about effort, and his track record indicates that will be an issue — to whatever extent — at some point in 2012. Yet, Harbaugh is an excitable, rah-rah coach who can get the most out of his guys, so that burst of energy might be what Moss needs to stay sharp in San Francisco.
The potential downfall has been well-documented for years, and there should be one area of concern with the 49ers. One of the big knocks with their two most potent passing weapons — tight end Vernon Davis and wide receiver Michael Crabtree — has been on-field discipline. Since Davis and Crabtree are still young enough to be impressionable to a future Hall of Famer like Moss, there's potential for that problem to worsen.
But really, it's all up to Moss — as it's always been, and was in 2010 with the Patriots, Vikings and Titans. If there's enough drive and talent remaining, it could work with the 49ers, but again, the question mark lies in Moss' dedication to return to greatness.