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Anthony Stalter
National Blogger

Anthony Stalter

Senior Sports Editor for The Scores Report

More Belichick brilliance


I'm thoroughly convinced Bill Belichick doesn't butter toast without first having a game plan.

The Randy Moss trade was an exercise in brilliance from the New England head coach. Some are saying that the Patriots didn't get enough in return or that they're going to drown without Moss taking attention away from Wes Welker and they may be right. But take a step back and appreciate what Belichick just did here.

Moss caught five passes for 59 yards in New England's 38-24 win over Cincinnati in the opener. Following the game, he said that he felt "smacked in the face" because the Patriots had yet to offer him a contract extension. A day later, he went on SportsCenter and said that he wasn't going to talk about his contract situation anymore because Belichick told him to, "watch what he says."

That should have been the first clue that Belichick was up to something. The past two games, Moss was targeted just four times and was held without a catch in the Pats' 41-14 victory against the Dolphins on Monday. Was it a coincidence that he was targeted just once in that game and then traded a day later to Minnesota? Maybe, but again, Belichick has a plan for everything.

But here's where the true brilliance comes in. The Pats acquired Moss from the Raiders for a fourth round pick in 2007. As part of the trade, they asked him to restructure his contract so that they can fit him under the salary cap, which he did. Three years later, they ship an older Moss to Minnesota for a third round pick.

Imagine buying a used car with a great engine and ripping off the dealer for it when it came to the price. The car only really needed a tune-up, which you gave it, and all of a sudden it ran like new again.

Three years later, you take the car to another dealer and instead of losing money on the deal, you actually get more back than what you paid for it. The car is still running fine, but it's starting to give you problems so you dump it on a new owner and still make a profit off it.

This is exactly what Belichick did here. He got Moss on discount because he had mentally checked out of Oakland. Then he traded him for more than he originally gave up to acquire him because Moss started complaining about his contract. (There's also a possibility that the Patriots weren't going to re-sign him to a new deal after the season.)

And what a perfect patsy the Vikings made. Minnesota is absolutely starved for receivers because its passing game over the first three weeks was about as effective as a wet blanket and Belichick knew that Brett Favre had begged Green Bay to acquire Moss the same year New England traded for him. Belichick knew that was the one team he could get at least a third rounder from and not worry about haggling about the price.

Will Moss make the Vikes a Super Bowl contender? Why not? Look at what Sidney Rice did for that offense last year. Moss can still play and now that he's motivated again (the key when it comes to his production), he'll work great with Lord Favre's just-chuck-it-up-and-let-the-receiver-make-a-play philosophy. As long as their defense continues to play well and Favre and AP stay healthy, yes, this team is a Super Bowl contender.

But the real story here is how Belichick received a third rounder for a receiver that had started to mentally check out again. And while special teams played an enormous role in the Pats' win on Monday night, something tells me Belichick already knows that he can get by with Welker and Brandon Tate, just as he did against the Dolphins. Plus, nobody does more with less than Brady, who never had a No. 1 receiver before Moss came along and he did just fine before.

The Pats may fall off a cliff and they may not. The defense will determine that - not Moss (or the absence of Moss, I should say). As long as Belichick is still in charge, they're going to have a chance to beat their opponent every week.

By Anthony Stalter  |  October 6, 2010; 2:33 PM ET  | Category:  Minnesota Vikings , New England Patriots Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Now or never for Vikes | Next: Desperation days


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If Bill Belichick pulls off another trade that does not destroy the chemistry of his team then the salute goes to him. The so called nothing is get rid of a complaining player out of the locker room. A team atmosphere all on the same page is necessary on the Belichick shift. That is how the Patriots have won lately.

Posted by: phjesuswarrior7 | October 8, 2010 4:54 PM

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