He probably didn't mean to, but Bill Belichick kiiiiiind of insulted the hell out of his buddy Randy Moss on Tuesday.
Finally addressing the signing of Antonio Brown on a conference call, Belichick shot back when Tom. E Curran mentioned how disruptive Brown had been in Pittsburgh and Oakland.
"It's the same thing you guys said about Randy Moss when we brought him in," Belichick responded.
And maybe that's true. Moss was disruptive in his previous stops and, behaviorally, was viewed as a risk. Questions were probably raised, but that was in 2007, before we knew about Antonio Brown. If Antonio Brown was in the league pulling his shenanigans when the Patriots traded for Moss, the commentary would probably be, "this Moss guy's a pain in the ass, but at least he's no Antonio Brown."
Moss was a reclamation project when the Pats got him. They gave up a fourth-round pick, tore up his contract and paid him peanuts ($2.5 million with a $500,000 roster bonus) to prove he could still do it. He had the "checkered past" of bouncing around colleges and run-ins with the law, had faux-mooned a stadium, admitted to smoking weed and said "straight cash, homie." He gave up on a bad Oakland team, giving him plummeting statistics and earning him the "quitter" label.
The two things to keep in mind here are that Moss came cheaper (yeah, it cost the extra fourth-rounder they had that year, but the dough was minimal), and there was never the feeling with Moss that they were giving a lot of responsibility to someone whose psyche and actions were wholly unpredictable.
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That second one is where Moss should be offended. He wasn't threatening to punch his GM one day, apologizing the next and then claiming persecution upon being punished. He sure as hell wasn't recording his coach and posting it on YouTube. He didn't do any of these things, and he sure as hell didn't do them right after joining the team and receiving a three-year, $50.12 million contract. Moss' actions left observers shaking their heads. Brown's leave me with concern as to whether the guy is of sound mind.
And that's not an insult to Brown, it's merely an illustration of the difference between a diva receiver of yesteryear and a player who has time and again come up with new ways to burden their team.
The Patriots are guaranteeing Brown $10 million, with the contract also carrying $5 million in not-likely-to-be-earned incentives. That's not a flier. That's a real commitment.
The big thing that Brown has going for him relative to Moss is that he's coming with fewer questions as to what he has in the tank. Brown has been an All-Pro in four of his past five seasons (each season from 2014 through 2017). Moss hadn't been an All-Pro for three seasons when the Pats acquired him, and his 13-game, 553-yard age 29 season in Oakland warranted questions as to whether he was still a great player.
Unless that cryotherapy machine did worse than we thought, there is no question as to what Brown can do on the field; he's one of the best receivers in the league any way you slice it.
So while some (I just threw out my shoulder raising my hand) wouldn't have considered signing Brown, the reasons from a football standpoint are obvious.
But the unpredictability of the person is real. To compare Brown to Moss is misguided at best and disingenuous at worst.
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