Should Seattle Claim Randy Moss?

Seattle is reportedly interested in claiming recently cut wide out Randy Moss. Thank you Cannonater for that link. Should the Seahawks claim Moss if he falls to them? It's a worthy question, especially in light of yesterday's offensive collapse and the Seahawks reported interest in Vincent Jackson, Brandon Marshall and Terrell Owens. Let's weigh the pros and cons.

Pros

Moss does not cost draft picks or future resources.

Minnesota cut Moss after trading a third round pick for him. He is now, apart from his $6.5 million salary, free. There is no league mandated salary cap, but we know that the Seahawks organization has set their own self-enforced cap. If Seattle has the room within their budget, it can sign Moss for no more than the asking.

Moss is a superstar wide receiver.

Moss is 33 and nearing 34, and his years as the best wide receiver in the NFL are probably over, but he is still one of the very best wide receivers in football. His speed, frame, ability to get away with offensive pass interference, ball skills and leaping ability force safety help deep. Anything but the very best corners in football are a liability matched one-on-one against Moss, and that ability to shift coverage schemes opens up underneath passing routes and the run game.

Seattle is competing for the NFC West.

The Seahawks sit atop the NFC West, but if they lose at home to the New York Giants, Seattle will fall into second place behind the St. Louis Rams. The Rams are 4-4 and own the tiebreaker. A player like Randy Moss could push Seattle over the top.

Claiming Moss allows Seattle to potentially re-sign or franchise Moss.

Claiming Moss gives Seattle the inside track to negotiate an extension, and if that's unfeasible, a chance to force Moss to stay through the franchise tag.

Claiming Moss and losing him in the off-season could lead to a valuable compensatory pick in 2012.

If Seattle does not re-sign and does not franchise Moss, he will sign with another team. Given that Moss should still command top dollar on the open market, the compensatory pick Seattle could regain could be as high as a third round pick.

Franchising Moss could lead to a trade.

If Seattle does franchise Moss but does not want to retain Moss, it could trade him for a draft pick. No team would be willing to spend the franchise price, but a second- or third-round pick, or some combination of picks, is entirely possible.

Cons

Seattle, as currently constructed, probably can not take advantage of Moss's ability.

Any one of Deon Butler, Mike Williams and Golden Tate could be a deep threat, but none have proven capable of stretching the field in this offense. Adding a player like Moss may be adding another capable receiver to an offense that needs everything but.

Moss is outspoken.

Moss earned his way off of the Vikings roster with a post-game, self-conducted interview in which he lauded his former teammates, coach and fans and criticized his current coach. It wasn't as twisted as it's been made out to be, but it was still the complete opposite of "buying in." If Moss signs with Seattle, and the Seahawks continue to field one of the worst passing offenses in the NFL, Moss will make noise. He will make people forget T.J. Houshmandzadeh very quickly.

Moss takes snaps away from younger players.

This is of questionable significance, because we do not know if Butler, Tate and Williams need regular season snaps to develop. However, unless he is retained, signing Moss helps Seattle this season but leaves the team rebuilding its offense next season.

Conclusion

Signing Moss is playing with fire. If, for instance, Matt Hasselbeck or the Seahawks offensive line are the true reasons Seattle is struggling so badly to pass the ball, Moss won't help much and won't be happy when his numbers plummet. He will complain, cause a media circus and perhaps force his ouster, as he did in Minnesota. In that scenario, Seattle is worse off for flirting with Moss. It hurts the team's chances in 2010, it removes any compensation Seattle might receive for him leaving as a free agent in 2011, and it becomes a black eye for Pete Carroll.

But signing Moss also has clear value, if Seattle can be sure Moss can succeed in this offense as constructed. Or, potentially, if the Seahawks think a shakeup of some sort, the return of Russell Okung or the substitution of Charlie Whitehurst for Matt Hasselbeck, can be enough for Moss to succeed in Seattle. In that scenario, Moss is both very valuable and very inexpensive for the 2010 Seahawks, and, potentially, the future of the Seahawks whether he's re-signed or not.

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