Sports Illustrated has a story about Randy Moss’s newly discovered commitment to teamwork and practice. The 49ers believe that he’s a changed man and will be a model teammate.
Maybe. Moss has mixed results in new environments. He tanked in Oakland, but thrived in New England (at least for a while). The 49ers, though, don’t have the same kind of leadership that the Patriots had. Tom Brady is and was the unquestioned leader of the team, and Bill Belichick has never been the kind of coach who allows insubordination. San Francisco isn’t dysfunctional like the 2005 and 2006 Raiders, but adding the wrong player could change things. The 49ers had a good season last year — a few dumb plays separated them from a Super Bowl berth. But it’s not clear they can absorb Moss as well as the Pats did.
Still, it’s worth the risk. Randy Moss, by all accounts, is in good shape. Sure, he hasn’t played since 2010, he’s getting up there in years, and he seems to have lost a step — worrisome for a player who’s never been known as a versatile route runner. But he is still Randy Moss! He can stretch the field, he has exceptional length, and few receivers are as good around the ball. The 49ers don’t need him to be the same receiver who caught 23 touchdowns in 2007. Michael Crabtree, the 49ers’ top wide receiver last year, totaled only 874 receiving yards and four receiving TDs. (Tight end Vernon Davis led the team with six.) Even a 35-year-old Randy Moss can improve on that.
The only real question is: Will he behave himself?