The Green Bay Packers are on the verge of getting Oakland Raiders wide receiver Randy Moss, the Boston Herald reported Thursday.
The Herald said Green Bay would be giving up backup quarterback Aaron Rodgers to Oakland, citing a source. Green Bay also would exchange a seventh-round pick in 2008 and would get Raiders tight end Courtney Anderson as part of the deal.
The Herald said Moss has agreed to restructure his contract, which would pay him $20 million in base salary for the next two years.
The Green Bay Press Gazette reported that Packers chairman and CEO Bob Harlan said that the trade was not imminent.
“If (a trade) was that close, (Packers general manager Ted Thompson) would have called us by now,” Harlan said, according to the Gazette.
Even fans who own shares of Green Bay Packers stock don’t have veto power over a potential trade for Moss, seen here as a touchdown-scoring scoundrel. But if they could, they would.
When the widely rumored trade was brought up in front of a crowd at the Packers’ annual Fan Fest at Lambeau Field on Friday evening, boos and hisses drowned out any timid cheers.
In keeping with Thompson’s close-to-the-vest philosophy, he hasn’t officially acknowledged that he is exploring a trade for Moss — which is fine, because the Oakland Raiders haven’t said that they’re bent on trading the talented but moody former Pro Bowl wide receiver.
But Packers chairman and Harlan hinted strongly on Friday that the Packers’ front office is going through the same sort of character risk-versus-reward debate they did before signing former Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Koren Robinson last fall.
And Harlan says fans who have called his office to weigh in on Moss generally don’t like the idea of trading for a receiver who might be past his prime, might be playing his way out of a second NFL city because of his questionable attitude — and, by the way, once pretended to “moon” the fans at Lambeau after scoring a touchdown.
“I don’t want to say it’s been overwhelming, but there have been a few fans who (complained),” Harlan said. “And the thing they basically say to me is, “You guys have so much class. Don’t lose class now.”’
Harlan, who is retiring in May, said he is very concerned about maintaining the team’s image. And those concerns will play a role in whether the team pushes ahead toward a trade.
“I’ve had fans call me and say, ’Bob, I’d rather see you go 0-16 than do some things that were done here in the ’80s,”’ Harlan said. “And believe me, I’m as concerned about the image of this franchise as anybody, and will be years from now. It’s not just because I’m leaving. I’m very concerned about how we look next year and the year after that. So we’re going to be cautious.”
Harlan said the team had extensive discussions last year before signing Robinson, who is serving a suspension under the NFL’s substance abuse policy. In February, Robinson was sentenced to 90 days in jail for fleeing police in Minnesota last August.
The nation grieved for those hurt, killed and affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. After one of the suspects was caught on Friday — following a day-long lockdown and manhunt — sports returned to Boston over the weekend.
“Ted talked to me about Koren Robinson, and I have to admit that at the beginning I was concerned,” Harlan said. “And I think the thing that swayed me was the fact that Ted said he worked with the young man, he was a good person, and if he made one more mistake he wouldn’t be here. And Ted understands how our fans feel about baggage.”
But, of course, making such judgments are nothing new for any NFL team. Harlan said that under former general manager Ron Wolf and former coach Mike Holmgren, the team talked regularly about the “baggage” any potential acquisition might bring to the team.
“As Ron used to say, where do you hide him in Green Bay? And you don’t,” Harlan said. “And players have to understand that. I even talk to coaches about that. You’re very visible in this community. You represent this organization day and night. Watch what you do. So we’ll talk about it.”
Thing is, Wolf seems to think Moss is worth the risk.
Wolf, who was in attendance at the fan fest on Friday, said that Thompson should do the deal if he is comfortable with the information he has on Moss.
“You have to know what you’re getting, but if he can help you win, there’s no question that you go after him,” Wolf said. “Guys like Randy Moss don’t walk down the street every day. You cannot discount that. From the time he took the field for Minnesota, he was a Packer killer.”
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