The Patriots will receive a 2011 third-round draft pick in exchange for the seven-time Pro Bowl wide receiver, who started his NFL career with the Vikings in 1998. Had New England allowed Moss to leave in free agency next offseason, it would have received a third-round selection in the 2012 draft as compensation.
Moss, who’s in the final year of his current contract, is scheduled to make $6.4 million in base salary this season. He wants a new deal, but he wouldn’t receive one from the Vikings as part of the trade, Lombardi reported.
Moss lashed out after the Patriots’ season-opening 38-24 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals on Sept. 12, saying he felt unappreciated in New England because he hadn’t received a long-term contract. Moss also said waiting until after the season to do a deal would be “a smack in my face.”
“This is the last year of my contract. Nothing has been discussed. There’s not been anything said. Not a letter. Nothing,” Moss said last month. “I’m not saying that I want to stay here, but I love playing here. If the future of my job lets me go to another team, then that’s what it’s going to be. But for right now, I’m still in a contract for the New England Patriots, and I have a job to do.
“I don’t want to talk about contracts. I just want to let you all know that I’m here to play my last season out. If an opportunity later on in the season presents itself for me to be a New England Patriot, I will accept that. But if it doesn’t, I must move on.”
A first-round draft pick out of Marshall, Moss played in Minnesota from 1998 to 2004 and posted six 1,000-yard seasons. He was traded to the Oakland Raiders and had two mediocre seasons before being dealt to New England, where he enjoyed a resurgence. He caught an NFL-record 23 touchdown passes in 2007, his first season with the Patriots, and hasn’t had fewer than 1,000 receiving yards in a full season with the team.
In Minnesota Moss immediately energized a lagging Vikings franchise after he was drafted 21st overall in 1998. He averaged 19.0 yards per catch and hauled in 17 TD passes as a rookie to help the team reach the NFC Championship Game. His first season coincided with a string of sellouts that remains going to this day, and Vikings fans still wear Moss’ No. 84 jersey to the Metrodome, six years after he left.
The Vikings are scheduled to visit the Patriots on Oct. 31.