Due in large part to the cap penalty, the Redskins have decided to restructure the contract of wide receiver Santana Moss. I think it was a very important move to retain Moss given how much he has done for the team since arriving in 2005 and, more recently, what a solid target he was in Robert Griffin III‘s rookie season. If this team continues to move in the right direction, it will be fitting for Moss to play a key role in bringing a championship to Washington.
Moss has been a consistent offensive presence spanning three head coaches and countless turnover at the quarterback position. In his eight seasons in Washington, Moss has totaled over 500 catches for nearly 7,300 yards and scored 45 touchdowns. In almost every season, he was the primary receiver who garnered all the attention and game-planning, making his statistics even more impressive. Moss has already climbed into the top-ten on the Redskins all-time receiving list in a number of categories including receptions, yardage, and touchdowns.
A lot of things stick out about Moss’ tenure as a Redskin. He has been a consummate professional. Despite several seasons with less-than-stellar quarterback play or little support in the passing game, he stayed positive and brought his A-game to the field each and every weekend. He has been durable. Moss played five complete seasons so far and has missed only eight games over his three partial seasons. Finally, he continues to be explosive. During the seasons when the Redskins could protect a quarterback who was capable of looking down the field, Moss flourished with three 1,000 yard seasons and five seasons averaging 13+ yards per reception. Even in his reduced role out of the slot in 2012, he led the team in receiving touchdowns, including several long scoring plays.
Now, I want to get into a few accomplishments that will always endear the talented wide receiver to Redskins fans and that we hope to see continue in the coming years:
The 2005 season – During his first year on the team, Moss exploded onto the scene in 2005 and set the franchise record for single-season receiving yards with 1,483. He had five games with over 100 yards and had three multi-touchdown games, with his two most memorable games coming in key divisional wins. The first was in the season’s second game in Dallas. Trailing 13-0 late in the fourth quarter and still without a touchdown all year, the Redskins turned to Moss to lead them back. He caught a 39-yard touchdown pass on fourth down to get the Redskins on the board and then followed it up on the ensuing possession by hauling in a 70-yard bomb from Mark Brunell for the game-winning points. Somehow Moss outdid himself in the penultimate regular season game against the Giants. During a chilly Christmas Eve game at home, he scored three times (the last of which covered 72 yards) breaking open the game sealing the fourth of five straight wins to clinch a playoff spot.
Cowboy Killer – Moss always seemed to come up large against the Dallas Cowboys. He has more career wins, receptions, and yardage against Dallas than any other opponent. In 15 career games against Dallas (not even the equivalent of a full season) Moss has amassed statistics that any wide receiver would be proud to post over the course of a season – 84 catches, 1,189 yards, and seven touchdowns. In addition to the Midnight Miracle from the 2005 season, Moss also has had two huge games against the Cowboys in 2007 (going over 100 yards and scoring in each) and a big game in Dallas in 2008 (gaining 145 yards on eight receptions to contribute to an early-season road win). Most recently, Moss was on the receiving end of the Redskins’ fourth second-quarter touchdown in Dallas on Thanksgiving Day of 2012. His touchdown staked the Redskins to a 28-3 lead in an eventual 38-31 win that helped turn the team around from 3-6 to division champions.
Tribute to Sean Taylor – With heavy hearts and behind a backup quarterback, the 2007 Redskins went on an unlikely run to close out the season and gain a berth into the post-season. Some key players like Moss and Clinton Portis were particularly inspired to pay tribute to their fallen friend and teammate, Sean Taylor. Moss scored key touchdowns in the final two regular season games to get the Redskins into the playoffs. He also scored a go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter of the wild card game in Seattle. In an emotional moment, Moss flashed the deuce-one to the sky to pay tribute to Taylor. For many Redskin fans, that moment alone provided enough good feelings to overcome the disappointment of the eventual loss.
Moss’ Redskin legacy hasn’t been completely written just yet, but it is already guaranteed to be a great one. He’s going to be near the top of most receiving categories for a long time and has provided fans with countless explosive plays and lasting memories. Hopefully one final accomplishment, a Super Bowl title, is in the cards for Moss and the Redskins moving forward.
Do you like the move to keep Santana Moss? Do you think he’s a key piece to the championship equation in Washington?