As it turns out, there are some negative things for having the best record in the NFL.
The New England Patriots are 6-1 and hold the NFL’s best record, but with their success comes one minor consequence: they’re the last team allowed to claim players on waivers.
So with both Randy Moss and Shawne Merriman on waivers, deemed expendable by both of their teams, do the Patriots have any interest in claiming these players?
Lets face it, Deion Branch isn’t walking through that door (I mean the 2005 version) and his aggravated hamstring has him looking a little more like Joey Galloway everyday. Brandon Tate has yet to prove himself as a reliable down-field threat even though it looks like he has the speed and abilities to do so. Wouldn’t bringing back a guy who knows the system, runs the deep routes, and helps free up the other wide receivers, make sense?
Eh, you can’t be certain when talking about Moss.
In all likelihood, some struggling team will take a flyer on Moss and sign him to a reasonable contract (since the Vikings will be on the hook for his original 2010 salary). The Patriots may shy away from re-acquiring Moss because facts are facts, the Pats are 3-0 without him and the team is looking more and more like its 2001-05 version of itself, then its 2008-09 form.
While eliminating the chance at one headache (in Moss) and major storyline, ignoring Merriman and his availability would be a mistake.
Once one of the most feared defensive players in the NFL, Merriman has been hit hard by the injury bug in the past few seasons, preventing him from unleashing his hard-hitting “lights out” style of defense on opponents. Now deemed healthy by the San Diego Chargers and thanked with a kick out of the door, Merriman will be hungry and eager to prove critics that his once illustrious career is far(ve) from over.
Although the opportunity of snatching Merriman off of waivers seems unrealistic, if the player does clear waivers, feelings from the Patriots and Merrima may be mutual. Although the level of play from Jermaine Cunnigham and Rob Ninkovich has stepped up significantly in recent weeks, Merriman would provide an upgrade of knowledge and reliability to an area of weakness on the young Patriots defensive core.
A spark plug to the pass rush may be all the New England Patriots need to improve on their 6-1 record and wreak havoc on its relatively weak second-half schedule.
That and possibly a deep-threat wide receiver. But we’ve already been down that road before.
It may turn out that it is good to be 6-1. The Patriots won’t be able to claim both Merriman or Moss of waivers, signaling that maybe there aren’t really any negatives that come along with being the best team in the NFL.