Back in 2007, the Packers and Raiders reportedly considered a trade that would have significantly altered recent NFL history.
ESPN‘s Bill Barnwell wrote a long piece about the 2007 New England Patriots, perhaps the greatest non-Super Bowl winning team in NFL history.
Superstar wide receiver Randy Moss revitalized his career as a Patriot that season, with an astounding 1,493-yard, 23 touchdown campaign. His previous two seasons were spent languishing with the Oakland Raiders, after a magnificent seven-year run with the Minnesota Vikings.
The Patriots acquired Moss, one of the greatest players of a generation, for a fourth round pick. One can assume that a number of other teams had the same opportunity, including another one of the 2007’s top teams: the Green Bay Packers. The team reportedly considered taking Moss to pair with Brett Favre, a move that might have put Green Bay over the top. The Packers lost to the New York Giants in the NFC Championship that season.
Of course, that doesn’t mean the Packers were looking to spend a third rounder to get the future Hall of Famer. According to Barnwell’s piece, the team was close to sending a future Hall of Famer of their own, albeit one whose ability was not yet known: quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Moss’ reputation was in tatters heading into the 2004 offseason, and while writers who weren’t exactly diving into Raiders game tape were suggesting that Moss had lost a step or two, two teams seemed particularly interested in acquiring Moss.
One was the Green Bay Packers, whose fans Moss had pantomimed mooning in 2005. (That this was a response to Green Bay fans’ actually mooning Moss and the opposing teams was left unsaid at the time.) Rumors linked Moss to the Packers throughout February and March, and the player who was reportedly heading to Oakland in return for Moss ended up piecing together a decent career for himself. Both Pro Football Talk and Michael Felger of the Boston Herald suggested that the Packers were ready to swap then-backup quarterback Aaron Rodgers as part of a deal for Moss, with Felger suggesting on March 15 that the trade was “on the verge of being announced.”
Barnwell had previously tweeted about this near-trade back in 2014.
Great trade rumors of the 21st century. pic.twitter.com/xcYCHE6c3U
— Bill Barnwell (@billbarnwell) September 4, 2014
Of course, the Packers deny that the trade was in place, and given the lack of value that Moss had at the time, it seems plausible. Rodgers had not yet played meaningful snaps, but the franchise thought enough of him to draft him in the first round of the 2005 NFL Draft without a glaring need at quarterback, as Favre was still playing good ball. A year later, the team called Favre’s annual retirement bluff, handing the reins over to Rodgers.
With Moss lining up opposite Donald Driver and a young Greg Jennings, the Packers might have been pushed over the top and won a second Super Bowl with Favre. Of course, they likely don’t take it home in 2011 with Rodgers out in Oakland. Most Packers fans are probably pretty relieved that this didn’t come to pass, but with the Patriots acquiring Moss for a fourth, it does still sting that Green Bay couldn’t make a move work, especially considering it wound up using a third-rounder on James Jones in that year’s draft.