Two of them didn't play a snap in 2011, and the other might as well not have, given his meager contributions. But Terrell Owens, Randy Moss and Chad Johnson have all been given new leases on their football lives by the Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers and Miami Dolphins, respectively. Which veteran wideout will have the best season in 2012?
Johnson is in the best spotChad Johnson will have the best season of the three. He will be the primary target for whoever is playing quarterback for the Miami Dolphins, and offensive coordinator Mike Sherman is wise enough to design schemes that play to Johnson's strengths. Johnson might need to run more intermediate routes, but he's good in that role.
Johnson also doesn't have to face the gauntlet of strong cornerbacks awaiting Randy Moss and Terrell Owens in the NFC West.
Rejuvenated Moss will make an impact as a deep threat in San FranciscoI'm pretty skeptical about Terrell Owens making the Seahawks, but I see Randy Moss and Chad Johnson having definite roles for their respective teams. In fact, I see Johnson taking on his old persona, and being the clear No. 1 wideout for Miami.
Still, I'm predicting Moss to have the biggest impact of the three. With the San Francisco 49ers' ability to run the football, quarterback Alex Smith will have plenty of opportunities to take some big shots downfield, and Randy Moss appears rejuvenated after a year off.
No one will thrive, but Johnson will top the othersI don't see any of these receivers putting up big numbers this year, though I think Chad Johnson will have the best season of the three.
Randy Moss will be fighting a few factors in San Francisco that will probably limit his output. First, I don't think the 49ers will get away from their run-first philosophy. The Niners also have tight end Vernon Davis and receiver Mario Manningham -- two pass catchers who are better than Moss and should see more targets than him.
As for Terrell Owens, I am more concerned about his ability to stay healthy this year than I am about the other two receivers. He could end up having a good year, though, because fellow Seahawks receiver Sidney Rice has been prone to injury and Seattle's quarterback (whoever that may be ...) will need somebody to throw to.
Johnson will have the best campaign for a few reasons. I think the Dolphins will throw the ball the most frequently out of all three teams. I also believe Johnson has the best chance of the three to stay healthy. Finally, based on what I've heard out of Dolphins training camp and what I saw last season, he can still get open and catch the ball.
Moss can open up San Francisco's passing gameAsking this question is like asking who, out of Kristen Stewart, Lindsay Lohan and Kim Kardashian, is the most likely to stay out of the news. Not one of these pass catchers will break out again, because none of them will regain the role they had when they thrived: that of a true No. 1 receiver. Chad Johnson is the closest to such a role, because the Dolphins have no talent -- I expect them to re-sign Oronde Gadsden any day now -- but he's done being the player he used to be.
If I had to pick one out of the three to succeed, I would go with Moss. He's been pretty impressive in camp so far, and even if he's not the threat he once was, as long as he can approximate that without disrupting the team, he'll open up a ton of things in the passing game for other players. But if I see him covered one-on-one regularly to start the season, I'm going to change my mind.
They're all past their prime, but at least T.O. produced in his last NFL seasonChad Johnson, Terrell Owens and Randy Moss remind me of those aging rock bands that go on tour for a dose of nostalgia and one last payday. The best way to attend concerts held by such bands (and believe me, I've been to many) is to realize these guys aren't what they once were, and to lower one's expectations accordingly (the exception being Iron Maiden, which still rocks as hard as it ever has).
That said, Owens is going to have the best season of the three. Moss was forgettable in his pathetic 2010 campaign. Johnson was so bad with the New England Patriots last season, he had to change his name.
Owens, though, was actually pretty good in his final season with the Cincinnati Bengals, grabbing 72 receptions for 983 yards and nine touchdowns. If he produces like that in Seattle (a reasonable expectation), he would surely please the Seahawks' brass.
All three can be great -- on Mars"Chad 85" hasn't been adequate in years. Randy Moss was atrocious the last time we saw him ... and that was before he took a year off from football. T.O. is old on the field ... and is still the old T.O. off it (as we saw during his Indoor Football League experience).
Now that we've landed on Mars, it won't be very long before Commish Roger Goodell explores the possibility of getting a team up there. How 'bout we put these receivers on the next rocket to the Red Planet to get things started?