Moss' millions: Big year means much more money

New England Patriots wide receiver Randy Moss is grabbing football and cash, all at once.

With 59 catches for 924 yards and 12 touchdowns –- as many as the Oakland Raiders offense scored all of last season -– Moss already has cashed in on $700,000 worth of incentives this year and is on pace to cash in on $1.3 million more.

Moss earned $350,000 once he reached 45 catches for the season and another $350,000 once he reached 55 catches, a mark he surpassed during Sunday's 24-20 win over the Indianapolis Colts.

Moss will earn another $350,000 once he reaches 65 catches, another $350,000 for 75 catches, and a final $350,000 for 85 catches.

Additionally, should Moss be voted to the Pro Bowl -– and for a receiver who now leads the NFL in receiving yards and receiving touchdowns, that would seem a lock –- he will earn another $250,000.

Moss' contract was restructured last April. Before Oakland traded Moss to New England for a fourth-round pick that turned out to be former University of Cincinnati defensive back John Bowie, the Pro Bowl wide receiver agreed to reduce his salary from $9.75 milliion this season to $3 million. Of the $3 million, $2.5 million was in the form of base salary and $500,000 was in the form of a roster bonus.

But even though Moss lopped off almost $7 million, he now is on pace to catch 96 passes for 1,643 yards and 21 touchdowns this season –- numbers that would return him another $2 million in reception and Pro Bowl incentives.

Plus, Moss is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent after this season. The money he agreed to forego last off-season is money he will make back this off-season.

And then some.

Tennessee's tough guy

One NFL personnel director said last week that Tennessee's Albert Haynesworth had become this season's most dominating defensive tackle -– and that was before Hayneworth rang up three more sacks during the Titans' 20-7 victory Sunday over the Carolina Panthers.

Because Haynesworth has played so well, it is now a nearly foregone conclusion that the Titans will slap their franchise tag on him if they cannot get their defensive tackle signed to a long-term extension before free agency begins in March.

It would be a no brainer for Tennessee to tag Hayneworth. The franchise defensive tackle number for next season is expected to be in the vicinity of $7 million. For that salary, the Titans can all but assure themselves of Haynesworth's services for next year.

If he were allowed to hit the open market, even despite some character questions, some defensive line-needy teams quickly would step up and pay Haynesworth way more than $7 million. But Tennessee is expected to make it a moot point, if it doesn't sign Haynesworth first.

QB carousel

Last season, 50 different quarterbacks started a game in the NFL.

Midway through this season, 49 quarterbacks already have started a game -– and No. 50 could come Sunday, if Minnesota turns, as expected, to Brooks Bollinger.

The number would grow to 51 if Denver starts quarterback Patrick Ramsey ahead of the injured quarterback Jay Cutler. However, the feeling as of Tuesday was that Cutler would be healthy enough to start Sunday at Kansas City, despite a leg injury that required X-rays and an MRI that came back negative.

Eventually, Oakland's top overall choice JaMarcus Russell could become another starter. But it doesn't seem as if it is happening this Sunday. Raiders coach Lane Kiffin made it clear that Josh McCown will start Sunday against the Chicago Bears and that Russell will not play until Oakland deems him ready.

Warming up the North

Two of the NFL's biggest surprises, Green Bay and Detroit, are embroiled in a battle for the NFC North title.

The best part about it is that they haven't played a game yet this season.

The first time the teams square off this season will be in the first game of a Thanksgiving tripleheader, when Green Bay plays at Detroit. The final time the Packers and Lions square off is Dec. 30, in the regular-season finale, in Green Bay, in a game that could decide the NFC North champion.

True, but strange

Any running back in the league should want to have Chester Taylor as his backup.

In Baltimore, Taylor backed up Jamal Lewis at the time Lewis set the NFL's single-game rushing record with 295 yards.

Then in Minnesota, Taylor backed up Adrian Peterson at the time Peterson broke Lewis's NFL single-game rushing record with 296 yards.

Each time, Taylor had an up-close view of history.

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