Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis, in explaining his team's free agency strategy, used Randy Moss' 2012 comeback with the 49ers as Exhibit A why veterans aren't necessarily better targets.
Lewis told the Cincinnati Enquirer at Sunday's NFL owners' meetings in Arizona: "You are not a positive in making your team better when you keep adding old guys. What did Randy Moss do for those guys last year? He did nothing. He got in the way of a younger player performing." Nothing? That's actually what 2012 first-round draft pick A.J. Jenkins produced: zero receptions as a rookie.
Moss, after bouncing through three teams in 2010 and sitting out 2011 for what he called personal reasons, gave the 49ers 28 receptions for 434 yards and three touchdowns with only two starts in the regular season.
Moss, 36, started all three playoff games, including the Super Bowl loss where he caught two of five passes that came his way for 41 yards.
Moss' 28 receptions matched his career low from his 2010 sojourn, and they tied for fourth most on the 49ers with running back Frank Gore. Aside from Jenkins, the only 'younger players' who saw their playing time cut by Moss where Kyle Williams (14 receptions for 212 yards before a season-ending knee injury Nov. 25) and Ted Ginn Jr., a sixth-year veteran who produced a career-low two receptions for 1 yard.
Moss' three touchdowns equaled his fewest in a season, dating back to his Raiders swan song in 2006.
Throughout the season, Moss' limited production was offset by praise from coaches and teammates for his leadership and work ethic. Moss is an unrestricted free agency and not expected to re-sign with the 49ers, whom he recently bid farewell to on Twitter.
His 2012 stats, by the way, would have also ranked fourth among the Bengals' leaders during their 10-6 season, which ended with a wild-card playoff loss to the Houston Texans.
The complete context of Lewis' quote can be found in Joe Reedy's blog in the Enquirer.