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Moss To Packers Rumors Heat Up Despite Denials
The rumors linking Oakland's Randy Moss to the Packers continue to grow legs. In an article published this morning, Boston Herald beat writer Michael Felger reported the Packers and Raiders are on the verge of announcing a deal that would send the mercurial receiver to Green Bay in exchange for Aaron Rodgers.

But in a statement released by the team's public relations department a short time ago, Packers GM Ted Thompson is quoted as saying: "We dismiss this report as wild speculation."

Maybe. Even Felger acknowledged that a source close to Rodgers adamantly denies the rumor, saying, to his knowledge, the Raiders and Packers have not had substantive discussions.

Nonetheless, there seems to be enough smoke here, in the form of details, to suggest some fire.

According to Felger's primary, Wisconsin-based source, Green Bay would also give up a seventh-round pick in 2008, while the Packers would receive Raiders tight end Courtney Anderson as part of the deal.

The Packers would also receive a conditional pick from the Raiders in the 2009 draft which would be based on Rodgers' production in Oakland the next two seasons. The Wisconsin source indicated that Moss has agreed to restructure his contract, which calls for $20 million in base salary the next two years.

As Oakland Tribune staff writer Jerry McDonald noted this morning, if the Raiders were to receive Rodgers and a No. 7 for Moss and Anderson, it would be a fairly unprecedented dump job by Raiders honcho Al Davis of a substantial talent.

More importantly, it would be evidence Davis' priority is to give young coach Lane Kiffin an environment more conducive to success.

But whatever the Raiders don't get in a Packers deal, their position as the top team in the draft becomes even more valuable. They could either get the player they want, or allow suitors to throw players and draft picks their way for the right to select JaMarcus Russell or Calvin Johnson, generally considered the top two talents in the draft. ...

In case you missed it, Kiffin and the Raiders watched Russell go through the paces Wednesday at LSU's pro day. He spent today in Atlanta doing the same with Johnson at Georgia Tech's pro day.

Meanwhile, Felger reports that Moss and Packers quarterback Brett Favre are said to have been talking on the phone throughout the process and he summed up his piece by suggesting, "Press conferences could be held as early as Friday."

It should be noted that Packers chairman and CEO Bob Harlan, was caught off guard by Felger's report.

Reached in his office this morning, Harlan told staffer Rob Demovsky he had not heard a deal for Moss was imminent. Harlan went on to tell Demovsky he has not spoken with Thompson since he left for a scouting trip on Tuesday afternoon (the denial above was released by the team shortly after Harlan's comments were published).

"If (a trade) was that close, (Thompson) would have called us by now," Harlan said.

Thompson presented his monthly report to the Packers' board of directors during its regular meeting on Tuesday morning and then left town. He is not scheduled to return until Friday night.

And as noted here yesterday, the subject of Moss did come up during Tuesday's meeting, but Thompson didn't indicate a deal was about to be made.

"No, not at all," Harlan said. "And he would have told that group if it was that close."

Again, maybe. ... As editor Mike Florio suggested this morning, given Harlan's willingness to go public with his (mostly anti-Moss) opinions on trading for the former Viking wideout, "maybe the close-vested Thompson realized that giving Harlan a head's up was the equivalent of shouting the news from the middle of Times Square with a megaphone. ..."

Anyhow, we'll know more soon enough. Stay tuned. ...

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