Patriots do not tag Moss, but hope to re-sign him

Updated: February 22, 2008, 12:56 AM ET
By John Clayton | ESPN.com

The New England Patriots did not place their franchise tag on wide receiver Randy Moss on Thursday, technically leaving Moss open to free agency on Feb. 29.

The Patriots are apparently gambling that they could come to terms with Moss on a new contract so he can remain with the team.

Moss restructured his contract, dropping his base salary from $10 million to $3 million, to accommodate last April's trade from the Oakland Raiders to the Patriots. Moss earned an additional $2 million on incentives after breaking Jerry Rice's single-season record with 23 touchdown receptions.

Quarterback Tom Brady has indicated he wants Moss to return, and Moss has talked all season long about how much he liked playing for the Patriots.

Also at the deadline Thursday for NFL teams to franchise players, the Dallas Cowboys placed their tag on safety Ken Hamlin instead of left tackle Flozell Adams.

Hamlin received a one-year tender of $4.396 million. If a team tries to sign him, the Cowboys would have seven days to match an offer. The signing team then would have to surrender two-first-round picks to get Hamlin.

Senior writer John Clayton covers the NFL for ESPN.com.

John Clayton

NFL senior writer