Indianapolis Colts starting cornerback Kenny Moore II is absent from organized team activities (OTAs) this week as he attempts to signal his unhappiness regarding his current contract situation. Moore joins a long list of veterans who are using OTAs to make a similar statement, including Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray and San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel. Colts General Manager Chris Ballard should make Moore’s contract a priority before training camp opens.
Moore previously signed a four-year contract extension worth $33.3 million with the Colts in June of 2019. The Valdosta State alum is set to enter the third year of that contract in 2022 while earning approximately $6.75 million. The cornerback market has flipped on its head since Moore signed that extension and he’s looking for an amendment to the original agreement. Moore’s average annual salary of $8.325 million makes him the 27th-highest-paid cornerback in the league. His production has far outweighed that dollar value in recent years.
Moore’s absence should send the situation into an immediate state of emergency. OTAs represent the first opportunity for Colts players to receive on-field experience with new defensive coordinator Gus Bradley. Having Moore take part in that learning experience is of the utmost importance given the overall value he brings to the secondary as one of their top performers and leaders.
The Colts are in win-now mode. Ballard signaled his aggressive intentions to compete for the AFC South division title in 2022 by acquiring several veterans who are nearing the end of their line, including quarterback Matt Ryan and cornerback Stephon Gilmore. The Colts have every right to aim for the stars in 2022, but Ballard must continue shaping Indianapolis’ future as well. At 26 years old, Moore is still entering the prime of his career and should be a part of Ballard’s long-term plans.
The Colts are breaking in a new defense with not only a new coordinator but with several new back-end players as well. Former starting cornerback Rock Ya-Sin was traded to the Las Vegas Raiders in exchange for pass-rusher Yannick Ngakoue. Ya-Sin will be replaced on the boundary by the aforementioned Gilmore. Ballard signed several free-agent secondary players, including Brandon Facyson, Rodney McLeod, and Armani Watts. Andrew Sendejo and Xavier Rhodes, who both played crucial roles for Indianapolis last season, remain on the open market and aren’t expected back in Indianapolis.
Having Moore develop chemistry with his new teammates while acclimating to Bradley’s defense is of critical importance. There’s very little in the form of continuity in Indianapolis’ secondary right now, both from a player and coaching perspective, and offseason reps and communication are key to building the necessary camaraderie before September marks its arrival.
Moore enjoyed the most productive season of his professional career in 2021 en route to earning his first Pro Bowl appearance. Moore set career-highs in total tackles (102) while matching previous career-bests in pass breakups (13) and interceptions (four). He was also the team’s nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. His dual-threat ability to play both inside and outside has been critical to Frank Reich’s defensive success and identity. With more high-level receivers now operating out of the slot (think Cooper Kupp and Keenan Allen), Moore’s ability to hold down the nickel position has increased in value.
The Colts are entering a crucial campaign after disappointingly missing the postseason in 2021. Owner Jim Irsay voiced his displeasure and Ballard responded by displaying an aggressive offseason in both the coaching and player acquisition departments. First-year players and coaches are expected to make a positive impact on the 2022 Colts, but taking care of the players who helped initially turn them into postseason contenders carries importance, too. Moore is undeniably one of those players and his current contract deserves immediate attention.
- Sep 29, 2023
- Sep 29, 2023