Head coach Andy Reid revealed that the four-year veteran fractured his shoulder during Saturday night's overtime victory against the Pittsburgh Steelers and that a timetable for his return is unknown.
While an understatement to say that the game of football produces a large number of injuries due to its physical nature, Moeaki has a sturdy reputation of missing time that dates back to his days as an Iowa Hawkeye.
Moeaki was lost for the entire 2011 season with an ACL tear and for one game each in 2010 and 2012 with a head injury. He was also slowed during training camp this year with a back ailment and another knee procedure. With the unknown status surrounding his shoulder fracture, his future with the Chiefs is up in the air.
Playing in only 30 of a possible 48 games in three seasons, Moeaki has shown flashes of being a capable pass-catching tight end in the NFL -- having tallied 80 receptions for 1,009 yards and four touchdowns when on the field. And had the ACL injury not cost him the momentum from a rookie season (2010) that saw him catch 47 passes for 556 yards and three scores, who knows what kind of career trajectory he would be on right now.
The Chiefs have options here, and they will obviously wait for a much clearer diagnosis on Moeaki's shoulder. But with the impending roster moves the team will need to make in advance of the regular season, placing the tight end on the injured reserve could make the most sense.
Kansas City signed Anthony Fasano this offseason and drafted rookie Travis Kelce in the third round, so the cupboard would not be left bare should Moeaki's injury threaten his season.
The Chiefs got only 44 catches for 587 yards and two touchdowns from their tight ends last season, so this group's production was expected to increase under Reid's offensive system. Without Moeaki, those plans could take a hit.
Moeaki is entering the final year of his rookie contract that will pay him $1.3 million, so the Chiefs would have been forced to make a decision on his future with the team after this season anyway. With another hitch in this relationship, however, eventually parting ways appears to be the best alternative for Kansas City.
Jeremy Sickel has successfully created and operated numerous websites. His work can be read on Yahoo! and Bleacher Report, and he has also appeared on various podcasts and sports talk shows around the country.Interact with Jeremy on Twitter @JeremySickel.
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