When the 2021 season ended, Indianapolis Colts cornerback Kenny Moore II expected changes. Moore had one of his better seasons in a Colts uniform, earning his first Pro Bowl honors.
He approached the 2022 season with an edge, hoping to be compensated for his talent as one of the NFL’s best slot corners.
Despite his best efforts to stand firm during a self-imposed “hold-in,” the Colts didn’t budge, putting pressure on Moore to strengthen his case.
Unfortunately, his 2022 season was underwhelming. Injuries and sub-par play stifled his campaign for more recognition, making him a potential cap casualty during the early portion of the offseason.
However, Moore is now expected to remain with the team for the 2023 season. What does Moore staying with the franchise mean?
Here are five thoughts about what keeping Moore means for the Colts:
Moore's character still holds weight
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Like Ryan Kelly, general manager Chris Ballard highlyvalues Moore as a person. On Monday, during league meetings, Ballard was complimentary of Moore and explained why he opted not to move on, saying, “When you got a good football player that is a great person and a good fit, it makes it hard to move away from those guys.”
From his early years as general manager, Ballard has consistently valued character, and it’s evident that Moore’s still holds weight.
The Colts are razor thin at cornerback
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The Colts have a significant gap in their cornerback unit. The team recently traded cornerback Stephon Gilmore to Dallas, and free agent Brandon Facyson opted to return to Las Vegas in free agency. The depth chart does not look comforting without Moore.
Isaiah Rodgers Sr. is an assumed starter on the boundary, and Moore will presumably be the nickel corner, but beyond those players, the number of players who are starting caliber is nearly nonexistent.
Drafting a cornerback remains priority
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Keeping Kenny Moore helps solidify the secondary, but that doesn’t mean the team will shy away from drafting a cornerback. Losing so many impactful players has a ripple effect, and the team can’t afford to only depend on players currently on the roster.
It’s likely that the cornerback position is high on their shopping list when the draft rolls around April 27. If that is the case, they’ll have their pick of the litter starting at pick four.
Another chance to fit with Gus Bradley
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Part of Moore’s success was his scheme fit with former defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus. However, Moore’s role shifted when Eberflus left to join the Chicago Bears. Defensive coordinator Gus Bradley’s scheme is not reliant upon a nickel cornerback, leaving little room for Moore to shine.
When the team reconvenes for the season, Moore will have another chance to do what he does best: be a dynamic open-field tackler, bring unexpected pressure off the edge, and become a ballhawk while in coverage.
Moore has to make most of his chance
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Moore is expected to remain with the team, but trade offers could still be fielded during the season. Additionally, the Colts could walk away once the 2023 season is done. Moore is in the final year of his contract, and if his play is less than stellar, it will make sense that the team moves in another direction.
Moore’s future belongs to him. The team is willing to bet on him, but grace can run out. He has to find that same energy that earned him his “lightning in a bottle” moniker.