To the surprise of many fans, the Dallas Cowboys had done little to improve their under-performing offensive line this offseason. But on Tuesday, the Cowboys made a major upgrade by signing former New York Jets guard Brandon Moore. The ten year veteran was a Pro Bowler back in 2011 and is still considered one of the best guards in the NFL. Unfortunately, most fans will remember Moore from the Jets “Butt-fumble” incident involving quarterback Mark Sanchez last season.
Moore is being projected as an instant starter for the Cowboys. He joins an offensive line that includes starters tackle Tyron Smith, tackle Doug Free, potential starting guard Ron Leary and rookie center Travis Frederick. Guards Nate Livings and Mackenzy Bernardeau will also be competing with both Moore and Leary for a starting role.
The 33 year old Moore was signed by the Jets in 2002 as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Illinois. After a stint on their practice squad, he eventually started in 142 games for New York (137 of those in a row). Moore hasn’t missed a game since the 2004 season. That type of consistency and ability to stay healthy is sorely lacking on the current Cowboys offensive line.
Rotoworld called Moore the far-and-away best remaining interior lineman in free agency. And Pro Football Focus ranked him as the No. 4 overall guard in the NFL last year. As such, Moore received many different offers from around the league. But after visiting with various teams this offseason, Moore remained in free agency because he refused to sign for the veteran minimum. Opting instead to retire unless the right opportunity availed itself. Reports say that both the Miami Dolphins and Detroit Lions had a very strong interest in signing Moore.
Although the amount the Cowboys signed Moore for has yet to be released, we do know it was for more than the veteran minimum ($940,000 for 10-year veterans).
The reason a player like Moore was not re-signed by the Jets this offseason is believed to be because of the amount of holes on their roster. With the Jets’ salary cap money already tied into offensive lineman LT D’Brickashaw Ferguson and C Nick Mangold, the team would be hard pressed to fill all their other needs if they signed Moore. Combine his age with his refusal to sign for the veteran minimum, and free agency seemed to be the only viable choice for both parties.
One of the major advantages of signing Moore, and possibly the deciding factor, is he played under current Cowboys offensive coordinator Bill Callahan for four years. So his transition into the starting lineup should be very smooth. Moore is said to be an outstanding run blocker. That should greatly benefit the Cowboys, who’s rushing offense finished 31st in the NFL last season.