Linebacker Sio Moore said goodbye to Raider Nation on Friday afternoon, announcing on Twitter that he has parted ways with the organization that drafted him in the third round of the 2013 draft.
Now he's an Indianapolis Colt. The Raiders traded the mercurial talent for a 2016 sixth-round pick on Friday after shopping him around in recent days, when it became clear Moore wasn't a fit for these new Raiders. Both teams confirmed the trade on Friday evening.
Moore had to go. That's why this trade isn't a surprise, though it would've been shocking a month ago.
That’s a fast fall for someone expected to be the team's weakside linebacker in 2015. Moore started 22 games in his first two NFL seasons, but had fallen out of favor with head coach Jack Del Rio and his staff. A schism started to show during the second half of training camp, and it eventually became clear the relationship between coach and player had eroded beyond repair.
Moore's talent is undeniable, and his departure represents Del Rio’s willingness to clean out players who don’t fit well.
Moore was jettisoned despite being a quality linebacker with an early track record of success, playing for a team that doesn’t have a ton of talented depth.
The coaching staff didn’t like his attitude in recent weeks, or his reaction to being asked to earn playing time all over again. Moore was behind Malcolm Smith on the depth chart after he regained health. Smith played well while Moore was out most of the offseason program and training camp following major hip surgery in January. Smith proved to be an excellent scheme fit, eventually took Moore’s starting spot and made No. 55 expendable.
Del Rio said a few weeks ago that Moore was competing to be a role player on the team, which was the first outward sign of a rift between player and coach. Then came Sunday’s exhibition against Arizona, where he didn’t play a defensive snap. He played 10 defensive snaps in the fourth quarter of Thursday’s exhibition finale, after which Del Rio said players gets snaps “that they earn.”
Moore’s departure hurts the Raiders linebacker depth, something they hope to recover. Veteran Lorenzo Alexander was signed on Wednesday, though he’s considered more of a special teams player. Benson Mayowa is also making the switch from defensive end to strongside linebacker in the base defense. Mayowa would still play end in the nickel package. The Raiders also have fifth-round pick Neiron Ball available at outside linebacker.
Here are Moore's original Twitter posts saying goodbye to Raider Nation:
This has been more than a home to me... So much if my heart is in the bay... My teammates RaiderNation Yall are family to me. Will miss Yall— Sio Moore (@MrOakTown55) September 4, 2015
I wish I could've of did it for yall... I do. I gave yall all I could. Love yall ✊#55Strong— Sio Moore (@MrOakTown55) September 4, 2015