The Raiders recently signed edge rusher Damontre Moore, a player who brings some baggage. The 23-year old pass rusher has had some trouble getting along with teammates, including a locker-room incident involving headphones that got him cut by the New York Giants.
Miami claimed him off waivers, but he didn’t last long there. Moore was cut this month, and the Raiders were willing to give him another opportunity.
This could be Moore’s last chance to get it right. The 2013 third-round pick hasn’t realized full potential, with 70 tackles, 9.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and 52 quarterback pressures in three years as a rotational pass rusher.
The Raiders didn’t focus on Moore's character questions. They saw a young, talented player in need of a fresh start.
“I think he’s got some of the length and athleticism and natural pass rush ability that we covet,” Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio said last week. “In terms of the other things, some of the off-the-field issues or in the locker room issues or any of that kind of stuff, we feel good about being able to bring the best out of a young man like this. We don’t really, in our opinion, see a huge downside.”
The Raiders have a roster loaded with character players and leaders, but have talented calculated risks in the past.
Del Rio doesn’t view Moore as a risky addition.
“Guys have disagreements in the locker room,” said Del Rio, a Pro Bowl linebacker in his playing days. “I was in a lot of locker rooms. I had a few myself, and it didn’t make me a bad guy. That can get overblown a little bit, in fairness to him. For us, the way I look at it and the way I talked to him about it, is that it’s a fresh start for him. Come in here, be yourself, have fun, commit to being everything you can be, give us everything you have. If he does that, we think he has enough talent to be here. We’ll see how it works out for him.”
At his best, Moore could add explosion off the edge behind Khalil Mack, Bruce Irvin, at times Mario Edwards Jr. and third-round pick Shilique Calhoun. If he isn’t, the Raiders won’t fall apart. A cut wouldn’t severely hinder a Raiders pass rush already well stocked.
The Raiders don’t need him, but they surely want him to succeed.
“He’s the kind of guy that you pull for,” Del Rio said. “Things haven’t really started the way they probably could have, but that doesn’t matter. For us, it’s an opportunity. For him, it’s an opportunity. It’s all about moving forward.”