The Bears today informed cornerback DJ Moore that he will not be pursued in free agency to return to Chicago for the 2013 season. Moore was a fourth round draft pick in 2009 NFL draft and developed into an extremely good play maker during his time in Chicago.
He developed into the starting nickel back and was seen as a key young component of the Bears defense moving forward. No player made a better impact in the secondary on a per snap basis that D.J. Moore did during the 2011 season. Moore however found his way to the bench, not for his play rather for his outspoken nature as a player.
After the week two game against the Packers Moore publicly and candidly spoke out against Jay Cutler for the shoving incident involving teammate J'Marcus Webb.
Said Moore shortly after the Cutler berating of Webb "Is it unfair to criticize Jay right now? Shoot, it's unfair for him to be like that toward J'Marcus," Moore said. "In every game in every sport, there's always somebody who has a tough day. For you to come off on the sideline, once you holler at him, it makes it seem like (Webb) is the only reason.
"I don't feel for Cut. He knows what he was doing. I don't think you do that. If you have a problem with (Webb), maybe do that in the locker room or something. It's like bad-mouthing someone in the media. It's just weird.''
Moore was always known for his outspoken personality. He was never afraid to speak his mind openly and freely no matter the consequences and this always went against the philosophy of head coach Lovie Smith. Smith always wanted to keep things in house and to not air out anything in public. However what was public was Cutler's treatment of Webb on the sideline.
After that incident Moore found his way to the inactive list never again seeing the field as an active player throughout most of the rest of the season.
Moore was even pulled into Lovie Smith's office and in his words chewed out "“He wasn’t happy at all, “He said, ‘Don’t say it in this setting’ or ‘don’t say it here’’ or “don’t say it there.’ He was just telling me the right way to do stuff.’’
After airing that discussion publicly Moore will not return to the Bears.
To be clear More is not being brought back because of his lack of play-making ability. During the 2011 season according to Jeremy Stoltz of BearReport.com "Moore was on the field for 504 snaps last season, less than half of both Tillman (1,104) and Jennings (1,028). Yet Moore led the team with four interceptions. Opposing quarterbacks had a 60.9 rating when throwing to players Moore was covering, less than Tillman (73.5) and Jennings (68.8)."
That type of play is at a starter's level for a backup/nickel back. That level of play-making ability is not easily replaceable. The man who did replace Moore after the second game of the 2012 season, Kelvin Hayden allowed a QB rating of 93.2 on the season.
The problem signs for Hayden's season were written on the wall during the week one game against the Colts. In that game according to Pro Football Focus Hayden was targeted 11 times for 7 receptions. Hayden didn't play the following week against the Packers, but with Moore sent to the bench he became the active starter.
The evidence that Hayden had no business being on the field is stark. The question begs to be asked, why bench one of your best play-makers in favor of a guy who allowed seven receptions two weeks before?
Hayden too is a free agent, and it remains to be seen if the Bears play to bring him back. If Hayden returns to the Bears ahead of Moore it will be yet another questionable call by GM Phil Emery.