On Hayden and Moore

Two issues came yesterday, and while I discussed them on Twitter, they merit some comment here. Again, I encourage all of you to follow me on Twitter because there are a great many topics discussed there that never get covered on 18to88.com.

First, let me answer this question from a reader.  Michael M. asks:

I would like to hear your take  with regards to Kelvin Hayden. How much is his cap hit this up coming year? Also would you be inclined to keep him? Is there anyone in free agency who would be a decent starter opposite to Powers for less money?

My logic is that I really felt the Colts were a better team with Clint Session last year and I know he is lowish on the priority list. Who would you rather keep if it came down to it?

First, the issue of Hayden.  I called the Colts decision to resign Hayden back in 2009 one of the toughest calls the franchise had faced in some time. Unfortunately, the huge contract Hayden received has not worked out. He’s been plagued by injuries, and there are rumors the club is unhappy with him. Unfortunately, his massive contract will be hard to move. It’s still unclear all the ins and outs of the new agreement, but if the rules are anything like the old ones, cutting Hayden won’t provide much relief.

Hayden is slated to make $6.1 million in 2011. Cutting him saves a lot of real dollars. Unfortunately, the Colts still have $7.8 million in outstanding bonus money left to account for.  His 2011 cap figure would be just under $9.1 million.  Cutting him trims off the real dollars, but my understanding is that Indy would still have to account for the bonus money, meaning the cap savings would only be $1.3 million.  That’s just not very much.

The decision to keep him will likely be financial. Do the Colts need to save the $6.1 million real dollars? The cap savings just don’t help that much. Indy is deep at corner with Powers, Tryon, Lacey, Thomas, and Rucker, so they can live without him.

As for Session, I agree that Indy missed him on the field. The 2009 Colts did a miserable job forcing turnovers, and the Colts missed the explosive play of Session. Indy typically does not resign linebackers to a second contract, but there is some precedent to keeping around a valuable player overlooked by the rest of the league. Freddy Keiaho, Tyjuan Hagler and Rob Morris all came back on the cheap.  If Session can be had for a bargain the Colts should be interesting in resigning him.

Issue #2: Tom Moore

Tom Moore is now working as a consultant for the Jets.

Some thoughts:

1. This is simply not a big deal. Moore is working from home analyzing tape. He’s not actually coordinating for the Jets.

2. The kind of work Moore is doing for the Jets wouldn’t be something the Colts really need from him. After a dozen years or so, Indy doesn’t need ‘fresh perspective’ from Moore.

3. For those who wonder if Moore (and Howard Mudd before him) were really fired rather than ‘retired’, keep in mind that it makes no real difference. It was highly unusual for the two to keep their jobs through two head coaching changes. Coaching changes happen all the time. There are some who blame Caldwell for Moore and Mudd’s departures, but bear in mind that had Indy hired any other coach, the two would probably have been let go before the 2009 season. Indy let the two men retire gracefully. They went on to other jobs. In Moore‘s case, it’s an minor job reviewing tape. He’s basically retired and is helping out a friend.

4. Fans seem to worry about what Moore would tell the Jets if the Colts played them in a playoff game. I seriously doubt it would be anything too important. Fans make too much out of coaching in general. Every team has ex-employees running about. Teams get insight and scouting from wherever they can. Games are decided by the players on the field, not by minor observations passed along by former coaches. 

This is an interesting story in the sense that all true Colts fans wish Moore well, but not because it has any significant football merit.

UPDATE: Good quotes by Moore in the Indy Star today

Moore retired briefly after the 2009 season, came back as a “senior offensive assistant” last season, then retired again in May. He did so under no pressure from the Colts.

“Everything was my decision. Everything was my doing,” he said.