Just a little over 24 hours after signing two free agents Monday afternoon, the Buffalo Bills were back at it on Tuesday as they inked cornerback Sterling Moore to a one-year deal.
Undrafted out of Southern Methodist University in 2011, the five-year veteran has spent time with the Raiders (practice squad), Patriots, Cowboys and Buccaneers over the course of his career.
During his first five seasons, the 5-foot-10-inch, 192-pound defensive back has started 19 games and totaled 125 tackles (113 solo, 12 assists), five forced fumbles, four interceptions and 25 passes defensed.
Moore also has one defensive touchdown to his credit, which came on a 21-yard interception return off a pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick in a 49-21 win over Buffalo during the 2011 regular-season finale in Foxborough. It was his second interception of the game.
The Patriots went on to play in Super Bowl XLVI that season where they lost to the New York Giants.
A rookie at that time, Moore played a key role as a sub-package cornerback for New England that season.
Since then, the 26-year-old has bounced back and forth between the Patriots and Cowboys before settling in with Tampa Bay in 2015.
A day after getting cornerback Corey White under contract, the Bills decided to bring another defensive back into the fold on Tuesday with the signing of Moore.
Like White, the former SMU Mustang has been a bit of a journeyman thus far in his career, but it’s not due to a lack of talent.
When given the chance, Moore has produced. And he’s done so on the biggest of stages.
During his rookie season with the Patriots, Moore had a key pass breakup in the end zone on Ravens wide receiver Lee Evans (go figure) during the 2011 AFC Championship game. It ultimately decided the outcome.
On the play, Moore knocked the ball out of Evans’ hands for what would have been the go-ahead touchdown for Baltimore with 23 seconds to go.
However, as a result of the incompletion, the Ravens were forced to attempt a field goal to tie the game, but Billy Cundiff’s kick sailed wide and the Patriots wound up winning the game 23-20.
Moore has also produced on a larger scale when given an increased role.
After bouncing between Dallas and New England through his first few seasons in the league, Moore had a more permanent stay with the Cowboys in 2014 as the team’s nickel cornerback.
In that role, he managed to tally 46 tackles (40 solo, 6 assists), 14 pass deflections, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries in 16 games (seven starts). His 14 deflections led the team that season.
Following that performance, Moore joined the Buccaneers last season and saw the most extensive playing time of his NFL career.
Slotted as Tampa’s nickel corner, the five-year veteran started nine games and posted 45 tackles, six pass breakups, one interception and three forced fumbles last season.
Pro Football Focus rated Moore as the 64th best cornerback in 2015, which is good for middle of the pack considering that teams generally have four to five cornerbacks playing in any given game.
Despite his solid production, Moore wasn’t re-signed by the Buccaneers this offseason as Tampa’s new coaching staff decided to go in a different direction.
How Moore fits?
Although he has yet to find a steady NFL home to this point, Moore is a solid player and will provide more depth/competition to the Bills’ defensive backfield this season.
With more experience to his name than some others on Buffalo’s cornerback depth chart, Moore should immediately come in and compete with the likes of Nickell Robey, Mario Butler, Corey White, Javier Arenas and Sammy Seamster for playing time behind the team’s dynamic duo of Stephon Gilmore and Ronald Darby.
While it seems unlikely that Moore will unseat Robey as the team’s primary nickel corner, there’s a chance that the former Buccaneer could push for more playing time than expected depending on how he fares in training camp and the preseason.
If he performs, Rex and Rob Ryan will find a place on the field for their newest addition.
One thing weighing in his favor is that, like White, Moore has experience playing in a Ryan-run defensive system.
He played under Rob Ryan when Ryan was in his final season as the Cowboys’ defensive coordinator in 2012.
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