Colts: Could another good season from Kenny Moore create contract tension?

DETROIT, MICHIGAN - NOVEMBER 01: Kenny Moore II #23 of the Indianapolis Colts (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MICHIGAN - NOVEMBER 01: Kenny Moore II #23 of the Indianapolis Colts (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images) /

Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard found himself in the crosshairs this offseason amid his refusal to make a big splash in free agency. This continued once the Colts were linked with Julio Jones, but reportedly didn’t even make an offer for the superstar receiver.

While that criticism is warranted, however, there’s a method to Ballard’s madness, as opting against making that trade will only give the Colts more financial flexibility moving forward.

It also means they should be able to extend linebacker Darius Leonard and offensive linemen Quenton Nelson and Braden Smith without performing any financial gymnastics.

Bottom line? For as long as Ballard is the general manager in Indy, chances are the Colts will circumvent having a debilitating contract on their payroll.

A prime example of this is Kenny Moore’s deal. While it’s fantastic for Indianapolis’ salary cap situation, could another dominant year from him create some contract tension?

What happens with Kenny Moore’s contract if he has another good season?

This is certainly a compelling question, especially when you consider that Ballard likes to get ahead of the eight ball in the contract department. It honestly wouldn’t be surprising if the fifth-year GM is already envisioning potential future negotiations with Moore, who’s become one of the best pound-for-pound slot cornerbacks in the NFL.

However, his current contract doesn’t reflect that. After a breakout year in 2019, the former undrafted talent signed a four-year, $33 million deal, which ranks him 24th among all CBs in terms of annual average salary. Though he works predominantly in the slot, his body of work suggests he deserves to be at least in the top 15 for the position.

The slot CB market is as top-heavy as you’d expect, and only a handful of specialists earn significant multi-year deals. Moore belongs in that group, as he’s arguably the Colts’ most important defensive player this side of Darius Leonard and DeForest Buckner.

Don’t believe us? In 2020, Moore finished first on Indy in both interceptions (four) and passes defended (13), as well as fourth fourth on the team in tackles (80). He also managed two sacks, which speaks to his versatility, and an interception-of-the-year contender in Week 14.

Go look at Moore’s career stats with the Colts and try convincing us that there’s no chance for potential contract tension if he puts together another monster season.

Is it possible he doesn’t make a fuss so Indianapolis is able to add marquee pieces around him as they continue to build a championship-caliber roster? No doubt, but we also wouldn’t blame Moore if he asked for a new contract that actually reflects what he brings to the table.

Something to think about as we inch closer to the start of the 2021 season.