End-of-season player exit meetings are not something that we are often privy to as outsiders of the football world. Generally, we only get a glimpse into that world when a player is asked by a reporter how the meeting went, if the player is willing to discuss it.
Still, it’s not generally a hard concept to grasp, and we have a pretty good feel by now of how Mike Tomlin and his staff likes to operate, and we see all the game film, so it’s not an overly difficult project to simulate. If we were to administer the end-of-season player exit meetings, it might go something like this.
Player: Lance Moore
Position: Wide Receiver
Experience: 10 Years
The Steelers were not taken by surprise by any means when wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders chose to sign elsewhere in free agency. There was no way the team would match the contract he ultimately received.
It was a surprise, however, after Jerricho Cotchery began fielding serious offers. He wound up signing elsewhere, and suddenly the Steelers found themselves without two thirds of the top of their wide receiver depth chart.
The front office did reach out to Lance Moore after Cotchery began taking visits in preparation for what seemed like the unlikely, but after the latter signed elsewhere, the Steelers were quick to sign Moore, whom they anticipated fulfilling a similar role as an experienced slot receiver.
But Moore’s progress was derailed after suffering a groin injury during the preseason. The injury lingered into the season, causing him to miss the first two games, and upon his return, he found it difficult to find playing time.
In fact, just as the Steelers had moved away from Justin Brown, who assumed the vast majority of the third receiver snaps during the first six weeks, they immediately turned to the rookie Martavis Bryant, who quickly seized upon the opportunity and never looked back.
In 14 games, Moore caught only 14 passes for 198 yards. He caught a 26-yard touchdown pass late in a meaningless blowout loss, and a few weeks later, was on the receiving end of a gadget play near the goal line with a wide receiver throwing.
Those numbers are certainly not indicative of the contributions the Steelers were anticipating when they signed him, though his signing was also in part an insurance policy in the event that some of their younger receivers struggled to come on.
Ultimately, the receiving corps showed that they could get by without him contributing much, and so he was overlooked in favor of the youth on the roster. The situation doesn’t look any better for him in 2015.
Unsurprisingly, reports surfaced that Moore has requested to be released, which is a request that the Steelers are likely to oblige, given that his past and projected future contributions don’t really add up to much more than a veteran-minimum contract. While the Steelers could use an experienced veteran for depth, Moore didn’t appear to be the solution.