Earlier this week, the Raiders made a move that was a bit of a surprise for some. They traded away former third round pick and starting linebacker, Sio Moore, to the Colts in exchange for a sixth round draft pick in 2016. Now, according to head coach Jack Del Rio, the Raiders simply got something for a player who was to be cut anyway.
"He wasn't going to make our team." Del Rio said of Moore. "We had depth there that we're really happy about. We brought in two free agent linebackers, they're both playing very well. We brought in two draft picks, they're both playing very well. We developed a guy at the position that's returning in Ray Ray and we added a guy that we think is a real core difference maker on special teams, so we've got a full group. So, it was an opportunity to acquire a pick for a guy that somebody else may want to have."
The two linebackers the Raiders signed this offseason were Curtis Lofton and Malcolm Smith. The draft picks were fifth rounders Ben Heeney and Neiron Ball. All of whom, along with Ray Ray Armstrong all got reps on the team's third preseason game while Sio was relegated to special teams duties. Then after the game the Raiders signed Lorenzo Alexander to do that job.
Part of the issue for Moore may have been the hip injury he suffered last season that caused him to have major surgery last January to repair it. He rehabbed throughout the offseason and returned for training camp.
His time in camp lasted about a week before going out injured again and he returned the week prior to the team's third preseason game. With Alexander on board, Sio wasn't even on special teams duties in the final game of the preseason. He didn't see a snap until the final defensive drive of the game -- a total of ten snaps.
Jack Del Rio said at the time that the guys who played were the ones who earned it. The next day, Moore was traded.
Either the Raiders' linebacking corps is so much better than it was last year or Sio Moore had taken some serious steps back. Or there's a bit more to it than meets the eye. It's possible it's a combination of all three. Regardless, the Raiders move forward and Sio moves on.