In a rather stunning move, the Dallas Cowboys parted ways with offensive coordinator Kellen Moore late Sunday night. The move coincided with the Philadelphia Eagles reaching the Super Bowl after winning the NFC Championship Game, which is objectively hilarious timing.
Speaking of timing, Moore hits the open market at a time when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are trying to replace Byron Leftwich. Once considered to be a potential head coach candidate just a few years ago — with college programs calling him as well — Moore has apparently been scapegoated for the shortcoming of the Cowboys offense this season.
The Buccaneers aren’t the only team perking up at news of Moore’s dismissal in Dallas.
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero, the Los Angeles Chargers have already requested an interview with the newly unemployed Moore.
“Former Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore is expected to speak with the Chargers for their offensive coordinator opening, per me and Tom Pelissero,” Rapoport reported on Sunday night. “A newly available coordinator, Moore should figure prominently. Dallas had already given Los Angeles permission to speak with him.”
What’s the deal with Kellen Moore contract situation?
If you’re wondering why the Chargers would need permission to speak with Moore, it’s because he still technically has a contract with Dallas. Moore and the Cowboys did the old mutually agreed to part ways dance which is essentially a soft firing. If the Dallas fired Moore they’d owe him the money remaining on his contract, where a mutually parting of the ways would absolve Jerry Jones of that sort of debt.
Two years ago it appeared Moore was going to leave Dallas to become the next head coach at Boise State. Instead, the Cowboys gave him a multi-year contract extension, which kept him on Mike McCarthy’s staff and is the reason teams need permission to speak with him.
Given that the Cowboys want to get rid of him, securing permission shouldn’t be that hard.
Buccaneers rumors: Could Tampa Bay beat Los Angeles to hire Kellen Moore?
Tampa Bay should already be on the phone trying to do exactly that. Moore might have worn out his welcome in Dallas, but he’s still viewed as one of the sharpest offensive minds in the NFL. Proof of that is Brandon Staley instantly wanting to add him to his staff to work with Justin Herbert and potentially help save his job as head coach.
It should have been expected that the Bucs would have competition for Moore. As perfect as he is for Tampa Bay, he fits a number of offensive coordinator openings around the league. He’s not the type of guy teams should fire their coordinators to hire, but he’s someone who might be back in head coaching rumors in a season or two if he lands in the right place to remind everyone how great his offenses can be.
Tampa Bay is a tough sell in that regard. Where the Chargers can offer Herbert and Los Angeles’ explosive offense, the Bucs have no quarterback and a much shakier offensive situation.
One possible situation that could take Tampa Bay over the top would be if Tom Brady returns. Brady needing to learn a new offense after the firing of Leftwich takes away what might have been an ace up their sleeve, but hiring someone like Moore to help him work with Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and a healthy offensive line for a fourth year might be intriguing for all involved.