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Matt Moore: The next chapter awaits

Hart High graduate and Miami Dolphin Matt Moore will test the free agent market beginning March 12

Posted: March 3, 2013 10:46 p.m.
Updated: March 3, 2013 10:46 p.m.

Miami Dolphins quarterback and Hart High graduate Matt Moore (8) lost the starting job to Ryan Tannehill prior to the 2012 season.

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The next two weeks are an anxious time for Hart High graduate and NFL quarterback Matt Moore.

The NFL’s free agency period begins March 12. Until then, the only team he can talk to is his last one, the Miami Dolphins, because he is technically still under contract with them.

But this could potentially be the most intriguing and exciting time of his career NFL career.

Moore, in six seasons, has proven that he can be a reliable starting quarterback or a trusted backup, like he was this past season in Miami.

“I think I proved I can come off the bench, play well, run the offense, score points and win a ball game and kind of rally the guys,” Moore said.

NFL.com currently has him rated as the 59th best free agent available with the comment: “He’s better than just about every backup in the league — and a few starters.”

There are at least five teams in the NFL with instability at the quarterback position — the Buffalo Bills, New York Jets, Cleveland Browns, Jacksonville Jaguars and Arizona Cardinals. Maybe more, depending how one looks at it.

And more teams could use a second-string quarterback.

That’s good news for Moore, who in six NFL seasons with the Carolina Panthers (2007-2010) and Miami (2011-12), has been extremely reliable.

He has started 25 games, passed for 5,268 yards with 33 touchdowns to 26 interceptions and a 59.1 percent completion percentage.

Moore surrendered his starting job to rookie Ryan Tannehill last season, but led Miami to a victory in relief when Tannehill went down with an injury Oct. 28 at New York against the Jets.

“I kind of wore that role and I took it on and I was proud of that,” Moore said of being the backup. “Was it disappointing to not get the job? Sure. But I appreciate my job and what I’m supposed to do. I think I’m very good at (my job). ... I learned a lot, but I aided the team in a lot of ways. No regrets. No hard feelings. It was good to step back and watch Ryan, help Ryan, be the voice in the locker room. Being an older guy is different now. I had that going for me and the respect and relationships that are so great now that weren’t when I was a second-, third-year guy in the league.”

Moore, who will be 29 in August, said Miami does have interest in him returning.

But after March 12, his options are wide open.

“There are a lot of things I’m looking at — the rosters, who are the guys they have now. A lot of it is relationships with coaches because being in the league this long, you know somebody in a lot of places. Location,” Moore said of things he’s looking for in his next team.

“What it comes down to is a fair shake. You want to go in and compete for your job the best you can and be judged the right way. I don’t want anything sugarcoated and I don’t want to be put in a closet either. I’m sure I’ll get a sense of what that is when I talk to coaches or (general managers), so I don’t know if I can explain what the perfect (team) is, but a lot has to do with the people, the direction, the philosophy of the head coach.”

There are three things that stand out to any professional athlete, not including money — being a starter, security and a chance to win a championship.

Of the three, Moore didn’t choose which was most important to him.

In the end, it sounds like a combination.

“I think you play this game to win Super Bowls. There’s no doubt you strive to be the best,” Moore began. “I think in any player’s career, there’s a point where security’s very important. In terms of playing time, you’re going to play wherever you’re at, especially at the quarterback position. Which is why, yes, I do want to try and start somewhere, but being a backup, I don’t know what the numbers are. But two, three years ago, 62 (quarterbacks) started an NFL game and there are only 32 teams. Security, I can’t lie to you, is great.”

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