Denver Broncos rookie safety Rahim Moore will be short $20,000 after the NFL fined him that amount Thursday for his hit on Buffalo Bills receiver Donald Jones during the Broncos 24-10 win over the Bills last Saturday.
As the above video shows, the Bills were facing a third-and-long late in the second quarter. Buffalo quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick tried to hit Jones running down the far sidelines, and the pass was put into an area where Jones could catch it.
Moore timed the play perfectly, arriving just as Jones was attempting to make the reception. He leaned with his shoulder and made solid impact, connecting with Jones's chest while jarring the ball out of his hands. The side judge on the play threw a flag for hitting a defenseless receiver—a 15-yard infraction that gave the Bills a first down.
But the penalty isn't the problem here. Moore will be forking over a good chunk of change—which will actually be more in the $5,000-range after a new CBA rule states that a fine cannot take more than 25 percent of a player's weekly salary. He joins a long list of players fined that amount ($20,000 base) this preseason
Still, isn't NFL wrong in levying that kind of fine for a hit like this?
Now, don't get me wrong, I'm all for making the game more safe. But this was a clean hit from Moore.
He leaned with his shoulder, caught Jones below the helmet and was making an attempt to jar the football loose. It was a football move and really, the only option Moore had. What was he supposed to do? Pull up and let Jones make the catch unattended? He did what all players would have done in that situation.
Maybe the NFL sees that as something they want out of the game. Jones's injury and initial reaction (clearly knocked out or in a daze) were obviously a part of the equation. If he bounces right up, does Moore still get a fine?
We can't get the answers to hypothetical questions. Here is what Moore told the Denver Post, however:
"I want the guy to at least make it out of bed the next morning. I mean no harm. But you know what? It's football. … If you don't be physical, somebody else will. I don't want to hurt anybody to where it jeopardizes his season or his career. If it was the wrong thing to do, I apologize."
I like what the NFL has done to help make the game more safe. There's no doubt about that. But they had ample opportunity to look at this play, in both real-time and slow motion, and make an accurate assessment of Moore's actions.
In the end, I think they got this one wrong.