Steelers Poor Pass Blocker Earns Performance-Based Bonus

Dan Moore Jr.

Getty Pittsburgh Steelers left tackle Dan Moore Jr. received a bonus from the NFL's performance-based pay distributions.

Offensive tackle Dan Moore Jr. of the Pittsburgh Steelers left a lot to be desired in his 2023 play, particularly in pass protection. But he played well enough to earn about a three-quarters of a million dollar bonus.

The NFL announced on April 1 that Moore received a $740,000 bonus in the league’s performance-based pay distributions. That ranked him 23rd among all players who received a bonus in the program.

The program creates a fund to use as a supplemental form of payment to players based upon comparison of playing time to salary.

“Players become eligible to receive a bonus distribution in any regular season in which they play at least one official down,” the NFL wrote in a press release. “In general, players with higher playtime percentages and lower salaries benefit most from the pool.”

Offensive linemen generally benefit the most from the program. Moore was one of 11 offensive linemen who were among the top 25 in performance-based pay distributions for the 2023 season.

According to the Pro Football Focus player grades, Moore performed the worst in pass blocking among offensive tackles who played at least 50% of his team’s offensive snaps in 2023. In true pass blocking sets, Moore posted a 33.2 PFF grade out of 100.

Moore fared better as a run blocking. He earned a 60.4 run blocking grade from PFF.

Steelers’ Dan Moore Jr. Earns NFL Bonus

Although Moore didn’t play particularly well in 2023, it shouldn’t be a huge surprise he received the performance-based bonus. Moore also earned a bonus from the same program in 2022.

The Steelers drafted Moore in the fourth round of the 2021 NFL draft. Since then, he has started every game but two for Pittsburgh at left tackle.

Because of all of those starts, Moore earned another bonus with the league’s proven performance escalator. That will increase his salary for the final year of his rookie contract.

Moore’s bonus through the NFL’s performance-based pay distributions will not count toward Pittsburgh’s salary cap. But his increase in salary with the proven performance escalator will.

The Steelers left tackle will have a base salary of about $3.37 million for the 2024 season. That’s an increase of more than $2 million from $940,000 in 2023.

Will Moore Remain Steelers Starting Left Tackle?

Moore will make additional money during the 2024 season. But that doesn’t mean he will keep his job.

Steelers general manager Omar Khan made it rather clear at the NFL combine that the team drafted offensive tackle Broderick Jones to start at left tackle. Last year, Jones started the second half of the season at right tackle after Moore won the left tackle job in training camp.

At some point, Jones will move back to left tackle. The question entering offseason workouts is whether Jones will make that switch for 2024.

Based on the PFF player grades, Jones performed similarly to Moore. Jones did better in run blocking than pass protection, where he graded particularly poorly. Jones had a 47.6 pass blocking grade, which was third-worst among offensive tackles who played at least 50% of his team’s offensive snaps in the NFL.

Perhaps Jones will fare better, though, back at his more natural position of left tackle.

Whether the Steelers switch Jones to left tackle could depend on what the team targets in the NFL draft. The 2024 class is deep in quality offensive tackles, but most of the prospects aren’t bonafide left tackle studs.

With Jones’ versatility, though, the team has some flexibility. It could draft either a left or right tackle in the first round and start that prospect opposite Jones. In that situation, Moore, who isn’t a candidate to start at any position except left tackle, would head to the bench.

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