William Moore has been one of the most effective safeties in the NFL over the last three seasons. That's not really up for debate.
After losing almost all of 2009 to injury, Moore became a starter for good in 2010. All he's done since then it put up over 200 tackles, 11 interceptions, a sack-and-a-half and 25 pass deflections. He's one of the few thumpers this defense has, especially in the secondary, and his physicality and playmaking acumen have made him utterly invaluable.
There's a flip side to that coin, as always. Moore has only played a full 16 game season once, in 2010. In his other three seasons, he's played a combined 26 games. Injury has been a factor throughout his career, and he will be 28 heading into this season. He's also a free agent poised to receive a nice little contract.
The Falcons can't and won't lose Moore this off-season, given how important he is to the secondary. But they might also want to be cautious about tying up big money (for a safety) into someone who seems to miss multiple games most years. That means Moore is easily the likeliest designee for the franchise tag.
The Falcons aren't a team that uses the franchise tag often, especially under Thomas Dimitroff. It's the relative affordability of the safety franchise tag that makes this a possibility, and the possibility of taking a wait-and-see with Moore in 2013 must be tempting. It's clear they need him back, either way.
Do you think the Falcons will slap Moore with the franchise tag?