By Danny O’Neil
The Seahawks traded John Moffitt to Cleveland on Monday, an abrupt end after the guard’s plummet down the depth chart.
Seattle acquired defensive end Brian Sanford in the deal, but he has appeared in only six regular-season games in his three seasons since coming to Cleveland as an undrafted rookie. This deal isn’t significant because of who the Seahawks are gaining, but because of who they’re letting go.
Moffitt was drafted in the third round in 2011, and began his rookie season starting at right guard. He played half the season before suffering a season-ending knee injury, which impacted his conditioning the next year.
By the end of last season, Moffitt had lost his starting job to J.R. Sweezy, a rookie from North Carolina State who was transitioning from defensive line. Moffitt got himself in better shape this offseason, reporting to training camp 10 pounds lighter than a year ago, but he remained behind Sweezy in terms of practice repetitions.
Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell providing a telling conclusion when asked to assess the battle for playing time.
“I’d like to see a little bit more out of John,” Bevell said.
Less than a week later, Seattle decided it has seen enough of Moffitt.
His departure leads to more questions about the team’s situation at guard. Paul McQuistan is the starting left guard as James Carpenter has been out for the past two weeks because of a foot injury. Carpenter is walking without crutches, but is likely at least a week away from beginning practice.
Sweezy is the starter at right guard, Rishaw Johnson is a candidate to be the backup and there might be possibilities for rookies Michael Bowie and Alvin Bailey as well. Bowie was a seventh-round draft pick who has played tackle, but he played guard in Saturday’s exhibition game. Bailey has also been playing tackle, but was a guard in college.