UPDATE: The trade has been voided. Check Dawgs By Nature's home page for the latest.
The Cleveland Browns traded DE Brian Sanford to the Seattle Seahawks Monday evening in exchange for OG John Moffitt. The Browns also announced that they have terminated the contract of FB Brock Bolen, who missed most of training camp with an injury. Cleveland's roster now sits at 89 players, so they will likely sign somebody this week, perhaps after holding a few tryouts.
The big story here is the acquisition of Moffitt. On the surface, this seems like a major score for Joe Banner and Michael Lombardi -- and by "major score," I mean someone who can step into the starting role at right guard for the first two games of the regular season before giving way to either Shawn Lauvao or Jason Pinkston. Here is some background information on Moffitt:
- He was a 3rd round pick by the Seahawks in 2011, starting 9 games as a rookie. In 2012, he started 6 games, including 4 at right guard and 2 at left guard. He was a spot starter last year, starting two consecutive games in a row at three different points of the season. He is 6-4, 319 pounds.
- The story in Seattle was that Moffitt was competing for a starting spot at right guard this season, but it appeared as though J.R. Sweezy has pulled ahead as the leader in the competition. The Seahawks have a fair amount of depth on the offensive line, but were looking to bolster their defensive line.
- Moffitt is still on his original rookie deal, meaning he'll be under contract through 2014. Whether it's as a backup or a starter, I see no reason why he doesn't stay on the Browns' roster all year. Since Shawn Lauvao is a free agent at the end of the year, this gives Cleveland a few more options in terms of looking ahead to their depth in 2014. Moffitt can also play backup center, which is a role that Lauvao also held.
- In terms of his performance in the NFL, it sounds like Moffitt has been adequate in pass protection, but gets pushed back too much in the run game. He had a season-ending knee injury in 2011 after starting the first 9 games, so that can be seen as perhaps the "setback" of his career; otherwise, he would still seem to have a good amount of potential left in him.
Here is how Pro Football Focus graded Moffitt; if someone wants to interpret the figure, please do:
New #Browns guard John Moffitt graded at -27.6 on his 997 snaps in his two years in Seattle— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) August 19, 2013
There is still a chance that rookie OG Garrett Gilkey will start on opening day, but my projection is that Moffitt will have the edge. The fact that Cleveland traded a player, and not a draft pick, for Moffitt makes the deal even sweeter. Sanford has been with Cleveland for four years now, but he has never been put in position to contribute on gameday.
I thought Sanford was just camp fodder this year, but he drew high marks from the coaching staff and did have a chance to make the final roster. If he had made it, though, he would've been buried on the depth chart. This trade is a win for both teams, but more so for the Browns -- Sanford might still end up getting released by the Seahawks in two weeks, and I'm sure the Browns kept that in mind too.