Seahawks trade Moffit to Browns

John Moffitt was named a starting guard before he ever practiced for the Seahawks. Two years later, Seattle deemed the former third-round pick expendable, sending Moffitt to Cleveland in exchange for defensive lineman Brian Sanford.

Moffitt was the No. 75 pick in the 2011 draft and Seattle’s second pick that year, and at the time offensive line coach Tom Cable immediately announced he and James Carpenter would start off with the No. 1 offense. Moffitt started nine games as a rookie, and after some early struggles he appeared to be hitting his stride when he injured his knee and landed on injured reserve. Moffitt was also given a four-game suspension for violating the league’s policy on performance enhancing drugs — according to his agent it was for taking Adderall without a prescription — but served that suspension while on the IR.

Moffitt was expected to return to the starting lineup last year, but the surprise emergence of rookie J.R. Sweezy led to a season-long battle for playing time between the two, with Moffitt starting six games. Sweezy, a defensive tackle in college who the Seahawks moved to guard last year, had been ahead of Moffitt in that competition during training camp, and did enough for the Seahawks to view Moffitt as expendable.

“Sweezy has done really well,” Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said last week. “J.R. is way ahead of where he was a year ago, and he’s trying to hold (Moffitt) off, but John is working hard at it. … (Sweezy) is getting more reps and he goes first, so he’s got an edge in that regard. But we’re giving John a great chance to see what he can do with it.”

In Sanford, the Seahawks acquire a 6-2, 280-pound lineman who went undrafted in 2010 out of Temple. It is unclear exactly how he’ll fit into Seattle’s defensive line rotation, though he is listed at left defensive tackle on this week’s depth chart. Sanford has appeared in just six games for the Browns, including five in 2011 when he was credited with five tackles.

Moffitt told Sports Radio 950 KJR that he was “shocked” by the trade, but that he held no ill will towards the organization.

Moffitt is the fourth member of the Seahawks’ nine-player 2011 draft class who is no longer with the team, joining fourth-round pick Kris Durham (wide receiver), fifth-round pick Mark LeGree (safety) and seventh-round pick Pep Levingston (defensive lineman). Considering that first-round pick James Carpenter has battled too many injuries to live up to his draft status, at least thus far in his career, that draft class looks like it could be the worst of Carroll and John Schneider’s first three drafts. Especially if you factor in that their original third-round pick that year went to San Diego for quarterback Charlie Whitehurst. Though it of course it also shows how well the Seahawks have drafted when a class that included Richard Sherman, K.J. Wright and Malcolm Smith could be considered Carroll and Schneider’s “bad” draft.

Wiggs released

In addition to the Seahawks settling the competition at guard, they also made a move that indicates they are sticking with Steven Hauschka as their kicker. Seattle released Carson Wiggs Monday, a move that hardly comes as a surprise. Hauschka had been the more accurate kicker throughout camp, and has shown a bigger leg this year, a sign that he seems to be improving in his one perceived weakness.

To fill the open roster spot, the Seahawks signed defensive tackle Dewayne Cherrington, an undrafted rookie out of Mississippi State.

Herald Writer John Boyle: jboyle@heraldnet.com.

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