The Philadelphia Eagles made a very interesting signing last week when it decided to sign formerly retired offensive lineman John Moffitt to a one-year deal. Moffitt turned down more money from other teams to sign with the Birds. Will the veteran be able to get his career back on track in the City of Brotherly Love?
1) For what it’s worth, Moffitt didn’t grade out very well on Pro Football Focus during his time in Seattle. How would you evaluate his performance? Which position does he have more experience at: LG or RG?
Yeah, he was a fairly inconsistent player early on, and despite earning the starting job outright as a rookie, he had his struggles. You’d expect that of a rookie 3rd rounder, of course, and overall Seattle’s line back in 2011 was pretty patched together, with Moffitt playing next to fellow rookie James Carpenter, who was a right tackle his first season. The Seahawks had just started installing their Tom Cable zone blocking scheme that year and there was a pretty big learning curve for everyone. That’s not to completely absolve Moffitt of his play, but it’s really not surprising he struggled as a rookie.
He injured two knee ligaments in Week 13 and was placed on injured reserve though, and he served a four-game suspension for PEDs at that time (apparently Adderall, of which he had a prescription, but had mistakenly not gotten clearance for... allegedly).
His second season wasn’t all that much better — he lost his starting job to a rookie in J.R. Sweezy initially, ended up re-gaining it along the way, then lost it again later in the season. After a series of run-ins with the law during and following his second year (public urination related), the Seahawks sent him packing to the Browns. The Browns voided that deal, and so Seattle sent him to the Broncos. Considering they gave him up for relatively unknown depth players that soon got cut, it seemed that the Seahawks had just ran out of patience with him and he wasn’t good enough for them to overlook the distractions he was creating.
Overall, I honestly can’t remember much of Moffitt’s play, which suggests that he was not very impressive nor a total liability on the field. He mostly played right guard for Seattle, but also got some action at left guard. If I remember correctly, he also got reps at center in practices, and Tom Cable has a history of playing his interior linemen at all three spots for added versatility.
2) I’ve noticed you call Moffitt a [fan/player favorite] in Seattle. Why is that? What will Eagles fans like about him?
He’s a funny dude. A lot of people said that he reminded them of John Belushi originally, mostly for his looks, but also because he’s jovial, outgoing, and a fan of irreverent hi-jinks. He did a lot of media stuff on his free time, was a regular on the radio, and even made a few videos. He was one of the most entertaining "characters" on The Real Rob Report with then-Seahawks’ fullback Michael Robinson.
He’s also very genuine and personable, and I’m guessing that the Philly media will take to him if he ends up doing much media. The stuff that happened off the field was partly funny (he got in trouble for pissing in parking lots on multiple occasions) but also annoying because of the distraction it created. Overall though, I think he was pretty loved by his teammates and coaches in his time in Seattle, but the distractions became a little too much to handle.
3) What was the reaction from Seattle fans when the Seahawks traded him away to the Broncos?
By that point in time, it was relatively surprising because he had projected as a potential starter at left guard in 2013. That said, he’d had his fair share of off-field issues, combined with the PED suspension, and the Seahawks decided to move on. I think people were disappointed to lose a personality like his, but it wasn’t like anyone was in hysterics when he was traded.
4) To what extent are you confident Moffitt can stay out of trouble after dealing with some off the field issues in the past?
I really wouldn’t know, nor wager a guess. I think that everyone's path to sobriety (and the work and commitment that it takes in sticking to it) is different. I think it says a lot that Jay Glazer vouched for him so strongly, because Glazer seems like a no-BS type of guy. Moffitt must have really impressed him. If Moffitt has really defeated his demons and is determined to make it in the NFL, you could have a steal on your hands. He was well-known as a hard worker and a talented guy for his time at Wisconsin — which made his retirement and all that fairly surprising — but obviously there were things going on behind the scenes that he needed to take care of. If he has put that in the past, you could have just signed a solid backup with the longer-term potential to start for pennies.
5) It looks like Moffitt will be in the mix to compete for the starting job at right guard. Do you think he can be a solid starter in the NFL or do you see him more as a backup only?
I wouldn’t get my hopes up that he’s anything but a backup. At one point, I would have told you that he could be a consistent sure-fire starter, but he was so inconsistent early on, couldn’t hold on to his starting job in Seattle, and now it’s impossible to know how he’ll play after two years away from the game. If he has his head screwed on straight now, that could make a big difference. I will say that his upside is definitely as a starter, but in reality he’s more likely to be a backup or bubble type of player.