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John Moffitt's weekend arrest has been national news because of his decision to retire midseason at age 27. (AP)

By Danny O'Neil

What happens after football?

It's a question every NFL player will be forced to answer at some point, and a question John Moffitt chose to answer when he left the Broncos in the middle of last season.

The fact that he quit football – and not the other way around – makes him unique. That's why The New York times wrote about him as did ESPN The Magazine, making him more renowned for his decision to leave football than he ever was by playing it.

And now that decision to walk away from the game is the reason that his arrest over the weekend in Chicago was national news. This wasn't just another 20-something in trouble in the early hours of the morning with an ill-advised punch and a copious amount of illegal drugs. This was a player who said he walked away from football in part because of concerns over his health caught with a whole bunch of drugs that doctors don't recommend nor do they prescribe.

So he's a punchline, which is understandable.

If he was a player, he would have to worry about the possibility of another suspension. As a person, it's impossible not to wonder about where Moffitt is headed when you look at his mug shot – which includes a welt on his lower lip, bleary eyes and what can only be described as a wince – and not worry at least a little bit for his future.

That's not to overly dramatize the situation or make his arrest into some sort of moral failing. This is about decisions and direction, and wondering just what Moffitt is planning to do after an unexpectedly short football career.

He is an adult, after all. He's not a high-school kid who didn't know any better or a college kid who is experimenting. He is 27, has made a six-figure salary over the past three years and now has lots and lots of time on his hands.

What's he going to do with that time? That's the real question here, one that only Moffitt can answer.

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Police reportedly found cocaine, ecstasy and marijuana on John Moffitt when he was arrested on battery and drug possession charges after an incident at a Chicago nightclub. (Chicago Police)
He left the NFL not because he didn't love football, but because he felt burdened by the sport. He didn't like what he was doing, the practicing nor the playing. He didn't like how the practicing and the playing made him feel. He was a third-round pick in 2011 who saw his rookie year ended by a knee injury, and that knee continued to be a problem to the point the Browns said he failed his physical examination because of it.

He was subsequently dealt to the Broncos, becoming the only player to suit up for both of the Super Bowl teams. But he didn't play in the Super Bowl, having walked away from the sport after the Broncos' bye.

Professional football didn't make him happy. So what will? Professionally partying? That seems like a rather shallow – not to mention potentially illegal – path. His Twitter account offers the self-description of "active happiness pursuer."

He's charismatic and engaging, someone with personality and an enthusiastic approach to life, a great wit and an unorthodox way of looking at things. He was always one of my favorite players to talk to when he was with the Seahawks because he was so unique.

He certainly has the personality to perform, whether that's in the media or on stage. I'd buy a ticket to listen to him tell stories about football, whether it's coaches or teammates.

But the post-career transition that Moffitt must now make has tripped up so many players across so many sports.

For all the wealth in sports today, the athletes have an incredibly short window in which to earn that money. Not only that, but they're earning much of it in their 20s, which is not an age bracket that tends to make the best long-range financial decisions. Then they have the whole rest of their lives to worry about. For some that means finding a new profession. For every one of them it means a new way of finding fulfillment and feeling satisfied.

It's a decision that most athletes put off as long as possible, staying in the game until they can't anymore. Last year, Moffitt chose to make this transition.

Now, we'll see if he makes the most of it or makes a mess. I sure hope it's not the latter.

By Danny O'Neil

Seahawks tight end Zach Miller isn't going anywhere this year.

Next year, either, after he agreed to restructure his contract, which has two seasons remaining on it.

Seahawks free-agency tracker
Keep track of the players Seattle has re-signed, added, lost to other teams and released during free agency here.
Miller won't get as much money as his original deal called for, but he will not only stay with the Seahawks but the expectation is that he'll be back in 2015, too.

It's great news for the Seahawks as not only is Miller a starter, but tight end is one of the barest spots on the roster with Luke Wilson and Anthony McCoy – who did not play in 2013 because of an Achilles injury – below Miller on the depth chart.

Miller was on the field for 58 of Seattle's 60 offensive plays in the Super Bowl, and is one of the league's best blocking tight ends.

Miller signed with the Seahawks in 2011 from Oakland, and he has two years remaining on his deal. His initial deal called for him to make $6 million in 2014 and he would have counted more than $7 million against the salary cap. Miller's 2014 compensation will go down to $3 million with incentives making it possible to earn as much as $4 million.

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The Broncos' free-agent spending spree is a reflection of their urgency to win given Peyton Manning's age. (AP)

By Danny O'Neil

Thirty-five points. That was the gap between the Seahawks and Broncos back on Feb. 2 in the Super Bowl.

Thirty-five million. That's the gap between those two teams when it comes to free-agent additions in the first week of free agency, the Broncos taking a two-fisted approach to spending on other team's players while the Seahawks' only moves of any significance have been to re-sign a pair of their own players.

That spending gap says everything you need to know about how far apart last season's Super Bowl teams are in the life cycle of an NFL contender. The Seahawks are still a young team, one that is early in its window as a contender and looking to sustain the success. The Broncos are only hoping to win now.

There's no other way to explain the spending spree Denver just went on, handing out at least $35 million in signing bonuses and first-year salaries to a trio of defensive players who will undoubtedly be short-term upgrades at a long-term cost.

Not that the players Denver signed aren't any good. Aqib Talib is one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL though he has never played a full 16 games in any season, DeMarcus Ware remains a premier pass rusher even after Dallas released him while safety T.J. Ward is one of the league's top designated hitters.

This will help Denver's defense. It will also mortgage their spending room for the future, and puts a lot of faith that these three players – all of whom are at least 27 – will not tail off.

Seahawks free-agency tracker
Keep track of the players Seattle has re-signed, added, lost to other teams and released during free agency here.
Not that Denver should be blamed for a sense of urgency that is bordering on desperation. Quarterback Peyton Manning doesn't have a long-term future, not with his neck. He has said himself he considers it a year-to-year deal, and the Broncos' window of contention right now doesn't extend beyond Manning's tenure with the team. Well, not unless you think Brock Osweiler is a suitable heir or believe John Elway will be able to recruit another Hall of Fame quarterback to Mile High.

Seattle is thinking down the road, which is the reason the Seahawks have been on defense since free agency began. They want to retain as many players as they could – an impossible task given the fact that even the Seahawks' backups were coveted elsewhere – while maintaining the long-term salary-cap space Seattle will need to re-sign Pro Bowlers like Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas and Russell Wilson.

So while the Broncos spent the first days of free agency trying to buy that player or three that will put them over the top, the Seahawks are looking at the best way to stay up there. It's a long-term vision that Denver doesn't have the luxury of right now.

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Defensive tackle Henry Melton had 13 sacks from 2011-2012 but missed most of last season with a knee injury. (AP)

By Danny O'Neil

For nearly a week now, Seattle has paid the price for its success.

That cost is calculated not only in the departures of receiver Golden Tate and right tackle Breno Giacomini – who cashed in elsewhere as free agents – but the money it took to retain Michael Bennett and to a lesser extent Tony McDaniel.

Success doesn't breed contempt in the free-agent era of the NFL. It breeds competition in the market place, and those players who've proven they can play a role on a championship team tend to command a premium in the open market.

But while Seattle spent the first few days of free agency paying that Super Bowl premium, the Seahawks may be about to get the advantage that comes from their position in the league's pecking order. And yes, there are benefits beyond what gets display in a trophy case.

That benefit is the reason why Seattle has a chance of landing defensive tackle Henry Melton of the Bears or Vance Walker of the Raiders.

The big-budget deals have been handed out across the league, and neither Melton nor Walker were part of that first-wave of signings. That means their price wasn't met, their best-case scenario failing to come through. They're still standing in the NFL's game of musical chairs, looking for the best spot to settle down.

This is where Seattle starts to look pretty enticing. Some of that is the Seahawks' success, having won more than 10 games in back-to-back seasons. Even more may be the fact that Seattle just won a Super Bowl. And then there's the fact that a defensive lineman need look no further than Bennett to see just what a season in Seattle can do to kickstart earning potential.

Bennett signed a $4.8 million contract in 2013, certainly less than he hoped for coming off a season in which he had nine sacks for Tampa Bay. But when that big-money offer never materialized, he went to Seattle, where he knew defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and where he knew the home-field advantage was truly that for a pass rusher. All Bennett did last season was lead Seattle in sacks, earning an invitation back to Seattle with a four-year deal that is certain to pay him $16 million and could top out at more $28 million.

Could Melton follow a similar approach? He was tagged as the Bears' franchise player a year ago, a relentless active defensive tackle with great speed. He suffered a season-ending knee injury in the third game, which has undoubtedly chilled his earning potential on the free-agent market this year.

Seahawks free-agency tracker
Keep track of the players Seattle has re-signed, added, lost to other teams and released during free agency here.
Melton still has options. It's just those options aren't as lucrative as he first hoped, a fact that plays to Seattle's advantage. The Seahawks can't afford to pay another defensive lineman as much as they signed Bennett for. Not with Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas eligible for extensions and a new deal for Russell Wilson looming on the horizon.

What Seattle can offer is a tremendous opportunity to be part of a defense that allowed the fewest points in the NFL and whose crowd offers perhaps the best home-field advantage in the league. A year ago, that sales pitch was enough to lure first Cliff Avril and then Bennett to Seattle. Neither one of those players got the long-term offers they hoped for in free agency. Both opted instead for short-term deals on a contending team in a venue that would give them the best case to showcase themselves.

So while success may cost you in the NFL, it can also pay dividends. The Seahawks certainly hope it does again.

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Golden Tate, Seattle's leading receiver in 2013, signed a deal with the Lions worth $31 million over five years. (AP)

By Danny O'Neil

Losses are inevitable in the NFL.

That's as true in free agency as it is on the football field, and Wednesday's news that wide receiver Golden Tate was headed to Detroit constitutes the most significant free-agent loss the Seahawks have suffered under general manager John Schneider.

Players have left before. Good players like Nate Burleson. Even a great Seahawk like Matt Hasselbeck, but those were instances in which the team moved on as much as the player did.

Tate is different. He was someone Seattle drafted, someone Seattle developed and the one who led this run-first offense in receptions during a Super Bowl season. And he didn't leave for a jaw-dropping sum of money.

Five years at just over $30 million? That's not Percy Harvin money. It's not Mike Wallace money. More like Brian Hartline money.

It was not exorbitant, and the fact that Tate is gone shows the level of financial discipline that Seattle must have. The Seahawks truly can't sign everyone who has been important -- essential even -- to the team's success so far. Not with Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas due for extensions, Russell Wilson's new deal looming a year from now and Harvin set to be counting more than $10 million against the cap beginning this season.

Letting Tate go wasn't a case of financial belt tightening like releasing Sidney Rice or Chris Clemons or even Red Bryant. This was Seattle making a value judgment, and deciding that paying Tate a contract that averaged more than $6 million just wasn't worth it to retain him.

It's not going to be the last time Seattle is forced to make a decision like that, and in some ways, the biggest surprise is that it has taken this long before the team had to wave goodbye instead of reaching for its wallet. An NFL team can't afford to reward everyone after winning the Super Bowl. At least not with a salary cap.

That doesn't make Tate's departure any less difficult, though. And now that Seattle has decided that Tate was too expensive, the question is how costly his loss will turn out to be.

By Danny O'Neil

Free-agent departures are the price of success in the NFL, a league where imitation isn't as high a form of flattery as acquisition.

So it wasn't a surprise that Seattle had two players from its Super Bowl roster poached within the first hour that NFL free agents could be signed. The surprise is who those players were: defensive tackle Clinton McDonald and linebacker O'Brien Schofield.

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O'Brien Schofield received a two-year, $8 million deal from the Giants after playing sparingly for Seattle in 2013. (AP)
Their departures aren't the price of Seattle's success so much as a sign of it.

See, both were backups for the Seahawks. In fact, Schofield was inactive for one of Seattle's three playoff games, yet no sooner had the free-agency carousel begun to spin than they were signed to multi-year commitments elsewhere in the conference.

The second tier of Seattle's roster constituted an upgrade for the Buccaneers, who signed McDonald to a three-year deal worth $12 million, as well as the Giants, who signed Schofield to a two-year deal that could net him $8 million.

It wasn't all that long ago that Seattle was sifting through the rest of the league's recycling bin looking for hand-me-downs. Less than four years, in fact, since Seattle added seven players in the week between the final roster cuts and the first game of 2010.

Four seasons later, not only do the Seahawks have a Super Bowl trophy, but they have teams coveting players who are on the second rung of Seattle's depth chart – or in Schofield's case, the third.

That's not to diminish the ability of either player. McDonald may have been the single biggest surprise of the 2013 season, a player the Seahawks released before Week 1 because they weren't going to pay him $1.3 million only to have him come back and become a staple of the nickel pass-rush package.

He had 5.5 sacks in the regular season, equaling the total of Lions All-Pro defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. McDonald started the Super Bowl, but he was also the No. 2 nose tackle for a team on which Brandon Mebane had one of his best seasons. Seattle has high hopes for Jordan Hill, a 2013 third-round pick who has three years left on his rookie contract.

Schofield was only with Seattle for a season, a player acquired in training camp with an eye toward filling in during the first four games while Bruce Irvin was suspended. He was better than serviceable, a special-teams staple and a capable pass rusher. But with Michael Bennett back, Schofield was a reserve.

Now, he's a Giant.

The Seahawks aren't better off for losing either player. It cost them depth. But their departures are also a sign of just how much better this roster is than four years ago when the Seahawks were the NFL equivalent of dumpster diving in search of their next meal.

Now, other teams are trying to cook something up with Seattle's leftovers.

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The Seahawks gave Michael Bennett a four-year deal reportedly worth $28.5 million to keep him in Seattle. (AP)

By Danny O'Neil

Seattle's defense of the Super Bowl it won just last month began with just that: Defense.

Namely, the Seahawks fending off the other suitors for defensive lineman Michael Bennett so effectively that they signed him more than 24 hours before he was able to be inked elsewhere.

Only time will tell whether the four-year contract pays off for Seattle, which makes it impossible to pass judgment on the prudence of this move. On the other hand, it makes it very clear that experience counts for something in the Seahawks' vision of their future. So does effort. And more than anything, Seattle isn't going to be afraid to pony up at the bargaining table when it comes to retaining its most productive parts.

That last fact – Seattle's willingness to cut a check – might turn out to be the most important thing not only in terms of this team's direction but because the deal will offer an eight-digit example to players on Seattle's roster that they don't have to leave to find greener pastures.

A year ago, Bennett was a bargain buy after hitting the free-agent market with one big season under his belt and a bad shoulder. Throw in a salary cap that stayed stagnant and his dive into the open market felt more like one of those polar-bear plunges performed annually by people who have more time on their hands than sense in their heads. Brrr. It was cold out there, and while signing a one-year contract for about $5 million as Bennett did a year ago hardly qualifies as blue-collar work, it was nowhere near the going rate for a defensive lineman who had more than eight sacks for a second consecutive season in 2013.

And if Seattle had bid Bennett farewell instead of outbidding other teams, that would have been perfectly defensible. After all, the Seahawks still have to think about how they're going to pay Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas and Russell Wilson, so if Seattle had instead looked to find the next short-term fix who would provide a quick return, well, it would have been certainly more affordable.

After all, there are tough decisions that must be made in a salary-capped league like the NFL. The Seahawks showed that a little more than a week ago when they released Red Bryant, who was only a captain on a defense that allowed the fewest points in the league for a second consecutive season.

Like Bryant, Bennett was part of a defensive-line rotation in Seattle. And Bryant was scheduled to count about the same against the salary cap that Bennett will end up averaging.

The fact that Bennett will be on the Seahawks instead of Bryant isn't just a statement on how much the Seahawks value Bennett and his pass-rushing ability, but how much they're willing to pay to retain players they identify as key cogs.

That's important because we're getting to that point in Seattle's life cycle as a contender that players are going to start looking for the pay day. That's not a criticism, but a reality. And if Bennett had been allowed to leave as a free agent the year after leading Seattle in sacks, well, there would have been some who wondered if that was going to be the way to get paid a market-rate contract given the future costs of not only players like Wilson, Sherman and Thomas, but the deal for Percy Harvin that will occupy a healthy chunk of Seattle's salary cap beginning this year.

Instead, Seattle came forth with an offer that kept Bennett from reaching a window in which he could sign elsewhere. There's going to be a fair amount of time spent this week wondering if Bennett could have gotten more elsewhere and the financial specifics, but for now, it's enough to know that Seattle came out firing in defense of that Super Bowl it one, the contract offer of sufficient caliber to keep one of the key contributors on that defense that was the bedrock for that title run.

By Brent Stecker

Even with the Mariners' opening day just a little over two weeks away, the worries about their lineup persist.

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Corey Hart signed a one-year deal with the M's after missing all of 2013. (AP)

The free-agent signing of left-handed Robinson Cano was the splashy addition to Seattle's offense, but the team wasn't able to really address the lack of punch from the right side except for the signing of 6-foot-6 outfielder/first baseman Corey Hart. As a result, the Mariners have been rumored for months to be in the market to acquire another big bat, though nothing has materialized.

With time running out before the regular season, it appears Hart is going to be relied upon more than originally expected to help Cano bring life back to the Mariners' lineup. But the former Milwaukee Brewer and two-time All-Star has a number of question marks surrounding him, especially since the soon-to-be 32-year-old missed the entire 2013 season following knee surgery.

ESPN senior baseball writer Tim Kurkjian joined 710 ESPN Seattle's "Brock and Danny" Friday, and he addressed the expectations for Hart if the Mariners don't add another hitter before opening day.

"Well, he's crucial," Kurkjian said. "You talk about the right-handed hitter that they had to add. (If) they don't, then he is that right-handed hitter, and I'm not sure he's up to being the lone, main protection for Robinson Cano."

In his prime, Hart may have been up to the task. In 2010 he set career highs with 31 home runs and 102 RBIs, along with a .283 batting average and .865 OPS. The Mariners would be extremely lucky to get that kind of production out of a player coming off a significant injury that they signed to a discount one-year contract for $6 million, though.

"It's a tricky spot for Corey Hart -- pressure on him, hasn't played in a year and a half," Kurkjian said. "(It's) not an easy game to catch up to when you've been away that that long."

The good news is Hart has looked healthy in spring training, and a healthy Hart can produce at the plate. Whether he can produce enough to turn the Mariners' into a formidable offense still seems like a long-shot to Kurkjian, however.

"He's a great athlete and I'm convinced he's healthy, and when he's healthy he's a mid-20s-homer guy who can do some damage," Kurkjian said. "I think he'll hit 20 homers, I just don't think he's gonna be the guy that people look at and say, 'Oh, we can pitch to Cano because Corey Hart's up next.' "

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Brock Huard

Brock Huard has co-hosted the show since 2009. After earning Gatorade Player of the Year honors at Puyallup High School, Brock went on to a record-setting career at Washington and then spent six years in the NFL, including four with the Seahawks. Brock also works for ESPN as a college football analyst in the booth and the studio. He makes his home on the Eastside with his wife Molly and their three young children.

Danny O'Neil

Danny O'Neil, the new co-host of "Brock and Danny", is the son of a logger, a graduate of the University of Washington and has been a working journalist in Seattle since 1999, first at newspapers and since 2012 at 710 ESPN Seattle. He is married to Sharon Pian Chan, associate opinions editor at The Seattle Times. They live on Capitol Hill with their wrinkled, smelly dog.

Tom Wassell

Tom Wassell has produced the show since 2011 and also co-hosts "Seattle Sports at Night" with Colin Paisley and Matt Pitman. A native of Connecticut, Tom came to 710 ESPN Seattle after working at ESPN Radio's headquarters in Bristol, Conn. for five years. Tom studied communications at Indiana University, is color-blind and has a weak sense of smell.



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