Denver Broncos guard John Moffitt made news when he decided he was done with football. When players were to report coming off of the Broncos bye week, Moffitt went to John Elway to tell him he was done, even with the Broncos potential Super Bowl chances. Moffitt simply did not want to do it anymore. Before he was a Bronco, he was a Cleveland Brown for about twenty minutes and has come out and said the Browns failed his physical when he refused to take a pay cut.
When the Browns were down both Shawn Lauvao and Jason Pinkston, they were looking for guard help to get them through. They also had an extra defensive lineman that they knew they could not keep but had enough talent to be attractive to another team in defensive tackle Brian Sanford. A deal was reached with the Seattle Seahawks, who had a rash of injuries along the defensive line. The Browns took Moffitt and the Seahawks took Sanford, both as potential short term injury replacements, pending the results of the physical.
The important part of the physical is that it is an opinion. The doctors give the team their diagnosis and analysis of the situation and suggest an approach to the situation. With 32 teams, there are potentially 32 different opinions of an injury. It is possible that the Browns would have found Moffitt’s injury more passable at a lower cap number as is being suggested, but it is virtually impossible to prove. A lower cap number means less risk, so teams can be more willing to pass a player with an injury.
The Browns, whether it was cap related or not, decided to fail Moffitt on his physical; Moffitt went back to Seattle and the Browns got back Sanford. Later, the Seahawks made a deal with the Broncos for Moffitt to get another reserve defensive tackle in Sealver Siliga, currently out of the league. The Browns ultimately did end up simply cutting Sanford, who is now a member of the Oakland Raiders.
The fact that Moffitt has essentially retired or quit, however a person wants to look at it might color how people look at these claims from him. It is certainly possible and probably realistic that the Browns did weigh in money with the decision, but it is extremely difficult to prove and the team has denied it, which is hardly surprising. It is unclear why Moffitt made this claim, but it does not seem to be all that big of a deal if it did happen; it is just a matter of risk management.