We’ll Miss You, Big Guy
Bryant is coming off somewhat of a renaissance campaign, having re-established himself as a run defense anchor on the left side of the Seattle Seahawk’s defensive line, as the five-technique.
For all his flaws as a pass rusher (he didn’t even crack the top 50 in pass rush productivity on ProFootballFocus, subscription required) Bryant is in the upper echelons of the league as a run defender. This is best exemplified by his 8.4% stop rate on running plays, which is tied for fifth highest in the league.
This move has more to do with creating cap space than it does anything else.
As was referenced in the previous section, Red Bryant had arguably the best season of his career and has established himself as one of the league’s best run defenders.
It’s also worth noting that Bryant was due to receive a roster bonus of $3M this off-season.
By releasing Bryant, the Seahawks will save $5.5M against the cap.
This, in combination with the rumoured release of Sidney Rice earlier this week, will save the Seahawks somewhere in the neighbourhood of $13M against the cap.
These savings, all things going to plan, could in and of itself be enough to sign their highly touted duo of free agents in Tate and Bennett.
Could Bryant Come Back?
Well, this is purely speculation on my part, but I do think it’s entirely possible. Just being realistic here, but Red Bryant needs the Seahawks a lot more than the Seahawks need Red Bryant.
I think Bryant will struggle to find big free agent money, mostly due to the fact that he has serious limitations as a pass rusher. It’s also worth noting that, at 29 years old, his best years are probably behind him.
Bryant is also somewhat of a scheme wild card as well.
His body type isn’t generally associated with 4-3 defensive ends, but rather three-techniques. Maybe even 3-4 defensive ends. Regardless, switching to either one of those positions would prove to be quite the task for someone at this stage in his career.
From where I’m sitting, it makes more sense for both sides to re-acquaint themselves in the latter stages of free agency and come to a much more team friendly agreement.
But hey, that’s just pure speculation.