So, as noted in the post below, the big news of the night is that the Seahawks may be on the verge of releasing Red Bryant.
That news, while widely speculated for a while now, seemed to become more serious tonight thanks to this Tweet:
— Alex Marvez (@alexmarvez) February 24, 2014
However, since then has come this from NFL.com that says the team is merely “strongly considering” releasing Bryant.
That’s obviously a little different than the Marvez Tweet, which makes it sound like a done deal.
That the team would be considering releasing Bryant, though, isn’t really huge news as that has been speculated for months.
Bryant, who will turn 30 in April, is due to have an $8.5 million cap hit next season, which includes a $3 million bonus if he is on the roster March 14. Cutting players with big salaries looming happens all the time in the NFL, even if it may feel new to the current version of the Seahawks — due to the youth of the team, Seattle has been able to avoid having to make really painful cuts the last few years.
But because of the finances involved, many have speculated the team would explore whether it needed to cut Bryant, especially with other pressing needs, such as attempting to re-sign Michael Bennett, as is mentioned by Marvez.
Bryant would be a tough loss for the locker room — he was the defensive team captain this year as voted by his teammates and has the second-longest tenure on the team, drafted in 2008 (Brandon Mebane, taken in 2007, is the only player who has been on the team longer than Bryant). He’s an undeniable leader of the defensive line, which was as key to the Super Bowl season as any other aspect of the team. You don’t need to spend more than about 10 minutes in the locker room to feel what an influence he is on everybody he is in there.
But Bryant’s on-field role had also become pretty selective as the year progressed as he had emerged as largely an early-down run stopper — recall that he played just 18 of a possible 69 defensive snaps in the Super Bowl and technically didn’t start the game as Seattle began with its nickel defense package.
(Here are some thoughts on that from Brock Huard:)
As beloved as Red is inside/outside the Hawks locker room, he avg. 29 snaps/game in '13 & w/other priorities that's too few snaps for the $$
— Brock Huard (@BrockESPN) February 24, 2014
As Pete Carroll said earlier this week at the Combine, Seattle has a lot of tough decisions to make this year to stay at the level it is, especially with Bennett and Golden Tate entering free agency, and the team also thought ready to offer strong safety Earl Thomas a big extension.
Making moves such as cutting Bryant are an unfortunate part of the big business that is the NFL, and of keeping a Super Bowl-caliber roster together.
Many have also thought the Seahawks might think about releasing the likes of DE Chris Clemons (due for a $9.6 million salary cap hit in 2014) and tight end Zach Miller (due for a $7 million cap hit) and those moves could be coming.
And all of this comes on the heels of the news that the team is likely to cut WR Sidney Rice, something else that has been widely speculated, but which seemed to take on a veer of finality when Rice Tweeted this on Friday:
The number #12 will remain on the left side of my chest no matter what! Grateful for the opportunity to share so many special moments w yall
— Sidney Rice (@sidneyrice) February 21, 2014
As noted above, Seattle officially has done nothing yet. But with the free agency period approaching on March 11, moves are due soon and the Seahawks appear on the move of making some painful decisions.