Pete Carroll has already established a reputation as a coach who can turn disappointing players around, develop them and help them realize their full potential. One of his biggest reclamation projects was defensive lineman Red Bryant. Now it looks like the Seahawks will be forced to cut Bryant in order to save money.
Bryant was a huge disappointment after being selected in the fourth-round of the 2008 NFL Draft. He entered the league from Texas A&M as a defensive tackle, but when Carroll showed up in 2010, he turned Bryant into a run-stopping “five-technique” defensive end. He has been one of the league’s best run-stoppers ever since.
The Seahawks signed Bryant to a five-year, $35 million deal in March of 2012, and he was the team’s defensive captain in each of the past two seasons. But he is owed $7.5 million in salary and bonuses in 2014. Releasing him will save Seattle $5.5 million in cap room, money they will almost certainly put towards re-signing free agent defensive end Michael Bennett.
It’s going to be hard for the Seahawks to say goodbye to their defensive captain and one of their leaders so soon after winning the Super Bowl, but we all know football is a business.
At 6-4 and 323 pounds, Bryant will be an attractive free agent for any team whose run defense needs a boost. He’s a leader, and has even recently radically changed his diet and sleeping habits to improve his play and set an example for other players on the team.
It will be a big blow to the Seahawks to lose a leader like Bryant, but Bennett is a guy they have to bring back and the team can’t let sentimentality get in the way of what’s best for the roster as a whole.
Bryant likely won’t be on the open market for long.