Red Bryant played like a man possessed this season. This picture makes him look like a man possessed by Mike Tyson around Evander Holyfield's children.
One of the most perplexing free agents that the Seahawks have is Red Bryant. The 27 year old was drafted as a defensive tackle, but was moved to defensive end before the 2010 season. Since then the Seahawks defense has improved considerably when Bryant has been healthy, and though he probably won’t ever post monstrous sack numbers, he’s a valued asset on the Seahawks defensive line.
The confusion with Bryant, of course, is where he fits into the defenses of other teams bidding for his services. While we’ve seen high quality 4-3 defensive ends fetch huge salaries in the past couple years, but those guys profiled exclusively as elite pass rushers. The Seahawks defensive line is constructed quite differently than a standard 4-3 defensive line, as Bryant’s role is more akin to that of a 3-4 defensive end, filling gaps in the run game and taking on double teams to facilitate his teammates, and penetrating into the backfield to make plays in the run when he’s able to. That said, teams vying for Bryant’s services will probably view him as either a 4-3 defensive tackle, or a 3-4 defensive end. Nose tackle is probably out of the question as his time at defensive tackle hasn’t been very productive.
So to find a player comparable to Bryant, we’ll have to use the aforementioned inferences. The bar was set at defensive tackle by Albert Haynesworth who signed a seven-year, $100 million contract. Bryant’s 2011 wasn’t nearly as good as Haynesworth’s 2008 season that included 8.5 sacks, several athletic plays in the backfield, and a second straight appearance in the Pro Bowl. However last year a 25 year old Brandon Mebane resigned with the Seahawks for five-years, $25 million contract with only a $1 million signing bonus.
Richard Seymour is probably the class of the 3-4 defensive end group. In 2006 he signed a three-year, $30 million contract extension with the Patriots. Seymour may have been the most statistically productive 3-4 defensive end in football, Bryant isn’t that. Seymour’s teammate Ty Warren is probably a better comparable to Bryant, as he was less consistently productive than Seymour and signed a five-year extension worth $35 million, with $18 million in guarantees.
The problem though, is that both Warren and Mebane had several productive, mostly-healthy seasons before signing their extensions. Bryant has not. Bryant is also an incomplete player. He’s not the kind of end who can rush the passer on third down. He’s struggled in the past while playing tackle, and even if he rotates inside on pass downs he doesn’t figure to gain a lot of production as a result.
Not only that, but Bryant may be open to taking an “adopted hometown discount” as his father in law is Ring of Honor member Jacob Green.
I expect something like a four-year, $20 million contract for Bryant, who probably benefits some from the new CBA, but who hasn’t been productive enough to deserve a contract even at the level of Brandon Mebane, who was two years his junior when he signed his contract.
If Red Bryant received four years, $20 million to remain in Seattle, would that make you happy?