Good news Red Bryant fans! Big Red will be returning to Seattle. The team and Bryant agreed to a five-year, $35 million contract today with $14.5 million guaranteed. Bryant had drawn some interest, but the market for five-technique defensive ends is pretty weak compared to other defensive linemen. That’s why last week I said that the Seahawks were right to not use their franchise tag on Bryant.
The $7 million annual average is a bit steep, and on par with Ty Warren, who was perhaps the best five-technique end when he signed his deal with New England in 2007. We’ll see what the true salary is when the particulars are revealed, and what part of the guarantees is a signing bonus, and what part is annual roster bonuses, or those kind of guarantees.
Bryant’s return may complicate the team’s pursuit of Mario Williams. I believe that the two could coexist, and that taking run-down snaps away from Chris Clemons is no tragedy. I’d rather have Mario Williams than Peyton Manning or Matt Flynn.
Ultimately, Bryant has played a very unique role in the Seahawks defense under Pete Carroll, and having him back means that next year’s team should see no drop off at the position. In a perfect world I’d have liked to see Bryant come cheaper. I don’t think he was worth more than Brandon Mebane. I figured he’d approach Mebane’s $5 million annual average, though. And the fact that he can play end in a 3-4 probably added to his market value.