The Seattle Seahawks have one of the NFL’s best defensive lines, but that group could take a big hit with Michael Bennett and Tony McDaniel set to hit free agency, as well as the reported release of veteran Red Bryant. Bryant carried a cap hit of $5.5 million from the five-year, $35 million deal he signed with the team in 2012, so the money that the Seahawks will save by releasing him should allow them to re-sign elite DE Bennett.
Bryant wouldn’t have even been in consideration as a cap casualty on the vast majority of teams, so the 29-year-old will likely sign somewhere soon. A fit as a 3-4 DE, 4-3 DT, or a 4-3 DE, Bryant doesn’t do much as a pass rusher but is one of the NFL’s best players in run defense. This guy plugs up holes almost at will, so any team in need of a three or five-tech who can dominate in run defense should give him a call.
Could the New England Patriots be one of those teams? They could use another defensive tackle, and ESPN Boston’s Mike Reiss reminds us that the Patriots had interest in Bryant back in 2012 before he signed that huge contract to stay with the Seahawks. With Vince Wilfork coming off of an Achilles’ tear and some questions at the position, the Patriots could look into him. I think there are better options for the Patriots specifically, even if Bryant is so good that someone should snap him up quickly. The Patriots need to go for someone who can push the pocket and stuff the run, instead of trying to snag someone who is only good at one of those two. But Bryant is so good at run defense that the Pats should bring him aboard if he is cheap. I doubt that happens, though, and the Patriots don’t have much cap flexibility as it is, especially with Julian Edelman and Aqib Talib set to hit the free agent waters.