Three thoughts on Seahawks release of Red Bryant and how it relates to Patriots
|02.28.14 at 5:05 pm ET|
From a Patriots’ perspective, three thoughts on the Friday release of defensive lineman Red Bryant:
1. Bryant is a veteran body in the middle — the 6-foot-5, 328-pound veteran has played multiple spots as a pro, lining up both at defensive tackle and defensive end, and has made a name as one of the more underrated linemen in the league. As a result, it was no surprise New England really went hard after him when he was a free agent in 2012. (He ultimately ended up signing a five-year, $35 million contract with $14.5 million guaranteed with the Seahawks, and won a ring for his efforts.) But his experience with the Patriots left a lasting impression on him. During Super Bowl week, was asked about New England, and he told the Boston Globe: “[The Patriots have] got a great history, great tradition, I have the utmost respect for coach Belichick and Tom Brady and Mr. Robert Kraft. My big brother, Ty Warren, he played there, and I called him and he gave me a background on what it would be like and the expectations and it would have been a great opportunity. The only thing that kept me was my love for the Seahawks, and I envisioned us one day making it to a Super Bowl.”
2. If he was going to be a fit with the Patriots at this point in his career — he turns 30 in April — he would be more of a situational player, a two-down lineman who comes off the field on third down and other passing situations. According to Pro Football Focus, he played 561 defensive snaps in 2013, the fewest since he had 291 snaps in 2010 (when his season was cut short by injury), and is known more as a run-stopper than a pass rusher, at least as it stands right now. According to this really detailed breakdown on Bryant, he played on 46 percent of Seattle’s defensive snaps this past year, 51 percent of snaps against the Niners in the NFC title game, and 18 snaps in the Super Bowl against the pass-heavy Broncos. If Bryant and the Patriots could come to a match on money, contract (two years with a relatively modest signing bonus) and expectations (a two-down player who could augment the work of other veteran linemen like Vince Wilfork), the two could make for a good fit.
3. Bryant is also really well regarded as a locker room presence. A smart and well-respected veteran, he was an extremely popular figure with the Seahawks. Even if he does have to take a pay cut, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him stay in Seattle: He’s a fan favorite on a Super Bowl champion, his father-in-law is former Seahawks great Jacob Green, and he’s credited Pete Carroll for helping revitalize his career with a shift from defensive tackle to defensive end. While Bill Belichick has had an affinity for collecting veteran defensive linemen at the end of their careers and trying to squeeze another year or two out of them before they rode off into the sunset, it would likely take a lot to pry Bryant from the Seahawks.