Red Bryant released, should Raiders be interested?

Norm Hall

With the Seahawks having reached the precipice of the NFL world and a few players set to be pretty high cap hits next season, they need to cut the fat. Red Bryant is one of those big cap hits and according to several reports, the Seahawks have released the big defensive lineman. This will have several teams interested in signing him prior to the start of free agency.

Bryant is coming off his best season at defensive end for the Seahawks. The 328 pound defensive lineman isn't your typical defensive end but that's where the Seahawks found he worked best for their purposes. He doesn't offer a lot in the way of pass rush (1.5 sacks last season) but for an opposing offensive tackle, he is an immovable object and one of the better run stopping defensive ends last season.

What this would means for the Raiders is a move to defensive tackle, the position this former fourth round pick played coming into the league. He didn't see much time in his first couple seasons so the Seahawks switched him to defensive end. After his first full season at defensive end, the Seahawks thought enough of him to give him a five-year, $35 million deal.

The problem with that deal is it has a $3 million escalator kicking in soon and now represents an $8.5 million cap hit which means releasing him would free up $5.5 million right now. A true cap casualty.

Bryant is a team captain and is well-liked among his teammates. He would be a welcome presence in the Raiders locker room. The question would be whether he is a fit in their defense.

The Raiders play a 4-3 base with a 3-4 hybrid which would make the 328 pound Bryant very much a part time player at defensive end. To get their worth out of him, he would have to move to defensive tackle.

Both of the Raiders defensive tackles are set to become free agents. Pat Sims plays the left defensive tackle position which is the nose tackle in 3-4 alignments. That would seem to be the best fit for Bryant with the Raiders. That means Bryant's worth could be predicated on the team's plans for Sims.

Vance Walker played the left defensive tackle position -- or 3-tech DT as it's called -- for the Raiders. With Bryant's play at defensive end last season, I wouldn't rule him out of being able to play the 3-tech but that is where he struggled in his first couple seasons in the NFL so it's hard to say if he would be a strong choice at that spot.

Every one of the Raiders' starting defensive linemen are set to become free agents so there is no question they are desperate in that area. Bryant was a 16 game starter on a Super Bowl championship team and is available right now with the start of free agency still 11 days away. A conundrum.

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