We’re currently in the period where agents can talk to teams about their players, setting up contracts and whatnot, but nothing can officially be signed until tomorrow afternoon for some reason. The NFL is stupid in a lot a lot A LOT of ways.
There’s been a remarkable dearth of Seahawks free agent rumors, at least from the side of things where we’re talking about the Seahawks being interested in players, either their own or from outside the organization. I actually commented as such last night on Twitter, and probably within the hour, we got word that Ahtyba Rubin was brought back. We now know that it’s for 3 years and $12 million, with something like $6 million guaranteed. Let the games begin!
Defensive Tackle is one of our primary areas of focus this offseason, mostly because our two starters (Rubin and Mebane) just wrapped up their previous deals and are unrestricted free agents. While it was always going to be important for the Seahawks to address this position in free agency (and also probably the draft), I don’t know if anyone would consider Ahtyba Rubin one of those impact players most fans feel we’d NEED to have back. Certainly, he’s a very important and talented piece in our run defense, but he’s not a Bruce Irvin, Jeremy Lane, Russell Okung, or even a J.R. Sweezy. Nevertheless, Rubin goes down as the first free agent signing of the 2016 season for the Seahawks, probably because it was the biggest no-brainer of a decision and the easiest contract to get out of the way.
The Seahawks have a lot of tough decisions to make regarding their own players who are up for new deals; it’s nice to have this one off the board. We’re talking about one less hole we need to fill – as indeed Rubin represents one of our starting 11 in our base defense – at a reasonable sum of money. This presents us with a lot of options going forward. We can re-sign Mebane if he’ll come back reasonably; we can dumpster dive for Mebane’s replacement; we could possibly move Rubin over to nose tackle (though, he seems better suited for the 3-technique); we can look at the draft to find a starter in the early or middle rounds; OR, what I feel is most likely to happen, we can do some combination of those options. The Seahawks like to be well stocked at as many positions of need as possible. Right now, we’ve got Rubin and Jordan Hill under contract, but Hill is more of a pass-rushing tackle in pass-rushing downs. The Seahawks would probably like to grab one more free agent AND draft a player in the early or middle rounds. One veteran nearing the end of his career, with some juice left, and his eventual replacement.
It’s less daunting when you no longer have multiple glaring holes to fill. The Seahawks had two along the defensive line, now they have one, and one hole is pretty much nothing. We should EASILY be able to dumpster dive for another widebody, I’m not even worried about that. This opens us up, now, to focus on the other side of the ball, at our various holes along the offensive line. And, the way things are looking with some of these early O-linemen deals, it won’t be cheap.