I don’t think very many Seahawks fans were worried about losing Marshawn Lynch. If I had to put numbers on my thoughts on the matter, I was 60% positive we’d get a contract extension, 30% positive we’d get a Franchise Tag on him, 8% positive the Seahawks might risk a Transition Tag, and about 2% positive we’d lose him outright. I suppose there were other alternatives in the Beastmode Situation (an unlikely, diabetes-related death from a Skittles overdose, for instance), but suffice it to say I was pretty damn sure of myself that he would be in a Seahawks uniform at some point in the 2012 season.
Red Bryant … ehh, now I’m not so sure.
Without really knowing these two gentlemen personally, if I had to guess I would’ve said that Red Bryant would have been an easy sign, while Marshawn Lynch would have been a protracted battle. I don’t exactly know how wrong I am in this case, because you’ve got other circumstances clouding things. Like, for instance, how much more effort did the Seahawks put into the Lynch negotiations vs. the Bryant negotiations? Maybe the Seahawks – much like myself – were worried that appeasing Lynch would be a problem, so they made him Priority #1 to ensure that we’d be able to re-sign him without using the Franchise Tag (which most players despise on principle). Maybe they felt (and still feel) that they could hold off on the tough negotiations with Bryant because they felt (and still feel) that they can get him signed before next week (when other teams would be able to talk to him freely).
I hope they’re right, because it looks like the Seahawks have opted to use the Franchise Tag on exactly nobody.
It’s a gamble, that’s for sure. It might not be as crazy of a gamble as using the Transition Tag on Steve Hutchinson (whose departure initiated the immediate downfall of our offensive line), but it’s certainly closer to that than, say, letting Olindo Mare go without a tag, where he was free to sign the richest contract in NFL kicker history. I don’t think Red Bryant is worth the type of money a Top 5 Defensive End would earn, but I do think he’s in that next tier down. And, who’s to say a team with a 3-4 defense and a bundle of free cash floating around won’t pony up the kind of payday to make a reality all of Bryant’s wildest dreams?
As it is with any gamble, you have to consider the option that you may lose. The Seahawks gambled previously with the likes of Brandon Mebane and ended up winning. Evidently, Mebane was not able to get the kind of deal to persuade him to leave this organization. Red Bryant, on the other hand, very well might. He’s versatile, able to play both end and tackle. He’s a monster on special teams with his kick-blocking ability. He’s a good clubhouse guy and a consummate team player. There’s a lot to like about Red Bryant. He’s certainly opened up some eyes around the league with his play the past two seasons.
If the Seahawks do lose Bryant, it won’t be the end of the world. But, it could be a severe setback in the short term. I don’t know if the Seahawks have the kind of guy with his size and athleticism on the roster right now. My hunch is they don’t, but they’ll try with someone.
Then again, it’s not like the Seahawks HAVE to be married to the way they’ve played defense the past two seasons. It’s not healthy to put so much importance on just one guy to make your defense go. Because we all saw what happened in 2010 when Bryant was injured; our defense went to shit. Maybe, in lieu of re-signing Bryant, the Seahawks re-double their efforts to court Mario Williams. Maybe we start both Williams and Clemons at the same time, on opposite ends, and just start going to town on opposing quarterbacks. MAYBE our rush defense takes a back seat a little bit, but our pass defense soars to the top of the league thanks to our pass-rush and our rough-neck secondary.
Or, you know, maybe the Seahawks do the greatest thing I’ve ever seen and sign both Bryant AND Williams and I watch them play defense next season with a constant boner. That would be good too.