Depending On The Price, Former Seahawks DL Red Bryant Could Be On Steelers Radar

It’s been almost a month since the Seattle Seahawks won the Super Bowl, but with the start of the new league now less than two weeks away, they were forced to make some business moves on Friday that included the anticipated release of defensive lineman Red Bryant. Now that he is a street free agent, many Pittsburgh Steelers fans are wondering if the black and gold will have interest in signing him.

Bryant, who was drafted by the Seahawks in the fourth round of the 2008 NFL Draft out of Texas A&M, was released due to his playing time not matching the salary he was earning. As a result, the five-year, $35 million contract that he signed back in March of 2012 was terminated just two years into it.

Bryant played in and started 15 regular-season games in 2013 for the Seahawks in addition to playing in all three playoff games. In total, he played 561 snaps on defense last season.

As a rotational defensive end/tackle in the Seahawks hybrid front last season, Bryant’s play against the run was extremely better than it was the season prior. As a pass rusher, he registered two quarterbacks sacks, four hits and 15 hurries in just over 200 pass rushing opportunities.

The biggest thing with Bryant as it would relate to the Steelers would be seeing where they deem him a fit. Could he kick back inside and play as a one or two-gap nose tackle, or is left defensive end his best fit. He played a lot of three and five technique last season with the Seahawks, so left defensive end in a 3-4 defense might very well be his best position. He could, however, serve as an emergency nose tackle, so that versatility would certainly be a plus.

The Steelers are very familiar with Bryant and they even brought him to Pittsburgh for a pre draft visit back in 2008. While they appeared to like him, they passed over him in the third round and he wound up being selected nine picks before they picked in the fourth.

Like any other free agent the Steelers might have interest in over the course of the next several weeks, money will be a key issue when it comes to Bryant. Being as he’s probably a player that you can’t rely on playing more than about 600 snaps, it would be hard to give him anything more than $3 million a season, in my opinion. That would be the top end of the scale and with him about to turn 30, a three-year contract would likely be the maximum you would want to give him.

A three-year, $9 million contract with $5 million guaranteed would result in Bryant’s first-year cap hit being $2.333 million. Year two of that deal, which very well could be the last, would carry a cap charge of $2.833 million. That would give Bryant $6.5 million over the first two years. Should he need to be released after two years, he would count $1.333 million in dead money. Would that be enough? It’s really hard to tell, but he would be a legitimate option if indeed Ziggy Hood is allowed to run off elsewhere.

  • Paddy

    I say do it, he’s a player. Ziggy hasn’t done much for being so strong and functional

  • Matt Manzo

    I wanted him so bad comin out if college! Not sure how his career has been but It sounds like he can play. I say yes, do it! I really don’t like Fangupo, I’d rather have Taamu back. Bryant would be a lot better than Fangupo.

  • Rosco

    Plus he can bring some of that good seattle vibe!!

  • Paddy

    Taamu has problems moving side to side, it’s should have been spotted by the staff BEFORE they wasted a draft pick

  • Eric MacLaurin

    In a season where we might lose several free agents it might be worth focusing on cut players so we don’t lose comp picks.

  • Jeff Anoble

    This guys numbers just aren’t that impressive. Not sure he would cost 3 mil per year. Only 3.5 career sacks. 6’5″ makes him tall for a true NT and weight listed at 328 makes him a bit heavy and slow for a 3-4 end. 30 years old and probably putting on more weight as well. Plus his lack of sacks out of an end position is not what you want ideally. Well under 2 mil per yes. Over that I would say no.

    Past 5 years
    Ziggy Hood 144 tackles, 11.5 sacks
    Red Bryant 116 tackles, 3.5 sacks

  • Steelers12328882

    How did this guy ever get a 5 year 35 mil contract? I’d much rather have Ziggy. He hasn’t been as spectacular as a 1st round pick should’ve been, but he’s been better than this guy.

  • Guest

    How did he ever get a 5 year 35 mil contract? Wow! I’d much rather resign Ziggy.

  • Addison

    I wish Ziggy workout warrior mentality would of transferred to the field. Is there no more he can offer or improve on.

  • Gerald Brown

    What do you think about Sam Shields or Major Wright as options for the Steelers?

  • Jason White

    I’d sell my left nut to have Sam Shields in the Steelers secondary but I get the feeling he will be out of their price range.

  • Matt Manzo

    Right? These are the things that amaze me about the NFL! Coaching, player development, players ability to be coached? We’ll never know what’s really going on. And when they retire and write a book telling us how it went, it just turns into “he said she said!”!
    I do admit that last 5 years I’ve put a lot of blame on the coaching staff when it comes to player development. Just because it seems like we’ve had a high amount of players not work out for us in the last few years. Not that other teams don’t, but we’re The Steelers.

  • 243546

    Bryant is a big , 2 gap, run stuffing DE.


    Sam Shields will get a bit more than Keenan did last year. I’m thinking 5/35


    With a cap of $140 million in 2015 the Steelers have currently 24 players under contract including Levi Brown. Subtracting Brown they are roughly 60 million under the 2015 cap. They have plenty of room as long as most of the guaranteed money is in a prorated signing bonus and second year base salary. First year cap hit in the 3.5 million range. (Half of Ike’s cap hit). Which is why he needs cut. Taking a pay cut prevents the Steelers from signing a player like Shields and Worilds. IMO they could sign both with a 2014 cap hit in the $7-9 million range.

  • pittsburghjoe

    Yeah, he is a 30 year old player. We are not in the hunt this year and do not need a band aid

  • DoctorNoah

    I don’t see it. We are not desperate for DE. I mean, why don’t we bring in some free agent QB’s and K, if you want to waste time? Shouldnt we be focusing on actual needs?

  • pittsburghjoe

    Wow..a 4th round pick that every one said was a great value at the time. Too bad they did not consult you prior to the wasted effort. You may have been able to intervene before picking Chris Rainey as well.

  • Jason White

    It is a need that they can fill in free agency or later in the draft especially if they let Hood and Kiesel walk. There is no established depth behind Heyward so technically they will need a new starter. One way or another DE is gonna get addressed this offseason.

  • RedCarpetDefense

    I must say what a noble gesture you suggest.
    Shear the Beard…!!!

  • gene mann

    They either nee to Resign Hood or Keisel and still add a FA DE. They need to looks at FA ILB and FS

  • Jazz

    Hmm! I really don’t see how this guy is that much better than Ziggy Hood. At least you know what you have with Hood, I don’t think Ziggy is starter material by far either. However, I think he could serve as a decent back-up at either DL Position if needed. If you’re going to sign someone, why not Hood? Sign him to a contract similar to what the author wrote. Now that is contingent upon if Ziggy would accept it. I think Ziggy Hood will be much better in a 4-3 scheme.

  • Dewayne Braxton

    Remember, the Steelers depend on ends to primarily stop the run. Ziggy is a terrible run stuffer. He makes most of tackles after the back has gained 3 yards. It seems asthough Bryant is better against the run. If he’s cheap sign him. There is nothing to risk.

  • Alan Felicia

    The only problem with your theory, in regards to Ziggy Hood, the defensive line coach, John Mitchell, has been with the organization since 1994. Plus, the defensive scheme/concept never changed. (If you’re old enough to remember that this defense was created/designed by Bill Cowher, Dom Capers, and LeBeau; more credit goes to LeBeau since he invented zone blitzes.)
    The way I see it, perhaps a younger coach would be needed that can relate to the younger generation. Or, Colbert, Tomlin, and their scouting team need to do a better job drafting players that will contribute right away.

  • Alan Felicia

    Speaking of Seattle, a big receiver just became available with the release of 6’4 Sidney Rice. Will only turn 28 at the start of the season. Would kick the tires especially if, or when, Sanders and Cotchery signs elsewhere.

  • Matt Manzo

    That’s what I was talking about. If the same system produced ASmith, Keisel, and even got production from Nolan Harrison then it’s gotta be Hoods inability to elevate his game, not the coaches. I was speaking to the “how do you know when it’s players or coaches when it comes to development?”
    You helped answer it, with Hood at least.