It has still yet to be established if the Pittsburgh Steelers are actually shopping for a new nose tackle—either in free agency or in the draft—with general manager Kevin Colbert sharing an overall positive view of Steve McLendon’s debut season as a starter.
Should they hope to acquire one in free agency, however, one of the primary potential candidates is now off the market. Former Seattle Seahawks defensive lineman Red Bryant has reached a four-year agreement with the Jacksonville Jaguars, according to Adam Schefter. The contract is reportedly valued at $17 million.
Bryant was an early free agent because he was released by the Seahawks, rather than having had his contract expire, and thus was able to sign with teams before the beginning of free agency on Tuesday.
Bryant had visited with the Jaguars last night, so it is not surprising to see that they have reached a deal today. The Jaguars’ head coach, Gus Bradley, was the defensive coordinator of the Seahawks from 2009 to 2012, or the bulk of Bryant’s professional career, so it seems a natural fit.
The Steelers reportedly had interest in Bryant in the 2008 draft. The same as said of Al Woods, who they were eventually able to acquire, and who they now are likely to re-sign as one of their own free agents. He started two games at nose tackle for them during the 2013 season in place of McLendon.
Bryant, of course, was part of a Super Bowl-winning defense with the Seattle Seahawks, who just defeated the Denver Broncos for bragging rights until next February. With a litany of pending free agents, the Seahawks released Bryant rather than pay a $3 million roster bonus due at the start of the league year.
The Seahawks also released wide receiver Sidney Rice at the same time. Team general manager John Schneider described the cuts as “extremely tough decisions”, but said that the moves were made so early in order to give them the opportunity to get a jump start on the free agency period.