The Seattle Seahawks kicked off their offseason today by officially releasing defensive end Red Bryant and wide receiver Sidney Rice.
The moves, rumored for some time now, should save the defending Super Bowl champions about $12 million. That amount is not insignificant considering the team’s desire to re-sign defensive lineman Michael Bennett and wide receiver Golden Tate.
Bryant, who turns 30 in April, had been with the team since it drafted him in the fourth round of the 2008 NFL Draft. The 300-pounder was a key member of the league’s top defense last year and also one of the team’s leaders.
Bryant played in 64 games with 55 starts, tallying 121 tackles (78 solo), 3.5 sacks, two interceptions, one touchdown, seven passes defensed, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries. Over the past three seasons, he started 47 games, missing one due to injury. He also played in five postseason games with six tackles (two solo).
But, his impact went further than that. After the Super Bowl, Bryant, a defensive captain, led the, “We all we got! We all we need!” chant in the lockerroom. He and Brandon Mebane are best friends. Essentially, Bryant was the old soul of a very young lockerroom.
“We want to thank both Red and Sidney for their effort, commitment and contribution to the Seattle Seahawks over the last few years,” said Executive Vice President/GM John Schneider said in a statement. “These are extremely tough decisions, but we wanted to give them a head start on free agency. We wish them well in the future.”
Bryant was owed a $3 million roster bonus on March 14. The Seahawks save that now.
Rice’s release ends a disappointing stint in Seattle. The Seahawks signed him to a lucrative free-agent contract before the 2011 season but Rice was plagued by injuries in his three seasons. He was placed on the season-ending injured reserve list in Week 8 this past season after tearing his ACL.