Seahawks punter Jon Ryan and defensive tackle Brandon Mebane, the final two players remaining who were with the team when Pete Carroll took over as coach in 2010, are unrestricted free agents with uncertain futures.
One possible result of what Seahawks coach Pete Carroll called the “difficult decisions’’ of the off-season is that the team could go into next year without a player on the roster who predates his arrival.
At the end of this season there were just two players left who were on the team when Carroll took over in 2010 — punter Jon Ryan and defensive tackle Brandon Mebane.
Each is now an unrestricted free agent with an uncertain future.
Mebane is the longest-tenured Seahawk, having been drafted in the third round in 2007 out of Cal. Ryan arrived the next year as a free agent after being released by Green Bay.
Most Read Sports Stories
- With Kenneth Walker III battling injury, who will start at running back for Seahawks in Week 14?
- Husky football transfer portal tracker: The latest on UW's roster moves
- Here's what's next for Mariners as they return from winter meetings without Mitch Haniger
- Texas coach Steve Sarkisian recalls 'a special time, special place' at Washington prior to reunion at the Alamo Bowl
- Analysis: Diving inside Washington's transfer portal wish list
Each this year completed long-term deals. Ryan signed a six-year, $9.1 million deal with the Seahawks in January of 2010 while Mebane signed a five-year, $25 million deal in 2011.
Each would be looking at definitely shorter, and likely cheaper, deals to stay, especially in the case of Mebane, who turned 31 on Jan.15. Ryan made roughly $1.5 million this year, which put him 16th among punters in the NFL.
Ryan, who tuned 34 in November, made it clear Monday as he taped up some boxes on locker clean-out day that he’d like to stay with the Seahawks. But he also said he can’t predict what will happen.
“It’s something I haven’t really dealt with before,’’ said Ryan, whose average of 45.7 this season was his best since a 46.6 mark In 2011 that was a team record. “I signed that extension (in 2010) and played that out (this year). We’ll have to see what happens. Obviously I’ve been here eight years and it would be my first choice to be back here. But at the same time, we’ve got to see what happens.’’
Mebane was approached last off-season about restructuring his contract, adding a year to lessen the salary cap hit for the Seahawks in 2015 of $5.7 million. That didn’t work out, leaving Mebane now as an unrestricted free agent.
Former sports agent Joel Corry, in an informative look at what faces the Seahawks this off-season, wrote that Mebane may have to accept a shorter deal at about half the money he made this season.
Mebane almost literally danced around the topic of his future in a late-season interview, breaking into a song when asked about it with a question that referenced his age.
“Age ain’t nothing but a number,’’ Mebane sang with a smile, breaking into the Aaliyah tune of a few years ago.
“If you can play football you can play football,’’ he then said. “It doesn’t matter how old you are.’’
Ryan said his future was never far off of his mind this season.
“It’s always there because it has really nothing to do with your football,’’ he said. “It would never affect me the way I play or how I prepare or any of that. It’s more your personal life. It’s a big deal for (fiancée) Sarah (Colonna) and I and for our future. So that’s always in the back of our heads.’’
While the uncertainty may seem unsettling, though, Ryan said he’s also at peace with whatever may happen.
“More than anything, it will be exciting,’’ he said of the free agent process. “For me, the hard part, the stressful part, is putting in the work and for me that’s already done. I put in the work and had a season I was happy with and the rest of it is kind of out of my control.’’