Why Seattle might not be in a hurry to release Brandon Mebane, and more

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First off, a quick note that Seattle was not listed as making any transactions today.

And while there has been a lot of activity around the NFL, particularly in the shedding of salaries to prepare for free agency beginning on Tuesday, it’s unclear if Seattle will join in the fun.

The one player many have speculated Seattle could release and save some money is veteran defensive tackle Brandon Mebane, due to make $5.5 million next season in the final year of his contract and now 30 years old and coming off surgery to repair a torn hamstring that held him out the final seven games of the regular season and the playoffs.

But Mebane appears on the road to recovery — he said at the Super Bowl he’d be 100 percent by April when the team begins its official off-season training program. And recall that coaches thought he was playing as well as at any time in his career before being injured. If Seattle were to release Mebane it would just have to find someone else to replace him — his backup last year was Kevin Williams, who is now an unrestricted free agent and also turns 35, and there’s no other sure thing on the roster ready to step in.

Mebane is also one of the more respected leaders in the locker room (and recall that he played at Cal with Marshawn Lynch) and if you’re at all worried about the team’s post-Super Bowl psyche, cutting him is the last thing you might want to do right now (though admittedly, the Seahawks made similar moves last season with the likes of Red Bryant and Chris Clemons).

And while Seattle could release him and then try to re-sign him at a lower number, that could prove risky. Recall that it was thought last year that Seattle wanted to re-sign  Clemons after releasing him last season two days into the free agency period, a move that freed up $7.5 million in cap space. But before Seattle really had a chance to get back to Clemons he was signed to a four-year, $18 million deal by Jacksonville and former Seattle defensive coordinator Gus Bradley (Clemons agreed to that deal the day after his release by the Seahawks was announced).

There are now former Seattle assistants also working in Atlanta (head coach Dan Quinn) and Oakland (defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr.) who would presumably love to re-stock their defenses with former Seahawks the same way Bradley has. Anything can happen — as noted above, Clemons wasn’t released until March 12 as the Seahawks did some last-minute financial juggling as free agency opened.¬† But for a lot of reasons, holding on to Mebane makes a lot of sense.

In some other notes to pass along. …

— This breakdown of adjusted games lost in 214 due to injury from FootballOutsiders.com is interested. It shows what we all knew — that Seattle had ore injuries in 2014 than 2013, ranking 18th in adjusted games last last year (a higher number is more games lost) an 13th in 2013. But it also illustrates that injuries are a given for everyone and that while the Seahawks had their share of aches and pains, they were hardly alone. There’s also a breakdown of injuries by offense and defense with the Seahawks ranking 24th in offense and 13th in defense, indicative of the injuries Seattle had on the offensive line last season, as wel as tight end and fullback.

— Also of real interest in that piece is its analysis of NFL injury designations and what they meant in 2014. The story notes that all 216 players listed as doubtful last year ended up not playing. Doubtful officially means a player has only a 25 percent chance of playing, but going by those numbers it last year meant basically that a player was out. Meanwhile, questionable — which is officially a 50-50 designation of potential to play — basically was, with 55.7 percent of players listed as questionable playing that week. The piece notes, though that there is a wide range between teams of what questionable means and that Seattle has been at the low end the past two years. “The Steelers only played one of their league-low 12 questionable players (8.3 percent). Some of the other teams on the low end were Denver (third at 35.3 percent) and Seattle (fifth at 40.9 percent) after having the two lowest rates in 2013. The Falcons, after 84.2 percent in 2013, were still in the top six at 65.4 percent in Mike Smith’s final year on the job,” FO writes.

— NFL.com wonders if Seattle might be a landing spot for Andre Johnson. First, though, he has to be released as it seems hard to imagine the Seahawks would make a trade for his $10.5 million base salary.

— Danny O’Neil says the LeSean McCoy trade should make Marshawn Lynch think about hurrying up and accepting Seattle’s offer.

— NFL.com also has a good look at available defensive linemen. Seattle is sure to go after some of these guys if not necessarily the ones at the very top of the list.