RENTON, Wash. (AP) The cost of locking up Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner with contract extensions last week was the Seattle Seahawks having to release veteran defensive tackle Tony McDaniel for salary cap reasons.
The Seahawks will now have to rely on free-agent signing Ahtyba Rubin and the return of Brandon Mebane to solidify their defensive front.
McDaniel had appeared in every game for the Seahawks over the last two seasons in their run to back-to-back Super Bowl appearances.
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''It is a significant loss,'' Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. ''Tony has been a really good core player for us, and we really liked him and what he's brought to our club. This decision sucks, but you know we had to do something.''
The team was able to save $3 million by releasing McDaniel last Sunday, which became necessary following Wagner's deal getting done late Saturday night.
Rubin, 29, joins Seattle after spending the first seven seasons of his career with the Cleveland Browns. The Seahawks love Rubin's versatility and he played both tackle and end in multiple defensive fronts in Cleveland.
''I had always seen him on tape and known about his work ethic,'' Seattle defensive line coach Travis Jones said. ''... That's very evident to see in the short time that he's been here. He's a great addition to the group. Quiet guy but one of those quiet, silent assassins kind of guys.''
The Seahawks haven't been particularly effective in drafting interior defensive linemen under Carroll and general manager John Schneider. Instead, they've found success with veteran free agents like McDaniel, Kevin Williams, Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett in recent seasons at marginal cost. Rubin could be the next in that line of key free agent acquisitions for Seattle.
Rubin will be the first in line to replace McDaniel. David King and Demarcus Dobbs will also get a chance to work into the rotation.
''My role is just to come here and try and ball out and make plays, stop the run and get a couple sacks if I can,'' Rubin said.
Mebane, 30, has been one of the most consistent pieces of Seattle's defenses over the last eight seasons. He was putting together one of the best years of his career in 2014 when a torn hamstring suffered in November ended his season. Mebane was hurt trying to chase down a wide receiver screen in a victory over the New York Giants.
Mebane said he felt like he was back to 100-percent in April and is in some of the best shape of his career.
''Really now it's just the mental part of it,'' Mebane said. ''Physically I feel great. I feel like I'm about 25, 24 (years old).''
Mebane will resume his role as the team's starting nose tackle with Rubin setting up alongside in the team's base defense. However, Carroll said they will move the pair around to best maximize their abilities together.
''I think Brandon is probably in the best shape of his life so he's ready to play nose tackle and Rubin will play three-technique for the most part. But both those guys could flip,'' Carroll said. ''There will be times when we might want to match up and we'll do different things. We'll uncover the versatility as we go through camp and the early season.''
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