The Seattle Seahawks re-signed veteran defensive tackle Ahtyba Rubin on Monday, keeping him off the market when the NFL’s free agency periods opens on Wednesday. The signing, a three-year deal with unconfirmed terms rumored to be at $4 million per year, addressed one of the Seahawks’ primary needs as both Rubin and fellow DT Brandan Mebane were scheduled to be unrestricted free agents.
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Rubin, 29, is a 6-foot2, 325 force in the middle, playing nearly 50 percent of the Seahawks’ defensive snaps last season on the way to recording 36 tackles. Last season, the Seahawks held opponents to only 3.6 yards per carry, the third-best total in the entire NFL, and the combination of Rubin and Mebane was a key component. With Rubin’s signing and the incoming NFL Draft class stocked with perhaps the greatest depth ever-before seen at defensive tackle, it now appears unlikely Mebane will be returning for a tenth year in Seattle.
With one need at least partially addressed – the only other DT on the roster is oft-injured Jordan Hill, with just one career start to his record – the Seahawks will enter the free agency period looking to plug personnel gaps that might not be able to be filled from April’s draft. Sixteen Seahawks are headed for free agency, including seven starters.
Left tackle Russell Okung and guard J.R. Sweezy are unrestricted free agents, and Okung, in particular, would appear to be too expensive to keep. While the offensive line greatly improved over the course of the season, allowing just 14 sacks of quarterback Russell Wilson over the last nine games, it was perhaps the weakest unit of the team. Experience and depth on the offensive line are two qualities in great demand, so look for the Seahawks to try the market.
Also on offense, the retirement of running back Marshawn Lynch leaves a need for a back to partner last year’s breakout free agent rookie Thomas Rawls. There are a few out there, but don’t look for the Seahawks to get in a big-money spending battle for someone the likes of Tampa Bay’s Doug Martin.
Lastly, every team in the NFL looks for cornerback that can fit into the system. The Seahawks will likely lose on in free agent Jeremy Lane, who undoubtedly will get a big offer from some team in need. However, like the class of interior defensive linemen, the draft is stocked with cornerbacks that are seemingly NFL-ready.
While teams could communicate and negotiate with pending free agents on Monday, no deals can be confirmed until free agency officially begins Wednesday at 1:00 pm PST.
Photo Credit: John Lok/Seattle Times
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