Where will Brandon Mebane sign in 2016 NFL free agency?
Brandon Mebane is one of the more unheralded players on what is otherwise a very heralded Seattle Seahawks defense. While the self-styled Legion of Boom continues to garner all the headlines on the back end of the field, Mebane has rather quietly held down the fort along the defensive line while anchoring the Seahawks’ front seven at the tackle position.
He may not be the biggest Seattle name in free agency, but rest assured he is firmly on the radar of both his current organization and a gaggle of others as well.
Notable stat: 349 tackles and 15.5 sacks over nine seasons
All-Pro teams: 0
Pro Bowls: 0
Mebane is already one of the higher-paid defensive tackles in the NFL, clocking in with the league’s 10th-best salary at the position in 2015. His last deal was for $25 million over five years, and while that’s again one of the larger figures in the pros, it’s still probably not enough considering Dan Williams of the Raiders makes about the same amount and Arthur Jones of the Colts makes $8 million more. Mebane is easily better than both players, though he is a few years older.
Expect a bump in his overall earnings but a decrease in the number of years the deal is good for.
Estimate: 3 years/$24 million/$10 million guaranteed
Will he stay?
Seattle currently has just about $23 million in available cap space to work with. That’s not an impossible number to work with, but the team also has a number of players they’ll need to focus on re-signing in the coming weeks. Atop that list should be Pro Bowl tackle Russell Okung, who figures to command a massive amount of interest on the market.
The Seahawks need to find a way to keep Okung for the sake of their running game and for Russell Wilson’s bodily safety, and if they have to break the bank to do so, it will make things a lot harder to keep all their other stud free agents – including Bruce Irvin, Jeremy Lane, Jermaine Kearse, and Mebane.
To make matters worse, it looks like the team might need to work out a new deal with disgruntled defensive end Michael Bennett this offseason too. When you add it all up, chances are good there just might not be enough to keep Mebane in Seattle for 2016.
If he leaves…
The Detroit Lions could be an interesting possibility for Mebane, particularly if the team doesn’t come to terms with free agent Haloti Ngata. While Ngata is a bigger name than Mebane, he also has more wear and tear as a player, so the Lions could look for a tackle with more tread still left on the tires.
Among teams that looked particularly putrid against the run last year, the Philadelphia Eagles stand out as one of the worst rushing defenses of them all. Adding a solid run-stuffer like Mebane up front would make life a lot easier for incoming head coach Doug Pederson as he seeks to right the ship and fix the mess he just inherited from Chip Kelly.