On 710 ESPN, John Clayton said, “I think they’d like to find a way to be able to keep him.”
That’s both ominous and surprising.
It’s hard to imagine the Hawks parting with Mebane, especially with so few in-house options at nose tackle. He was playing some of his best football before suffering a torn hamstring in November and being place on injured reserve.
Mebane, 30, is slated to make $5.5 million in the final year of his deal. Clayton thinks he is in line for a pay cut like tight end Zach Miller took last year, when he reduced his 2014 pay from $6 million to $2.88 million and his 2015 pay from $5 million to $3 million.
Of course, the difference is: This is the final year of Mebane’s contract. So they either would be asking him to take a pure pay cut or they could extend his deal by a couple of years. The pay cut does not really make sense, but Clayton thinks the Hawks think so.
Clayton also thinks Kevin Williams could still fit with the Hawks, depending on whether the 34-year-old wants to return and whether the Hawks feel they need him.
Clayton tied it to the Mebane situation: “I don’t think they’re going to close the door (on Williams) until they figure out what they’re going to do with Brandon Mebane.”
Some also think the Hawks will end up cutting Miller, but Clayton does not. Miller is due $3 million in 2015 — $1.05 million in salary, $200,000 in workout bonuses and $1.75 million in roster bonuses.
If the Hawks end up signing Denver tight end Julius Thomas or another tight end, Miller might then be in danger. Until then, he should be safe — despite the fact that he missed all but three games last season after having ankle surgery. At the Combine, Pete Carroll said he is recovering well and should be fine for the start of next season.
The Jaguars are one of Clayton’s favorites to sign cornerback Byron Maxwell because the Jaguars have to spend an extra $17.4 million against the salary cap over the next two years to satisfy the CBA’s requirement that teams spend 89 percent against the cap over four years. The Oakland Raiders are light $22 million.
“Both teams have to pick up the pace and start paying players,” Clayton said. “They don’t have many guys to re-sign, so they need to go outside and get guys.”
Guard James Carpenter apparently is hoping to make $4 million a year on a new contract, Clayton said. The Seahawks, meanwhile, are aiming for no more than $3 million (as we thought). Carpenter figures to test the market.