The Hawks reportedly are bringing in Rubin on a one-year, prove-it deal — not unlike the contract Michael Bennett signed in 2013.
Rubin, 28, is a big-time run stopper who tallied 80 tackles twice in seven seasons with the Cleveland Browns and was making more than $6 million a year. The Hawks are paying him about half that, especially considering they apparently think $5.5 million is too much to pay the 30-year-old Mebane. (Update: Rubin reportedly will make up to $3.1 million.)
Whether they keep both players or pair Rubin with Tony McDaniel (making $3 million) and send Mebane the way of former Seahawks draft picks Red Bryant and Max Unger, it is obvious the Hawks need to address the position beyond this year.
It’s possible Rubin returns to form (an ankle injury limited him in 2014) and plays well enough to merit a longer deal.
But the Hawks need to address the position in the draft. The Hawks could add the other Michael Bennett or Grady Jarrett in the second round — they aren’t nose tackles, but they are both pressure tackles who could help Seattle’s line. Marcus Hardison and Gabe Wright appear to be possibilities in the third round.
Under John Schneider, the Hawks have not hit on many defensive linemen, but they also have not taken many in the first three rounds. Jordan Hill is their highest of nine D-line picks (not counting Bruce Irvin, who converted to linebacker), and the 2013 third-rounder showed great promise before getting hurt late last season.
The Hawks might be smart to use their second- or third-rounder on a D-lineman, if they want one in this draft and the right guy is there.
The Hawks figure to be getting a good deal on Rubin.
Former Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren, who was Cleveland’s president from 2010 to 2012, told KJR on Wednesday that the Hawks “should sign him. He’s a great football player. I can’t believe Cleveland is letting him out of there.”
Rubin is Seattle’s kind of guy: He plays hurt and goes all out all of the time. And he’s the antithesis of Chris Borland: Rubin says he wants to play for 12 or 13 years.
Rubin is the first UFA the Hawks have signed. With tight end Tony Moeaki following Dan Quinn to Atlanta on Thursday, they have lost six (not counting Bryan Walters, who was an untendered restricted free agent).
The Hawks are still in line to receive four comp picks in 2016, but Rubin probably got paid enough to offset the sixth-round pick that Malcolm Smith would have netted. So, the Hawks probably are looking at comp picks in rounds 3, 5, 7 and 7.
With D’Anthony Smith and long snapper Clint Gresham re-signing, the Hawks have six free agents remaining: DL Kevin Williams, C Lemuel Jeanpierre, OL Steve Schilling, DL Demarcus Dobbs, LB Heath Farwell, FB Will Tukuafu.
Farwell recently said Williams and the Hawks had mutual interest in another season, but the Hawks have been hunting around for all kinds of D-linemen over the past two weeks.
They also have been looking for centers, with Stefen Wisniewski and Dan Connolly drawing their interest. If they can’t upgrade at a fair price, they likely will bring back either Jeanpierre or Schilling and hope to draft a guy.