While Brandon Mebane (and his $5.5 million salary) had been the rumored candidate for months, it turned out to be Tony McDaniel, whose release added $3 million to the $2 million or so the Hawks had left under this year’s cap. They typically like to have at least $4 million in reserve for practice squad and injury replacements during the season.
Pete Carroll was not happy to lose the 30-year-old McDaniel, who had been a key member of Seattle’s top-seven run defense in each of the past two Super Bowl seasons.
“It is a significant loss,” 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. Maybe there’s a chance we can get him back someday; I don’t know how that will work. Unfortunately, that’s what had to happen today.”
It weakens the depth on a defensive line that had looked pretty stout, especially at tackle, and means Mebane and Ahtyba Rubin will have to carry the weight as the run stoppers.
The next immediate roster concern is holdout safety Kam Chancellor.
“Since we needed to turn our attention to (Chancellor’s situation), we have,” Carroll said, “but now (with Wilson and Wagner signed) we really can get after it. I’m hoping we can back to it as soon as possible. We miss the heck out of him.”
Because Chancellor has three years left on his deal, it seems unlikely John Schneider will make any adjustment to it this year. Marshawn Lynch had two years left last year, when he held out for a week before taking the team’s offer to accelerate guaranteed money from 2014 and 2015.
If the Hawks decide to accommodate Chancellor, who is due to make $4.55 million, they would face two problems: (1) They might have to cut another player or adjust another contract and (2) Michael Bennett then probably would leave camp until his deal was addressed, too.
The one way they could avoid cutting another player is by extending Chancellor’s deal past 2017 — they could turn most of his salary into signing bonus while giving him a pay boost. Of course, they would have to do the same with Bennett — and then any other star player who became disenchanted with his deal in the future. And the 2016 cap would suddenly be very, very tight.
It’s probably best to nip this in the bud now and simply tell Chancellor and Bennett they will try to upgrade their deals next offseason.