The Seahawks like what they see in Brandon Mebane’s return and Ahtyba Rubin’s debut.
That became apparent Sunday morning when Seattle released starting defensive tackle Tony McDaniel, a 10-year veteran, to help pay for the weekend’s $130.7 million splurge in contract extensions to Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner.
The move saves the Seahawks about $3 million against this year’s salary cap.
McDaniel started 29 of 32 regular-season games in his two seasons with the team, including 14 last season as the “three-technique” tackle playing in the gap between the offense’s guard and tackle. That’s the job Rubin, a six-year starter for Cleveland until Seattle signed him to a one-year, $2.6 million contract this spring, took over in practice Sunday.
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“Yeah Rubin, we’re really excited about him,” coach Pete Carroll said following Sunday’s practice, the first in shoulder pads since camp started on Friday. “He’s a very physical guy at the point of attack. He moves right up into that role of the big guy who can stop the line of scrimmage. He’s an unusual player in pursuit for a big man; he chases the ball like crazy. So we have a really good alternative now as he steps up.”
Mebane is the 30-year old the Seahawks chose to keep. He’s been with the team since 2007, three years before Carroll and general manager John Schneider arrived. His salary cap charge for this year, the final one of his contract, is $5.7 million.
Mebane has spent the last two days inside as the nose tackle, in his return from tearing his hamstring in November. He says he began feeling back to full health in April, and now feels like he’s “25 or 24.”
“Thirty years old ain’t old, man,” Mebane said.
It was too old for McDaniel on Sunday.
“It is a significant loss. Tony has been a really good core player for us, and we really liked him and what he’s brought to our club,” Carroll said. “This decision sucks, but you know we had to do something.
“By the way, in case you guys missed it, Mebane was great. Gosh, he’s come out flying. I think Brandon is probably in the best shape of his life.
“So he’s ready to play nose tackle and Rubin will play three-technique for the most part. But both those guys could flip. There will be times when we might want to match up and we’ll do different things.”
Carroll mentioned David King, Jordan Hill and Demarcus Dobbs as others for whom opportunity is knocking now that McDaniel is gone.
TRADE FOR CORNER DEPTH
As if their weekend wasn’t busy enough, the Seahawks acquired cornerback Mohammed Seisay from Detroit in a trade announced during Sunday morning’s practice. Seattle is sending a later-round draft choice in 2016 to the Lions for the second-year man from Nebraska.
The 6-foot-2, 206-pound Seisay was on his way to the Seattle area Sunday and is expected to be on the Seahawks’ practice field Monday.
He was undrafted last year before Detroit signed him as a rookie free agent in May 2014. The Lions put him on their practice squad Aug. 31 after their final preseason cuts, then added him to the active roster for their third game. He stayed with the team the rest of the year, appearing in 13 games and a playoff game at Dallas.
“We’re light at numbers in the DB area, and we have some young guys that are doing some cool things at the safety spots that we want to see, and we don’t want to have to mix those guys at corner,” Carroll said. “This is a guy (Seisay) that we see something special in.
“He’s long, he’s fast, and he’s very athletic. He’s young at the spot, so he’ll be a guy that we’ll try to build and we’ll see where he fits in.”
The Seahawks are without cornerback and nickel back Jeremy Lane indefinitely; he is recovering from a compound fracture in his arm and knee surgery from February. Lane is likely to begin the season on the physically-unable-to-perform list, which will keep him out at least the first six weeks of the regular season.
Seattle is also missing reserve cornerback Tharold Simon, a fill-in starter last season. Simon is rehabilitating a shoulder injury through which he played the latter part of last season.
The Seahawks will get extra, compensatory picks in the later rounds of the 2016 draft. That’s the flip side of losing starting cornerback Byron Maxwell (to Philadelphia) plus left guard James Carpenter (to the New York Jets), linebacker Malcolm Smith (to Oakland) and defensive end O’Brien Schofield (to Atlanta) in free agency. Detroit could be getting one of those comp picks, potentially ranging in rounds three through seven.
SS Kam Chancellor finished the third day of his holdout, meaning the team could fine him up to $90,000 and counting for staying away to protest a contract that is paying the thumping strong safety and team leader $4.45 million guaranteed this season. All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman was the latest teammate to say he fully supports Chancellor’s stance. ... Sherman cannot fathom fellow All-Pro Earl Thomas missing a real game. Yet many are speculating the free safety won’t be recovered from his shoulder surgery Feb. 24 in time to play when Seattle opens at St. Louis Sept. 13. “That’d be a pretty crazy idea, in my opinion,” Sherman said. He noted Thomas has yet to miss any of 80 regular-season games or 10 postseason ones since entering the NFL as Seattle’s first-round pick in 2010. “He just has an itch about him, to play this game. ... He’s not the kind of guy to want that to change.” ... The first day in shoulder pads was heavy on situational team drills such as the 2-minute offense. In that drill, WR Douglas McNeil impressed for the second consecutive day. ... The biggest cheers of the day for another sun-splashed crowd of a couple thousand at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center came when RB Marshawn Lynch ambled to the railing separating the fans from the field following practice to sign autographs. He was wearing a blue team sweatshirt with the hood up on the 83-degree day. ... FB Derrick Coleman will miss at least a week with a hamstring injury, Carroll said.