The decision carried risk as Bryant headed toward free agency, but it all worked out in the end. The team reached agreement with Bryant on a five-year deal worth $35 million, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. Bryant would have received $10.6 million for one season as a franchise player, setting an inflated average for any long-term deal.
Seattle has now re-signed its top free-agent defensive lineman in back-to-back offseasons. Brandon Mebane re-signed with the team a year ago.
The Seahawks and Bryant, 27, were the best fit for one another. Coach Pete Carroll and defensive coordinator Gus Bradley created a role for Bryant with the former defensive tackle's specific skills in mind. Bryant lined up over the tight end as a five-technique lineman, anchoring a Seattle run defense that ranked 15th in total rushing yards allowed and fourth in yards per carry allowed. Bryant played about two-thirds of the defensive snaps.
Seattle has now re-signed its top two free agents. Marshawn Lynch was the other. Finding pass-rush help remains a priority, but the Seahawks were not among the teams linked to Mario Williams as the signing period opened.
The Seahawks valued Bryant not only for his strength against the run, but also for his affable personality in the locker room.