2010-12 Alan Branch vs. Tony McDaniel
McDaniel's salary on a one-year deal will surely fall below what Alan Branch earned on a recently completed two-year deal. All else equal, I presume the Seahawks would have preferred to keep Branch. Perhaps they can get him on the cheap at some point in the future.
For now, though, it's looking like the Seahawks added a veteran defensive tackle with their budget in mind.
The Seahawks have built a young defense with an especially affordable back seven. They rank 30th in projected 2013 cap dollars committed to cornerbacks. They're 15th in that category at safety. But the rankings are in the top five at defensive tackle and defensive end thanks to the contracts for Chris Clemons, Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril, Red Bryant and Brandon Mebane. Adding a cheaper defensive tackle made sense in that context. We'll see if McDaniel provides more than insurance.
"His length hinders his ability to play with good pad level, and he lacks great lateral agility in space," Scouts Inc. wrote of the 6-foot-7 McDaniel before last season. "He does flash power at the point of attack defending the run and pushing the pocket. McDaniel continues to make progress but is still raw."
McDaniel has started five games in seven NFL seasons. Branch has started 31 games over the past two seasons. However, Branch was considered a disappointing second-round choice in Arizona, where he started three games in four years, before signing with Seattle. He played well for the Seahawks. Could McDaniel emerge, too? I don't know, but if McDaniel signed on a bargain deal, as anticipated, then we should set expectations accordingly.
It's not yet clear how much the Seahawks will count on McDaniel. Jaye Howard is a young defensive tackle the team hopes to develop. Seattle could draft for the position as well. I'd be surprised if the Seahawks invested a significant sum for a veteran at the position, however. That wouldn't seem to fit in the bigger picture.