A few more notes and thoughts on the three-year deal the Seahawks reached Monday with defensive tackle Ahtyba Rubin:
Contract details. Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports, who broke the news of the agreement, was also the first to report Tuesday that it’s worth a total of $12 million. Tom Pelissero of USA Today provided a more detailed breakdown of the contract. According to Pelissero, it includes a $4.5 million signing bonus with base salaries of $1 million, $1.7 million and $3.3 million. Per-game roster bonuses worth up to $500,000 each season make up the remaining $1.5 million. That means Rubin will count $3 million against Seattle’s salary cap in 2016, assuming he plays in all 16 games. Nothing in Pelissero’s breakdown of the deal indicates there’s any guaranteed money beyond 2016. However, Rubin’s cap charge for 2017 is a very manageable $3.7 million. The Seahawks would only save $700,000 by releasing him because they’d have to eat $3 million in remaining signing-bonus proration, which means there’s a good chance Rubin plays out at least the first two years of the deal.
Money in perspective. The $4 million average of Rubin’s deal seems reasonable from both sides’ perspective. It’s $1.4 million more than what Rubin made on a one-year deal in 2015, a justifiable raise considering the season he had. It’s $1.5 million less than what fellow defensive tackle Brandon Mebane made in 2015 on the final year of his deal, which averaged $5 million. And it’s in line with what the recent market has been like for similar defensive tackles, i.e., early-down run stuffers who don’t provide much pass-rush production.
Timing. The initial report of Rubin’s deal came only 10 hours after the opening of the window in which other teams could legally begin negotiating with his agent, which is fairly early in the process. But even if he could have potentially gotten a better deal had he waited longer, consider Rubin’s free-agent experience last year. He waited until the 10th day of the signing period and (presumably) the best deal he could get was for $2.6 million. By agreeing to his latest deal with Seattle when he did, Rubin got a nice raise to stay put and he didn’t have to go through another long wait.
How it might impact Mebane. Seattle’s deal with Rubin doesn’t necessarily preclude the team from re-signing Mebane, but it might make that less of a necessity. The Seahawks presumably did not want to lose both players, which would have forced them to replace two starters at a position where they are not especially deep. Losing Mebane wouldn’t be as big of a blow now that Rubin is coming back. The Seahawks have offered Mebane a contract, according to 710 ESPN Seattle’s Gee Scott, who reported Monday that three other teams are interested. Paying Rubin $4 million a season could impact whatever wiggle room the Seahawks might have to increase their offer to Mebane should they need to.