JACKSONVILLE – The Jaguars made an early move into free agency on Saturday.
And when they did, they not only made a move to strengthen the defensive line, they did it with a player very familiar to the Jaguars' coaching staff.
Red Bryant, a defensive end who spent his first seven NFL seasons with the Seattle Seahawks, agreed to terms and signed with the Jaguars on Saturday, adding front-line talent and experience to the Jaguars' defensive front.
"We're excited about the addition of Red to the defensive line," Jaguars general manager David Caldwell said in a statement. "Red has been a productive player in the NFL. When he became available as a free agent I went to Gus to see if this was a player that would fit into our culture. Gus was completely on board and spoke highly of what Red could add to our team on and off the field. We feel like we added another veteran presence along the line."
The NFL's free agency period begins Tuesday, with teams allowed to speak to and negotiate with agents for players scheduled to become free agents beginning Saturday. Bryant was able to sign with the Jaguars because he was released by Seattle last Saturday.
Released players are no longer under contract and fall into a different free-agent category under which they may sign withany NFL team at any time. "Normal" free agents remain under contract with their current teams until March 11.
Bryant (6-feet-4, 323 pounds) played four seasons, 2009-2012, for Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley when Bradley was the Seahawks' defensive coordinator. Jaguars defensive line coach Todd Wash spent 2011-2012 in the same role in Seattle.
Bryant, 29, a fourth-round selection in the 2008 NFL Draft from Texas A&M, started 47 of a possible 48 regular-season games the past three seasons, and for his career he has started 55 games. He moved into the starting lineup in 2010, the first year of head coach Pete Carroll's tenure in Seattle.
He has 3.5 sacks for his career with six passes defensed.
Bryant likely will compete with 2010 first-round draft selection Tyson Alualu at the Jaguars' strong-side – or "five-technique" – defensive end position. That end plays opposite the team's pass-rush oriented Leo position and has an extensive role in the run defense.
Bryant was considered a team leader on a Seattle defense that was among the NFL's best the past two seasons, served as the Seahawks' defensive captain each year. But his release by Seattle following the team's Super Bowl victory in early February had been expected for salary cap reasons.
Bryant was Pro Football Focus' 11th-ranked defensive end against the run last season, but his snaps had been reduced in recent seasons in Seattle's rotation-heavy defensive front. He played 488 snaps last season after playing 641 in 2012.