Former Seahawks defensive tackle Kevin Williams signed with the Saints on Friday, ending any speculation that he'd reunite for one more year with the team that took him to within a yard of a Super Bowl title last year. The potential Future Hall of Famer and member of the NFL's All-Decade list for the 2000's had expressed the desire to return to Seattle for one last shot at a ring, but also knew that the Seahawks' trend young and have some solid depth on the defensive line for 2015.
"I want to go back to Seattle, but this is a business,'' Williams told Chris Tomasson of The Twin Cities Pioneer Press. "They're still evaluating their roster. I guess there's not that many 12-year veterans that everyone wants. Everyone wants to go younger."
He evidently decided to stop waiting for Seattle to come around.
Williams was a key member of Seattle's defensive line rotation last season, and he played the third-most snaps (487), behind only Mike Bennett and Cliff Avril. He started out rotating with Jordan Hill and Tony McDaniel at the three-technique spot before Brandon Mebane went out with a hamstring injury. Williams then moved down the line in a key injury substitution to take over the nose tackle spot, and played that role well. It was one of those underrated but very important gap-filling moves of the season and helped Seattle's run defense remain strong down the stretch and into the playoffs. The Seahawks evidently feel, though, that they can replace his versatility with some of their younger players this year.
It also helps that Seattle signed Ahtyba Rubin in free agency and that Brandon Mebane's recovery is coming along well. He'll be ready to go once training camp rolls around, he says. "I'll be back the first day of training camp," he told 710 ESPN Seattle's Justin and Gee. "I could go now, but it's really like no need to just jump out there and force the issue."
It's an old and tired cliche of offseason football to talk about how a player is having "his best offseason ever," but that's been the constant refrain from those in Seattle regarding Mebane's last few months. Pete Carroll said recently that he's running around like a defensive back, and then we have this tweet from Doug Baldwin as well:
Watching him train all off season, @Mebane92 is in the best shape of his life and will have the best year of his career! Bet that!— Doug Baldwin Jr (@DougBaldwinJr) June 12, 2015
Cliches aside, Mebane seems motivated to have a bounce-back season after missing much of the end of last year, so that could be very important in replacing Williams on the line. Seattle also seems to believe in the depth they have in Michael Bennett, Tony McDaniel, Jordan Hill, D'Anthony Smith, Jimmy Staten, Cassius Marsh, Greg Scruggs, Demarcus Dobbs, T.Y. McGill, and a few others.