Brandon Mebane's return big for Seattle

The Seattle Seahawks ran low on defensive linemen last season and got trampled in the ground game as a result.

At best, they needed to bring back key contributors and add depth.

Adding free agent Alan Branch for depth and reaching agreement with their own free agent, Brandon Mebane, were steps in the right direction. General manager John Schneider announced Mebane's signing when meeting with reporters at team headquarters Friday.

Branch, expected to sign a two-year deal, was a disappointment in Arizona. But if he becomes in Seattle what he ultimately became for the Cardinals -- a decent backup with the athletic ability to disrupt opponents on occasion -- the Seahawks will be better for his addition. They don't necessarily need Branch to fulfill the potential Arizona saw in him coming out of the draft in 2007. They just need him to upgrade their depth. Branch does that.

Reaching agreement with Mebane was trickier because Mebane was a better prospect with superior options in the market. A good all-around tackle, Mebane finished last season with a disappointing sack total -- one -- and that hurt his value even though Mebane produced in other ways. But the Seahawks missed him when an injury sidelined him last season. They would have been worse off without him.