Red Bryant #79 of the Seattle Seahawks tackles Adrian Peterson #28 of the Minnesota Vikings as Kyle Rudolph #82 tries to block during play at CenturyLink Field on November 4, 2012 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)

by Curtis Crabtree
KJR reporter
Twitter: @Curtis_Crabtree

Pete Carroll and John Schneider knew they would face difficult decisions this offseason.

Coming off the first Super Bowl victory in franchise history, the Seattle Seahawks face the challenge of keeping their roster together while dealing with the restrictions of the salary cap.

Carroll and Schneider knew it would ultimately mean parting ways with players that helped lay the foundation for their first championship.

And those moves have apparently already begun to take place.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported on Friday that Seattle was releasing WR Sidney Rice. That was followed by Alex Marvez of Fox Sports and Sirius XM NFL Radio reporting Sunday night that the Seahawks were planning to release DE Red Bryant.

Bryant was the emotional leader of a defense that put together perhaps the single most dominant performance in Super Bowl history. Rice was one of the key early free agent signings for Seattle after Carroll took over the team in 2010.

Nevertheless, the financial realities made the release of both players inevitable.

Seattle doesn't have much in the way of salary cap space. In order to spend money this offseason on re-signing their own free agents or offering extensions to key players, they have to find the money to spend.

The release of Rice will save Seattle $7.3 million against the salary cap. Bryant's release will save $5.5 million. Bryant was also due a $3 million roster bonus in March. Though the moves have not been officially made as of yet, they are very likely to occur.

The release of Bryant and Rice would save $12.8 million in cap space.

Rice has been often injured during his time in Seattle and is coming off an ACL tear in October. Bryant played just 18 of 69 defensive snaps in the Super Bowl. He's a strong run defender and a leader in the locker room, but it's not worth $8.5 million.

It's unlikely Bryant and Rice will be the last to go.

DE Chris Clemons is scheduled to cost $9.67 million next season and TE Zach Miller will cost $7 million against the salary cap. With Seattle actively looking to re-sign DE Michael Bennett, Clemons becomes an expensive, redundant player with DE Cliff Avril and Bennett (presumably) still on the roster. Releasing Clemons would save Seattle an additional $7.5 million against the cap.

Miller could also potentially be released or forced to take a pay cut to remain with the team. Miller's release would save $5 million.

With Seattle seeking extensions for S Earl Thomas and CB Richard Sherman this offseason and trying to re-sign Bennett and WR Golden Tate, the money has to come from somewhere. The Seahawks also have to keep an eye toward next year and the inevitable large extension for QB Russell Wilson.

Unfortunately for veteran players such as Bryant and Rice, it will come at their expense.