The Seattle Seahawks made two massive moves along their offensive line on Sunday, releasing center Justin Britt and right guard D.J. Fluker (Aaron Fentress of the Athletic broke the Britt news and Fluker broke his own release).
The cuts save Seattle a collective $12.2 million in cap space ($8.5 for Britt and $3.7 for Fluker), and the Seahawks now have north of $20 million in cap space
As far as the offensive line is concerned, that means free agent acquisition B.J. Finney is the new odds on favorite to start at center while 2020 third-round pick Damien Lewis should replace Fluker in the starting lineup at right guard. Of course, Pete Carroll will emphatically emphasize that both players will need to earn their jobs, but it’ll be their jobs to lose nonetheless.
At left guard, incumbent Mike Iupati should be in line to start for a second-straight season. Given that at least 60% of the o-line will likley be new (Finney, Lewis and Brandon Shell at RT), Carroll would probably prefer that the left side remain stable with Duane Brown and Iupati. Jamarco Jones, Phil Haynes and Jordan Simmons should be Iupati’s top competition at left guard.
But what about the money being saved? Why now for Britt? That move had long been speculated and yet it took Seattle more than a month into the new league year to pull the trigger.
It seems logical that the buoyed cap space is a precursor to another move. Jadeveon Clowney or another top pass rusher is the logical conclusion.
Here’s what John Schneider said regarding the Clowney situation on Saturday following the conclusion of the draft.
“We don’t shut the door on anything really,” the GM explained. “Basically, with Clowney, I’ll just put it out there, he did a great job for us. He was amazing this past year. We were in negotiations with his agent for a long time and at some point, you need to move on and keep conducting business. It’s not Jadeveon’s fault, it’s nobody’s fault. You have to keep moving or your going to get beat.”
So did Clowney come to some revelation over the lasts 24 hours that he wants to get a deal done? Did Seattle decide that it’s worth it to meet Clowney’s asking price? Those are both relevant questions we don’t yet know the answer to. However, we could find out soon giving the timing of the Britt and Fluker moves.
There’s also the possibility that Seattle is targeting Everson Griffen or Markus Golden. Both players would immediately become the Seahawks top pass rusher, ahead of Bruce Irvin and 2020 second-round pick Darrell Taylor. Schneider said that waiting on Clowney would not keep them from pursuing other players. There's also the more farfetched possibility of a trade for a franchise tagged player like Jacksonville's Yannick Ngakoue or Baltimore's Matt Judon.
We still have more questions than answers, but that could change in the coming days. Stay tuned…