The Seattle Seahawks are releasing center Justin Britt, according to multiple reports, and have told right guard D.J. Fluker that they’re releasing him, as well — significant but not surprising moves as they continue to reshuffle their offensive line.
The team will clear $8.5 million in cap space with Britt and nearly $3.7 million with Fluker for a combined savings of just less than $12.2 million, according to ESPN’s Roster Management System data. They leave behind roughly $2.9 million and $500,000 in dead money, respectively.
Britt, who turns 29 in May, had long been considered a candidate to be released, as he’s coming off a torn ACL and was entering the final year of his contract with an $11.4 million cap charge. That figure was scheduled to rank second among NFL centers in 2020 just behind Mitch Morse of the Buffalo Bills, according to Spotrac data. Britt’s release seemed likely early in free agency once the Seahawks signed B.J. Finney, a center who can also play guard, to a two-year, $8 million deal.
Fluker’s future in Seattle was also looking more and more tenuous given other moves the Seahawks made along their offensive line, particularly the selection of right guard Damien Lewis from LSU in the third round of the NFL draft Friday night.
The 29-year-old Fluker announced Sunday on Twitter that the Seahawks told him they’re releasing him. That was shortly before reports surfaced that Seattle was doing the same with Britt. Russell Wilson posted farewell messages to both players.
Going to miss you bro! Keep bringing the energy. Love you bro! 💪🏾🙏🏾
Homies for life. https://t.co/e7AyuHDVUu
— Russell Wilson (@DangeRussWilson) April 27, 2020
He joined the Seahawks as a second-round pick in 2014, playing right tackle as a rookie and left guard in 2015 before finding a permanent home at center in his third season. The Seahawks gave him a three-year, $27 million extension in 2017, making him the first offensive linemen they drafted and extended since coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider took over in 2010. Britt missed only one game over his first five seasons before tearing his ACL in October 2019. He was scheduled to make $8.25 million this season salary with another $500,000 available in roster bonuses.
Fluker was one of the Seahawks’ best free-agent signings of the past few years and a highly regarded presence in their locker room. The 11th overall pick by the Chargers in 2013, he joined the Seahawks in 2018 after one season with the New York Giants and made 23 starts in two seasons in Seattle while missing eight games due to injuries. He was entering the final year of a two-year, $6 million deal he signed with the Seahawks last offseason. It was scheduled to pay him $2 million in base salary with another $1.75 million available in roster bonuses and incentives.
Carroll and Schneider reiterated Saturday after the draft that the door isn’t closed on a potential reunion with defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, though releasing Britt and Fluker is not believed to be indicative of any imminent move with Clowney.
Before drafting Lewis, the Seahawks added a pair of interior offensive linemen in free agency in Finney and guard Chance Warmack. They also re-signed Britt’s backup, Joey Hunt, as a restricted free agent and recently brought back Mike Iupati, their starter at left guard last season.
The Seahawks let right tackle Germain Ifedi and swing tackle George Fant leave in free agency, replacing them with Brandon Shell and Cedric Ogbuehi, respectively.
Drafting Lewis gave them 19 offensive linemen in the fold for 2020, a large number that served as another indication that a veteran or two would likely be released.