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Seahawks sign Justin Britt to 3-year extension

RENTON – The Seahawks have signed center Justin Britt to a three-year contract extension, locking up one of their own players along an offensive line that has been in flux.

The Seahawks announced the deal Thursday. Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reported earlier in the day that the extension is worth more than $9 million per year. According to the NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, $5 million is fully guaranteed and $15 million is guaranteed for injury.

Britt, a second-round pick in 2014, was entering the final year of his rookie deal, which was scheduled to pay him a little under $900,000 in 2017. With the three years of the extension tacked onto that, Britt stands to make about $28 million over the next four seasons, based on the reported terms of his new deal. He’ll be signed through the 2020 season.

Speaking with reporters before the deal was finalized, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll called Britt a “fantastic leader” and noted the significance of Seattle keeping one of its own offensive linemen.

“I think it’s a recognition and an acknowledgment of the player and the teammate that he’s become for us,” Carroll said. “And also the fact that we are able to do it on the offensive line, I think is important to note that. … It’s a statement that we want to make sure and take care of these guys. Justin has done everything that we need him to do. He’s been a great teammate, and if this comes to pass, I’m thrilled we’re able to reward him.”

Seahawks Insider: Uncertainty is literally all right on O-line

Extending Britt is a significant move for an organization whose offensive line has experienced constant turnover in recent seasons while fielding the NFL’s lowest-paid unit. Britt would be the first offensive lineman drafted by Seattle’s current regime to receive a second contract from the Seahawks, who have let starters like James Carpenter, Russell Okung, and J.R. Sweezy leave in free agency once their rookie deals expired. Seattle has parted ways with the other two O-line starters from the 2013 team that won the Super Bowl, Max Unger and Breno Giacomini.

Britt becoming the first of the Seahawks’ homegrown offensive linemen to stick around would have seemed unlikely based on how he bounced around Seattle’s line over his first three seasons. He started at right tackle as a rookie in 2014 and was moved to left guard in 2015 and then to center, where he finally found a home. Britt was Seattle’s most consistent offensive lineman last season.

But even then, extending him now didn’t seem like anything close to a sure thing. That was especially true after the Seahawks spent a second-round pick on Ethan Pocic, who had primarily played center in college and provided Seattle with a long-term option there in case Britt didn’t stick around.

While it would have been reasonable for the Seahawks to want to see a second season of Britt at center before committing big money to him over the long term, that approach would have carried risk. The Seahawks could have either gotten priced out by a offensive line market that has become inflated in recent seasons or they could have been the ones paying the free-agent premium.

By extending him now, the Seahawks get a bit of a discount along with some long-awaited continuity along their offensive line.