Seahawks release veteran offensive linemen D.J. Fluker and Justin Britt

Apr 26, 2020, 5:06 PM | Updated: Apr 27, 2020, 2:10 pm
Seahawks release Justin Britt...
Justin Britt has spent all six seasons of his NFL career with the Seahawks. (AP)

The Seahawks drafted a candidate to be their right guard next season in the third round of the NFL Draft. Two days later, it was made clear just how serious Seattle is about playing LSU’s Damien Lewis.

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Veteran right guard D.J. Fluker announced via a heartfelt post on his Twitter account followed by a video Sunday that he has been released by the team, ending a two-season tenure with the Seahawks.

Shortly after news of Fluker’s release, it was reported that center Justin Britt was also being released. Britt seemed to acknowledge it by posting a peace sign emoji on the story feature of his Instagram account, and Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson soon after shared a post on his own Instagram account that indicated that Britt has been cut loose.

“Well JB.. thanks for all the focus and hard work and love you brought to the game,” Wilson’s post reads. “You laid it on the line for many years together and I will be forever grateful for your work ethic, passion, and love for the game, but most importantly others. Although I wish we could keep celebrating in the End Zone together and I wish it could be longer, the reality is your best days are ahead of you. Go be who you are destined to be.”

The Seahawks made both moves official Monday afternoon.

Britt, 28, was drafted by the Seahawks in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft out of Missouri. It took him a few seasons to find his footing in the pros, but he developed into a reliable center, even earning a Pro Bowl alternate nod for his play in 2016, his first full year at center. He was the longest tenured member of Seattle’s O-line, but the combination of his $9 million average salary and a season-ending ACL injury in 2019 made him a likely candidate to be cut this offseason. That became even more apparent when Seattle signed B.J. Finney away from Pittsburgh in free agency, giving the Seahawks another option at center along with Joey Hunt, who took over the starting spot in 2019 after Britt’s injury.

Until Britt’s injury, he had played – and started –all but one of Seattle’s regular season games since he was drafted. He missed one playoff game during his rookie season.

Fluker, 29, started 23 games and played in 24 overall for the Seahawks after signing with the team prior to the 2018 season. The seven-year veteran came to Seattle after one season with the New York Giants and four with the then-San Diego Chargers, who picked him 11th overall in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft out of Alabama.

Both Seahawks general manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll were bullish about the prospect of Lewis starting in 2020 when asked following his selection in the draft on Friday night. Schneider noted that Lewis already experience in 22 games of “big-time football” playing for 2019 national champion LSU, and Carroll said Lewis “won’t take a back seat to anybody.”

“He’s going to come in here and battle for it,” Carroll said when asked if Lewis would compete to start at right guard. “We feel really good. That’s really part of the reason why we took him. We want him to come in here and battle to play. All of that competition will make us better.”

The releases clear up a considerable amount of salary cap space, fueling speculation that Seattle may be working towards finally re-signing Jadeveon Clowney or making a move for a different pass rusher in free agency. Fluker would carry a salary cap hit of $4,187,500 in 2020, according to Spotrac, while Britt would carry a cap hit of $11,416,668.

Follow 710 ESPN Seattle’s Brent Stecker on Twitter.

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