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Injury Update: Seahawks confirm Justin Britt’s season is over

Baltimore Ravens v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images

Since the Seattle Seahawks drafted Justin Britt with the final pick in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft, he’s been a mainstay in the lineup. He’s not only played in 87 of 88 regular season games, logging 86 starts, he’s been in the lineup for all eight postseason games the team has played during his tenure as well. The only game he has missed during his five and a half seasons as a Seahawk was the Week 12 2016 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

In a strange coincidence, when Britt misses his second career game this Sunday, it will be when Seattle plays the Buccaneers for the second time during his time with the team. Unfortunately, fans will need to adjust to watching the team play without Britt on the field, as on Monday the team confirmed the severity of the knee injury he suffered Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons.

Thus, while the team has not yet moved him to injured reserve, Britt will not set foot on the field for the Seahawks again in 2019. Unfortunately for Britt, it could also spell the end of his time with Seattle for good. As Gregg Bell of the Tacoma News Tribune points out, between his injury and his scheduled 2020 salary, Britt is unlikely to remain on the roster next season.

Now, as Britt would seem unlikely to be able to pass a physical by the time the Hawks would release him in the spring, the initial cap savings would likely be slightly less than $8.75M. The reason for this is because when teams release an injured player who is under contract for the next season, that player is covered under the injury protections provided by Article 45 of the CBA. This is the same injury protection that resulted in Cliff Avril receiving a portion of his 2018 salary after the Seahawks released him, as well as Doug Baldwin in 2019.

In Britt’s case, the team would carry an additional $1.2M cap charge until he signs with another team, meaning the 2020 savings would be $7.55M until he signs elsewhere. Alternatively, should he decide he does not wish to play anymore going forward, there’s always the possibility he walks away from the game. He wouldn’t be the first player to retire before his age 29 season, but with the possibility of earning one more large contract before truly reaching the age at which offensive linemen are more often pushed into retirement, it seems more likely that he would continue to ply his trade.

It will be a situation worth watching through the offseason, as the Hawks will be potentially be on the lookout for a new starting center, as Joey Hunt is a restricted free agent after this season, and Justin Britt possibly looking for a new team to play for.