The NFL offseason is in full swing, with the start of the new league year and free agency still scheduled for Wednesday at 4:00 PM New York Time. While that could certainly change in the coming days, Friday and the next few days will be extremely telling when it comes to whether the Seattle Seahawks may make Justin Britt a cap casualty this offseason.
Many fans have already written Britt off as certain to be released based on the amount of cap space the Hawks would save with his release. However, these predictions for his departure from the team may prove to be faulty if he is still with the team next week. Specifically, when the Seahawks have released players for salary cap related reasons, they have done so prior to the start of free agency.
When they released Richard Sherman, Jeremy Lane and DeShawn Shead in 2018, they did so prior to the start of free agency, presumably so that those three would not be at a disadvantage compared to other players looking for new contracts. That continued a trend they had started years prior of releasing higher paid players prior to the start of free agency.
- 2019: Malik McDowell
- 2018: Sherman, Lane and Shead
- 2015: Zach Miller
- 2014: Sidney Rice and Chris Clemons
- 2012: Marcus Trufant
So, with that laid out, if Britt remains on the roster through the start of free agency next week, then there would seem to be no real reason to anticipate his release anytime soon. The team has released players in May in recent seasons, including Cliff Avril, Doug Baldwin and Kam Chancellor, however all of those players were headed to retirement and not looking to continue playing. That means, with reports so far having indicated that Britt is working out at the VMAC in order to be fully recovered from the torn ACL that ended his 2019 season prematurely, there would seem to be little reason to anticipate a release later in the offseason.
In addition, the same logic applies to multiple other players on the roster, including K.J. Wright, D.J. Fluker, Ed Dickson and any others who have been mentioned as potential cap casualties. So, for fans who have marked the release of Britt, Wright, Fluker and Dickson up as a done deal, the coming days are likely to be very telling. The uncertainty surrounding the salary cap and the rules that will be in effect are obviously reliant on the union vote that on the proposed CBA that ends Saturday. That makes the timeline for the release of any Seahawks as cap casualties a little more murky than in years past, and means those moves could come on Monday or Tuesday as well.
In any case, if the league decides to keep the offseason schedule intact and the players many suspect will be released for cap purposes are still around come next Thursday morning, there would seem to be no reason to anticipate their release anytime soon. It’s wait and see for now, but it’s certainly something to watch for in the coming days.