While the release of Justin Britt and D.J. Fluker may not have been totally surprising, the timing of both moves was curious. Cut loose from the Seahawks in quick succession, the pair’s release immediately sparked ideas of an imminent Jadeveon Clowney return.
Days after those moves were made, John Schneider explained the decisions as simple cap casualties, and ones that were largely expected since the end of the season.
John Schneider on cutting Justin Britt and DJ Fluker: "Tough cap casualty decisions to make...These are things that we work through and plan on."— 950 KJR (@SportsRadioKJR) May 1, 2020
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Schneider also provided some information on the offensive linemen still on Seattle’s roster, while in part explaining Fluker’s release. Asked about third-round pick Damien Lewis, John Schneider said, “Once we drafted Damien everybody felt like we were drafting a starting right guard in the National Football League. He’s just a man.”
Upon being selected, Lewis was expected to compete with Fluker for the starting spot on the right side. Following Fluker’s release and Schneider’s comment Thursday, it appears the rookie is all set to start out of the gate.
On the other side of the offensive line, incumbent starter Mike Iupati will be competing with sophomore Phil Haynes for the starting spot. While that competition has been anticipated going back to last summer, it does have a pair of implications. B.J. Finney, a free agent addition who has previous experience across the interior, seems set to take over for Britt at center. Meanwhile, Jamarco Jones, who captured the imaginations of fans after his relief performance at guard in Week 5 against Aaron Donald and the Rams, looks like the odd-man-out in the guard competition. Following George Fant and Germain Ifedi’s exits in free agency, Jones could return to his natural position.
At season’s end, Pete Carroll expressed the desire for continuity along the offensive line. With three of five starters gone and another, Iupati, being pushed for his starting spot, that continuity won’t happen. But following Schneider’s comments on Thursday, at least there is some clarity upfront.