Seahawks release former first-round pick D.J. Fluker along with Justin Britt following 2020 NFL Draft

The elation experienced by NFL teams and the entering rookie class following the draft is always palpable, but so is what usually happens to some veterans around the league in the aftermath of collegiate talent finding their way into the professional football ranks. The most recent example of this dynamic came by way of the Seattle Seahawks, who selected former LSU standout Damien Lewis — who earned second-team All-SEC honors in 2019 — with the 69th-overall pick, adding him to a group of offensive lineman bursting at the seams with guards. To make room for Lewis and acquire some cap relief in the process, the team released guard D.J. Fluker on Sunday, the veteran announced, as well as center Justin Britt as they move pieces around in the trenches.

In addition to drafting Lewis, the team also added Chance Warmack and B.J. Finney in free agency, along with re-signing Joey Hunt and returning Mike Iupati to the mix.

Dear 12s, I was released by the Seahawks today,” Fluker wrote in a tweet. “Couple of things: I am not upset, or hurt. This is a business and one that I’ve been in for a while. I want to thank [general manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll] for their very thoughtful calls. 

“Stay safe, be kind and I love y’all. Thank you, Seattle.”

Fluker’s release is a sobering reality of the business of football, and it wasn’t a move entirely expected from the Seahawks. 

For although the team suffered notable protection issues the past couple of seasons in front of Russell Wilson, Fluker wasn’t a consistent offender. In fact, he was one of the few bright spots on an otherwise porous offensive line. The 29-year-old joined Seattle in March 2018 before signing a two-year deal one year later. And now, one year after that, he’s officially a free agent looking for a new home.

“Fluke!!! Going to miss you bro!” said Wilson after hearing the news. “Keep bringing the energy. Love you bro!” 

Fluker is a former 11th-overall pick of the Los Angeles Chargers (2013), having made a name for himself by garnering first-team All-SEC and first-team All-American honors at Alabama. He burst out of the gate at the NFL level, earning a nod to the PFWA All-Rookie Team and going on to play out his rookie deal with the Chargers before signing on with the New York Giants, and then ultimately the Seahawks. With plenty of tread remaining on his tires, he’ll undoubtedly get interest from OL-needy teams who didn’t resolve the need in free agency going into the draft, and/or during the draft itself.

The same can be said for Britt, a 28-year-old landing in free agency for the first time since joining the Seahawks as their second-round pick in 2014. It may be a more robust market for Fluker, but Britt is also ultra-durable — having missed only one game in five seasons before suffering a torn ACL in 2019.

“In life, we all meet people who we get to spend time with and talk life and compete to be the best in the world with,” Wilson said of Britt. “Well J.B, thanks for all the focus and hard work and love you brought to the game. 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. I’m grateful God put you in my life and I can’t wait to watch the rest of your journey. Love you brother.”

Fluker’s release lands the Seahawks $3.7 million in cap savings and another $8.5 million in room by moving on from Britt. Some speculate the moves could also have been done to make room for a potential re-signing of Jadeveon Clowney, but that’s yet to be determined. 

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