Seahawks re-signing Justin Britt is unlikely after 2017

SANTA CLARA, CA - JANUARY 01: Garry Gilliam
SANTA CLARA, CA - JANUARY 01: Garry Gilliam /

The Seattle Seahawks may have drafted Justin Britt’s replacement this year in Ethan Pocic

Centers are becoming a much higher paid group in the NFL lately. This past Tuesday, the Jacksonville Jaguars made their center, Brandon Linder, the highest paid center in NFL history. His contract extension is worth $51.7 million over five years. Four centers will make $8 million or more in 2017. That numbers goes up to seven in 2018, including four getting more than $10 million.

The Seahawks since John Schneider and Pete Carroll came to Seattle have not been known to pay offensive linemen at high levels. No Seahawk lineman has been given a new contract after the rookie one ran out. Gone are players like Russell Okung. Not that Okung is a great player, but he would have been the most talented one on the line on last year’s Seahawks team.

Luke Joeckel’s signing with the Seahawks for $8 million this offseason was interesting but not shocking. It is only a one year deal currently. The Seahawks took a chance that Joeckel will be good but probably do not expect to re-sign him for anywhere near that amount of money after 2017.

Justin Britt will not be with the Seahawks after 2017. Seattle could have tried to sign him to an extension at $8 million a year this offseason, but never seemed to make an offer and now that time has passed. Britt last year graded out as Pro Football Focus’s 12th best center. One might expect Britt to be even better in 2017 as he will be in his second year at the position and will be more comfortable.

Center pay goes up

The 12th highest paid center in 2017 is J.C Tretter of the Cleveland Browns. He will make $3.6 million.  Britt could easily move into the top eight centers this year. The eighth highest paid center in 2018 is currently Jason Kelce of the Philadelphia Eagles at $7.2 million. (Tretter in 2018 will make $6.25 million.)

The Seahawks will not pay Britt $7 million a season unless the philosophy of the team changes. Seattle puts much more emphasis on skill positions and the defensive line. Plus, Ethan Pocic was a very good center in college at LSU and the Seahawks may have taken him thinking he will be Britt’s replacement.

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Seattle also will not franchise tag Britt because offensive linemen are grouped together when the rate is set. The franchise pay for an offensive lineman in 2018 will be north of $12 million.

12s need Britt to be very good for the Seahawks to make a deep playoff run in 2017. No matter what happens to the team, though, this season will be Britt’s last in Seattle.