One NFL pundit thinks this Seattle Seahawks fan favorite is unlikely to return

Seattle has several tough roster decisions to make this offseason.
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The Seattle Seahawks have already made a number of massive changes this offseason. Pete Carroll and all but one of his coaching staff are gone from 2023. Mike Macdonald is the new head coach. General manager John Schneider is now fully in charge of roster decisions.

But this does not mean Schneider is only concerned about which players to take in the 224 NFL draft or which free agents to try to re-sign. This also means Schneider must decide on which players currently under contract to release to create needed cap room. Per Over the Cap, Seattle is $-5,230,353 and $-10,303,500 in effective cap space. That's bad.

There are several ways of making the situation better. Seattle could trade an expensive player, but DK Metcalf is probably the only player under contract in 2024 that would bring much back in draft capital. Plus, trading Metcalf does not help with cap space this offseason. The team could trade Geno Smith as well, but then where does that leave the quarterback position?

Seattle Seahawks might be forced to release Tyler Lockett to create cap room

According to The Score's Caio Miari, there should be a good chance that receiver and fan favorite Tyler Lockett will not be back next year, especially not on his current deal. Lockett is due to have a cap hit of $26.9 million. His dead money is $19.8 million. This means the Seahawks would save $7.1 million by releasing Lockett with a pre-June 1 designation. If the team makes Lockett a post-June 1 cut, the team would save $17 million.

The team could not spend any of the $17 million until after June 1, however, and by then most of the high-quality free agents would have been signed elsewhere. Seattle needs to make cap room now so saving $7 million would certainly help. Of course, that means losing Lockett who has been a very good receiver and a better human being since being drafted by Seattle in 2015.

Oddly, Lockett has made only one Pro Bowl when he was not an alternate. That was in his rookie season when he was First-Team All-Pro and a Pro Bowler not as a receiver but as a kick and punt returner. Lockett does not have those duties now as he is too important of a receiver.

He is going to turn 32 years old early in the 2024 season which is getting a bit long in the proverbial tooth for a smaller receiver who relies on quickness to get open. Seattle also has DK Metcalf and Jaxon Smith-Njigba so receiver is a position group where the Seahawks could shave some cap room and still have quality remaining. Seattle could also re-work Lockett's deal and roll some of his money into a signing bonus but that only pushes the problem in future years and Lockett would not be getting younger.

I do not want Lockett to go, but a team cannot hold on to players whose release could create needed cap room simply because of the fan base's affinity for the player. Releasing Tyler Lockett might not be a question. It might be a necessity.

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