Tyler Lockett might not be back next year
Seattle has to make some tough cap decisions and there is no debate about that. The team currently has zero cap room. The only way of creating cap space is to trade players, re-work contracts and convert base salary to bonuses, or release players. If the Seahawks were to release safeties Quandre Diggs, Jamal Adams, and tight end Will Dissly, the team would save about $24 million. That still is not enough, however.
Lockett would be difficult to part with. He is arguably the second-best receiver in Seahawks history - statistically, he definitely is - and he is a great veteran presence in the locker room on an otherwise fairly young roster. He is as good of a person as he is a football player. There is every chance that Lockett could simply retire and devote more of his time to running his foundation instead of collecting more money playing football.
But the harsh reality is that Lockett is getting old for a receiver that relies on quickness instead of physicality to get open. Lockett will turn 32 years old early in the 2024 season. 2023 was his worst season since 2017 as he had the least amount of receiving yards, touchdown receptions, and yards per catch since that season. This even though he had the second-most targets of his career this season.
Seattle would save $7,105,000 by releasing Lockett prior to June 1. If they let him go with a post-June 1 designation, the team would save $17 million, though Seattle could not use that savings until after June 1 and most high-quality free agents would probably have signed elsewhere. The other option is to sign Lockett to an extension but the added years would be when Lockett was even older and likely less productive.