Justin Britt is certifiably part of the Seahawks’ long(er)-term plans on their offensive line.
Continuity there is a prime reason Seattle on Monday exercised a $5 million option on Britt’s contract, to keep the center and the line’s one sure thing tied to the team through 2020.
ESPN.com’s Brady Henderson was the first to report the Seahawks’ decision on Britt.
The option was due on the fifth day of the 2018 league year, which was Monday. It ensures the final season on Britt’s three-year contract extension for $27 million he signed last summer.
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Had the Seahawks declined to pick up the option, they would have voided the final year of Britt’s extension. That would have made him a free agent following the 2019 season, and it would have changed his salary for this year from $2.75 million to $7.75 million.
Picking up the option gives Britt that $5 million difference in the form of a bonus this year, instead. His salary-cap charge for 2018 stays at $6,167,000.
This year will be the third consecutive one with Britt as the starting center, and fifth straight year Britt has started for the Seahawks since they drafted him in the second round in 2014 out of Missouri.
In Seattle, that’s a relative eternity for starting on the in-flux O-line. Germain Ifedi is next in starting seniority there, at two straight seasons. He’s been at two different positions already: right guard as a rookie first-round pick in 2016, then right tackle last season.
Britt was the starting right tackle as a rookie in 2014; he started Super Bowl 49 there. In 2015 he moved to left guard. It didn’t work out well for him there, either, so then-line coach Tom Cable moved Britt to center before the 2016 season. That was after Cable tried and failed to use Drew Nowak and Patrick Lewis as his starting center in 2015.
Britt was a revelation at center in 2016, playing well enough to be a Pro Bowl alternate. He’s been there since.
And now he’s under contract to be there through 2020.