Seahawks Veteran in Danger of Being Let Go Due to ‘Cap Crunch’: Analyst

Pete Carroll

Getty The Seahawks could move on from WR Tyler Lockett after the season, suggests one analyst.

The Seattle Seahawks may be forced to make a tough decision in the offseason.

As mentioned by ESPN’s Dan Graziano, one of his potential “surprise” cut/trade candidates is none other than Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett. The 31-year-old wide receiver is owed nearly $17 million in non-guaranteed salary in each of the next two years.

Graziano argues two reasons for why the Seahawks may move on from Lockett after this season — a potential contract extension for quarterback Geno Smith and the emergence of younger and cheaper wideouts such as rookies Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Jake Bobo.

Another concern is the fact that Seattle owes No. 1 wideout D.K. Metcalf $31 million — $13 million in base salary in 2024 and $17 million in base salary in 2025 — over the next two seasons.

“Seattle did use a first-round pick this year on Jaxon Smith-Njigba, who has been getting more and more playing time,” writes Graziano. “And the Seahawks owe DK Metcalf $31 million over the next two seasons. Lockett has been one of the most reliable and underrated performers in the NFL at his position and a vital asset to Russell Wilson and now Smith for years. But it’s possible he could get caught in a cap crunch if the Seahawks’ rookie receivers (Smith-Njigba and the surprising Jake Bobo) continue to show they can play.”

Tyler Lockett Actually Ranks as Seahawks’ Leading Receiver

Despite being in the midst of his ninth season, the former Pro Bowler remains as productive as ever. Although Metcalf is seen as Seattle’s No. 1 receiver, it’s Lockett who actually leads the team with 35 receptions on 49 targets with three receiving touchdowns this season. Furthermore, his catch percentage of 71.4% and success rate of 67.3% is far better than Metcalf’s 58.7% catch rate and 56.5% success rate.

While Lockett remains a consistent target of Smith, it is worth noting that he has seen a slight dip in his numbers. The 31-year-old is averaging 52.9 receiving yards per game, a decline from the 64.6 receiving yards per game he posted last season and the 73.4 receiving yards per game he averaged during the 2021 season.

With that being said, Lockett still ranks as one of the better wide receivers in the NFL. According to Pro Football Focus, Lockett has posted a 78.4 offensive grade and 78.0 receiving grade this season. The offensive grade ranks 23rd and his receiving grade is 27th among all wide receivers.

Why Seahawks Could Trade or Cut Tyler Lockett After Season

With that being said, the Seahawks could move on from Lockett during the offseason considering they used a first-round pick on Smith-Njigba in the 2023 NFL Draft. Smith-Njigba hasn’t been overly impressive, but he has been a consistent option in the passing attack, posting 23 receptions on 36 targets for 209 receiving yards and one touchdown.

Meanwhile, Bobo has posted 10 receptions for 135 receiving yards and two touchdowns after surprisingly making the team as an undrafted free agent. He also gives the Seahawks a red zone weapon due to his size at 6-foot-4 and 207 pounds.

The Seahawks could move on from Lockett after this season, but it would still cost them nearly $20 million in a dead cap hit over the next two seasons. However, it would also save them over $7 million for the 2024 season and $17 million for the 2025 season.

If Seattle really wants to use the money on other positions, it wouldn’t be a surprise at all to see them move on from Lockett, especially when considering Smith-Njigba and Bobo are waiting in the wings.

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