Just two days after using a third-round draft choice on LSU guard Damien Lewis, the Seahawks appear to have big plans for the rookie.
Less than 24 hours after coach Pete Carroll indicated Lewis would be competing for Seattle's starting right guard job, veteran D.J. Fluker announced in a graceful farewell message via Twitter that he has been released by the team.
Fluker initially signed with the Seahawks on a one-year deal prior to the 2018 season. The former first round pick out of Alabama started 10 regular season games, immediately making an impact as a powerful, nasty run blocker for the NFL's No. 1 rushing offense and becoming a locker room favorite for his intensity and passion.
Earning a new two-year contract in March 2018, Fluker started 14 games for Seattle last season, the most he had played in since 2016. Once again, he played a pivotal role in the team finishing in the top-five in rushing yards, though the group wasn't quite as productive as the year prior.
Entering the final year of his deal, Fluker carried a cap hit north of $4 million in 2020. By releasing him quickly after the draft, the Seahawks created $3.6 million in cap space and also respectfully provided the veteran with a good chance to latch on elsewhere.
The decision to jettison Fluker now opens the door for Lewis, who starred for LSU's national championship squad, to win the starting job as a rookie. He will have to earn the gig, of course, but should be the heavy favorite heading into a new season.
Moving on after two seasons in Seattle, Fluker should be considered one of the better free agent signings by general manager John Schneider in recent memory. He proved himself a productive starter, his attitude was contagious for entire offensive line, and his fun-loving personality off the field endeared him to fans and media members alike.
However, the writing has been on the wall for Fluker for quite some time, as the Seahawks added multiple guards in free agency and the decision to draft Lewis made his eventual departure look imminent. Only 29 years old, he shouldn't have a hard time finding another opportunity elsewhere.