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May 2, 2014 at 4:14 PM

Seahawks decline fifth-year contract option on James Carpenter

The Seahawks have just announced that they have declined to pick up a contract option for the 2015 season for guard James Carpenter.

That means he will play the 2014 season and then can become a free agent, though the team and Carpenter could still agree on a new deal at any time.

The team’s first round  pick in 2011 out of Alabama, No. 25 overall, he is due to make $1.417 million in 2014.

As part of the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement, teams were given the right to exercise an option for a fifth year.

The option for Carpenter would have cost the Seahawks $7.438 million and would be guaranteed only in the event of injury.

Seattle, though, apparently felt that was too much of a risk for a player who has started 26 regular season game.s and also started the Super Bowl win over Denver, but has yet to really become an elite player. It also fits with Seattle’s strategy of frugality this off-season as they prepare their salary cap for some other big moves, such as the signing earlier this week of safety Earl Thomas.

Here’s a good explainer of the fifth-year contract.

NFL.com, meanwhile, has this tracker of fifth-year options.

Today was the deadline for teams to make their decisions. Among a handful of others whose options were not picked up was Tennessee QB Jake Locker, who played at Washington.

This obviously puts some pressure on Carpenter in 2014 to play at the level the team expected when it made him a first round pick. At the moment, he is penciled in as the starter at left guard with the team having not re-signed free agent Paul McQuistan. But Seattle is also high on the talents of young players Michael Bowie, Alvin Bailey and Caylin Hauptmann, who could all factor in at that spot, as well (though Hauptmann is listed as a tackle, and Bowie and Bailey also are likely to start out this year competing for the right tackle spot now open when the team didn’t re-sign Breno Giacomini.)

Seattle also signed former Bellevue High star Stephen Schilling in free agency and has signed former Green Bay guard Greg Van Roten, each of whom likely will get a shot at that spot.

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