In what were basically procedural moves, the Seahawks on Thursday terminated the contracts of their biggest-name veterans who were set to become free agents in two weeks — tight end Greg Olsen and receiver Josh Gordon.
Olsen has already announced his retirement and plans to sign a one-day contract with the Carolina Panthers on March 11. Being released allows him to officially do that.
As for Gordon, he has signed with the Fan Controlled Football league and being released allows him to play immediately.
Gordon, in fact, took to Twitter late Thursday afternoon to state that he requested his release with an eye toward playing immediately in the FCF.
“I personally asked Seahawks for release,” Gordon wrote in one tweet. “The contract was expired but still legally binding.”
He elaborated in a followup tweet: “Sooo instead of sitting at home all year. Why not keep doing what I’m great at.. Not that I have to explain anything, but…”
Without their contracts being terminated both Gordon and Olsen would simply have become unrestricted free agents on March 17.
Gordon also remains suspended by the NFL after having what was reported to be “a setback’’ in his recovery from substance abuse issues in December, and it’s unclear if he will ever play in the NFL again (the NFL’s official notice of Gordon’s termination Thursday noted he was released “from Reserve/Suspended by Commissioner-At Least One Year” list).
Playing in the Fan Controlled Football league, a seven-on-seven league in which all games are played in Duluth, Georgia, will at least allow Gordon to show where he is from a football standpoint should his suspension be lifted. Gordon did not play in any games for Seattle in 2020 but played in five in 2019 after being claimed off waivers from the Patriots.
Gordon’s signing with FCF was reported over the weekend and became official Tuesday. His team, the Zappers, also includes former Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel. The Zappers are scheduled to play again on Saturday.
Olsen, who had 24 receptions for 239 yards and one touchdown in his one season with the Seahawks, is set to go into broadcasting with FOX Sports.
Teams can potentially receive compensation in the form of draft picks for a net loss of unrestricted free agents, one reason teams don’t typically release pending free agents even if the player is not in their plans.
The terminations of the Olsen and Gordon means the Seahawks now have 22 players who are set to become UFAs when the new league year begins at 1 p.m. Seattle time on March 17.
Here is the list:
RB Chris Carson
LB K.J. Wright
CB Shaquill Griffin
LB Bruce Irvin
CB Quinton Dunbar
TE Jacob Hollister
DE Benson Mayowa
RB Carlos Hyde
OL Mike Iupati
OL Cedric Ogbuehi
CB Neiko Thorpe
QB Geno Smith
OL Ethan Pocic
FB Nick Bellore
TE Luke Willson
DE Branden Jackson
WR Phillip Dorsett
DB Damarious Randall
DE Jonathan Bullard
DE Damontre Moore
WR David Moore
DB Lano Hill
Iupati has also already announced his retirement, but for now officially remains on Seattle’s roster and set to become a free agent.
Nine other players who are either restricted free agents or exclusive rights free agents can also become UFAs on March 17 if they are not given tenders by Seattle by then.
Among those is restricted free agent DL Poona Ford and LB Shaquem Griffin.
Ford is expected to be given a tender and not to become a free agent, likely at the second-round level, which would mean he would due a one-year contract with Seattle at an estimated $3.3 million for the 2021 season. However, he could continue to receive offers from other teams. But because Ford would be tendered Seattle could either match an offer for Ford or be awarded a second-round pick if he signed elsewhere.