The Seattle Seahawks saved a little less than $600,000 of cap room by making Pro Bowl left guard Steve Hutchinson a transition player instead of a franchise player, but they may have an extra month or so of uncertainty.
In a little bit of a surprise, the Seahawks didn't franchise Hutchinson. Part of the reason was the three holdouts they endured with Pro Bowl left tackle Walter Jones. The Seahawks franchised him three times but he held out until the start of the regular season.
Franchise players have guaranteed contracts but there are normally limited negotiations. Teams have until March 17 to get a long-term deal without the team losing the franchise tag, but normally, few deals get done. By transitioning him, he's allowed to negotiate with any other team; the Seahawks have the right to match any offer; and the one-year tender isn't guaranteed.
The transition tender is $6.391 million as opposed to the franchise number of $6.983 million.
Hutchinson's agent, Tom Condon, can try to come back with an offer that might be hard for the Seahawks to match. Hutchinson was thought to be one of the best free agents hitting the market.
The Seahawks will continue negotiating with him, but Hutchinson expects to make more than $6 million a year. The only guard to have earned such a lucrative pact was Dallas' Larry Allen.