Ask your human resources department if the 401k plan allows for lump sum contributions. From my experience, some do and some don’t. I believe it’s a plan specific issue and not a universal rule for all plans.
As you mentioned, you could get the same benefit from contributing to a Traditional IRA (assuming you qualify). Contribution limits are lower than 401k’s, of course, but it would be an option with the same tax effect for at least $5.5k (or $6.5k if you are 50+).
If you are not maxing out the 401k contributions every year, you could bank some of the extra income you’ll bring home in Year 1 (as you’re not contributing to the 401k), then in Year 2, contribute more the 401k plan normal and use the Year 1 banked money to supplement your Year 2 paychecks (which would be lower than normal due to the unusually high 401k contributions that year). In Year 3, lower the 401k contributions to your normal rate of contribution. Just a thought…