Did Seahawks T George Fant Drop Subtle Hint About NFL Future?
Though continuity remains a top priority along the offensive line, the Seahawks have three key linemen set to test the free agent market this offseason.
Headlining the group, starting right tackle Germain Ifedi will be an unrestricted free agent after Seattle chose to decline his fifth-year option back in May. Left guard Mike Iupati will also be a free agent after signing a one-year deal last March.
With all signs pointing to the 25-year old Ifedi bolting for a lucrative deal, George Fant could be the Seahawks fallback option at right tackle. But would he actually be willing to play there if offered a contract to stay in the Pacific Northwest?
Like Ifedi, Fant will be an unrestricted free agent in March and will have the opportunity to speak with other teams. Though he has only started in 24 games since entering the NFL as an undrafted free agent in 2015, he did start four games at left tackle in place of Duane Brown last year and feels he represented his talents well for a full-time gig at the position.
"I got to show my confidence at left tackle this year," Fant told reporters during Seattle's locker room cleanup day last month. "I got to show I'm a left tackle in this league. I feel like I'm a starter in this league. I got to showcase that in a couple games."
Based on those comments, it's obvious Fant prefers playing on the left side, and he may have added fuel to the speculation fire on Tuesday morning via Twitter.
Dealing with a similar situation, Saints quarterback Taysom Hill has been a subject of much discussion in recent days. Despite playing minimal snaps at quarterback behind Drew Brees, he believes he is a franchise quarterback and said, "I want to play quarterback in this league, and if New Orleans don't view me that way, well then I have to leave."
Understanding Hill's predicament after spending the past few years in a reserve swing tackle role behind Brown and Ifedi, Fant simply quote tweeted, "I feel it."
Speaking on the Bob, Dave, and Moore Show on ESPN 710, Hall of Fame tackle Walter Jones believes the 27-year old Fant put enough quality play on film that he will draw plenty of attention on the open market from other teams, which could complicate trying to re-sign him.
“I’m fearful for him because I know once he goes out there and tests the market he’s got enough tape on film, they had him playing [as] an extra blocking tight end and then there was a couple of games where Duane missed and he got an opportunity to go out there and get stuff on film in tough situations.”
With Brown entrenched as the starter on the left side, the Seahawks won't be able to offer Fant the starting role he covets, at least for now. That creates a disadvantage for the team compared to other suitors who may have vacancies at left tackle and are willing to open up to the checkbook.
"I don't know," Fant said about a potential future in Seattle. "We'll see. Things change. The ball is in everybody else's court. I've done what I can do so that's about it."
Ultimately, Fant's fate will come down to what he prioritizes most. If he's simply looking for a starting job, Seattle has an opening at right tackle if he wants it. If playing on the left side takes precedence over everything else or chasing money becomes the primary factor, there's a good chance he's gone.