Seahawks coach Pete Carroll fired up about George Fant, but will he be back?
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll joined 710 ESPN Seattle’s John Clayton live from the NFL combine Thursday and was asked about a name we haven’t heard much this offseason: Seahawks tackle and tight end George Fant.
“I’m glad you brought him up,” Carroll said. “Georgie had a fantastic year for us, you know. He played well at tackle when he backed up, but the work that he did for us at tight end made us a dynamic blocking front. He added to that front five, he made it a front six that was legit. When (rookie tight end Will) Dissly was playing too, Will had done a good job, but there was a distinct improvement with George’s play as the season wore on. We come in now knowing what we’ve got. Really excited about him and we know that we can hammer the football and own that line of scrimmage.”
Veteran guards J.R. Sweezy and D.J. Fluker get a lot of the credit for the Seahawks’ turnaround from the 23rd-ranked rushing attack in 2017 to leading the league in 2018, but Fant was a big contributor as well. Fant started the season as a reserve tackle but ended up an important component of the Seahawks’ impressive run game as a sixth offensive linemen who periodically appeared as a block-first tight end (and made a memorable first career catch).
The “distinct improvement” Carroll said the Seahawks noticed in Fant’s play as the season went on led to a steady increase in playing time. Fant only saw 26 snaps total through Week 6 but played 20 snaps or more in all but one of the final 10 regular season games. In games where Fant was on the field for 20 or more snaps, the Seahawks averaged 161 rushing yards per game. And when he returned to right tackle for the final two games of the season filling in for an injured Germain Ifedi, the Seahawks racked up 392 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns combined against the Chiefs and Cardinals.
Will we see more of George Fant and the Seahawks’ ‘front six’ this season? It sounds like Carroll would like to see that, but Fant is currently a restricted free agent, meaning the Seahawks will have to tender him a qualifying offer to keep him.
According to Over the Cap, the 2019 tender numbers are $4.429 million for a first-round designation, $3.11 million for second round and $2.035 million for original round. The Seahawks will have the chance to match any offers, but if Fant should take a higher offer, the Seahawks would receive the compensation of a draft pick based on the tender they have designated him. If he receives no offers from other teams, the Seahawks would sign him for the tender amount they assigned him for one year.
To hear the full interview with Carroll, listen in the embedded player in this post or download a podcast at this link.