Brock: Why re-signing Noah Fant was priority for Seahawks

Jun 25, 2024, 7:18 PM

Seattle Seahawks TE Noah Fant...

Noah Fant of the Seattle Seahawks during a 2023 game. (Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images)

(Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images)

From the coaching staff to the players, there’s been plenty of change for the Seattle Seahawks this offseason.

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That change included a number of recognizable names – Bobby Wager, Jordyn Brooks and Will Dissly, to name a few – leaving for other suitors in free agency, as the Seahawks restructured their roster to fit the vision of general manager John Schneider and new head coach Mike Macdonald and his staff.

While there were a number of players Seattle let walk, there were also a couple notable re-signings of key pieces from the 2023 season. One of the players the Seahawks invested in this offseason was tight end Noah Fant, who signed a two-year, $21 million deal with franchise.

Co-host Mike Salk asked former Seahawks quarterback Brock Huard why Fant was one of the players the 0rganization prioritized bringing back Tuesday during Blue 88 on Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk.

“It was Leonard Williams and Noah Fant that were (re-signed) right out the gate with the new league year beginning,” Huard said. “And I think this staff on both sides of the ball, the defensive staff, they studied this roster. Part of the reason that John and those guys went to the (draft) combine and left the coaches behind was, ‘Hey, man, you’ve gotta really dig in. I want you to watch every one of the details, every one of these plays, every one of these games so we know and you know our roster and who you want to be a part of it.'”

Stretching the field

Fant’s been a solid contributor for the Seahawks since coming over in the Russell Wilson trade with the Denver Broncos, but he hasn’t been featured heavily in the offense with the team running out a trio of capable tight ends in each of his first two seasons in Seattle.

The Iowa product played 60% of the team’s offensive snaps in 2022 and 55% in 2023, per Pro Football Reference. In that somewhat limited action, he produced 82 receptions for 900 yards and four touchdowns while appearing in all 34 games since the trade.

Despite not having gaudy receiving totals as a Seahawk, Fant has still shown part of the pass-catching skill set that made him the No. 20 overall pick in the 2019 draft.

“There were just some numbers out this week talking about his yards per attempt, yards per reception,” Huard. “He’s one of the top five (tight ends) in the NFL with the ability to truly stretch the field.”

The 26-year-old Fant posted 12.9 yards per reception – the second-highest mark of his five-year career – on 32 catches last season. That ranked third among NFL tight ends, trailing only San Francisco’s George Kittle and Baltimore’s Isaiah Likely.

“I can see why (new offensive coordinator) Ryan Grubb was like, ‘Yep, I want that matchup guy. Just give me unique, different skill sets that I can move all over this chess board and create different matchups,'” Huard said.

Playing to his strengths

Fant heads a new-look tight end room in 2024 with Dissly and Colby Parkinson departing in free agency. In response, Seattle inked veteran Pharaoh Brown, a tight end best known of his blocking, to a one-year deal and used a fourth-round pick on Michigan’s AJ Barner, also viewed as more of a blocking tight end.

As a result, Fant appears primed to be in line for a bigger share of the pass-catching role at the position, but Huard believes Grubb will be strategic on the snaps Fant is playing.

“I’m not gonna put him in as many situations where he’s gotta block,” Huard said. “I’m gonna use that other guy, Pharaoh (Brown), that guy can block, and we believe he’s one of the best run-blocking tight ends, so we’re gonna put that guy in many of those burden situations in the run game, and we’re gonna let (Fant), who can really run and stretch the field and the numbers tell us so and our eyes tell us so, we’re gonna use his strengths to really push the ball down the field and maximize in that position.”

Listen to the full conversation at this link or in the audio player near the top of this story. Tune in to Brock and Salk weekdays from 6-10 a.m. or find the podcast on the Seattle Sports app.

More on the Seattle Seahawks

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• Insider: Why Seahawks could be in on Dak Prescott next offseason
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