Seahawks free agents: Could Seattle let Ifedi walk and make Fant right tackle?

Feb 21, 2020, 12:43 PM
Seahawks lineman George Fant...
George Fant has played a hybrid tackle/tight end role for the Seahawks in recent years. (AP)

How can the Seahawks get back to a Super Bowl in 2020?

Wyman: L.J. Collier could emerge as a No. 2 pass rusher for Seahawks

That’s the question Tom Wassell, Jake Heaps and I will be asking on 710 ESPN Seattle’s Tom, Jake and Stacy over the next few months as we go through our Seahawks “offseason project” series, which will be broken up into four phases. On Tuesday, we looked at receiver Josh Gordon and left guard Mike Iupati.

You can hear every new segment of this series at 2 p.m. every day on Tom, Jake and Stacy. Here’s a look at what you need to know about Gordon and Iupati and the chances of them returning to Seattle in 2020.

Seahawks free agents

George Fant

Fant originally signed with Seattle as an undrafted rookie free agent out of Western Kentucky in 2016. By May 2017, the Seahawks seemed set on Fant as their starting left tackle, but a catastrophic ACL injury in August cost Fant his season and ultimately his starting job. Months later, the Seahawks acquired Duane Brown in a trade with the Houston Texans, who quickly established himself as Seattle’s best lineman and remains under contract through 2021.

Seattle’s trade for Brown left Fant out of a left tackle role, but in two years he’s managed to carve out a new one as a tackle/tight end hybrid. In 2019, Fant appeared in 42% of all offensive snaps, including a couple starts in place of an injured Brown. Having an extra blocker has been a boon for Pete Carroll and Brian Schottenheimer’s run-first offense. Fant wouldn’t carry a big cap hit were he to re-sign with the Seahawks in 2020, but there’s a chance he could test the market for a more prominent – and lucrative – role as a starting left tackle with another team.

One option for Seattle? According to 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jake Heaps, the Seahawks could opt to bring Fant back as their right tackle and let the second free agent on this list, Germain Ifedi, walk in free agency. Fant doesn’t have much recent experience at right tackle – Ifedi was the only player outside of Russell Wilson to play every offensive snap for Seattle in 2019 – but could be a promising replacement for a team that hopes to retain as much of its own offensive line talent as possible.

Germain Ifedi

Being a first-round pick is an honor any player would want, but that distinction carries its share of downsides – chief among them are sky-high expectations.

The Seahawks selected Ifedi 31st overall in 2016 out of Texas A&M, and while he’s remained a durable player, he’s faced his shared of criticism. That criticism was loudest in 2017 when Ifedi led the team with 16 penalties, nine of which were pre-snap penalties. And while he hasn’t reached that high of a single-season total since then, he still led the team with 10 in 2018 and 13 in 2019.

The Seahawks declined Ifedi’s fifth-year option tied to his rookie contract in May, ensuring he would hit free agency barring an early extension.

Carroll saw improvement in Ifedi’s performance in both 2018 and 2019, though, calling last season “the best (Ifedi) has ever played.” Other teams may very well take note in what could quickly become a competitive – and pricey – free-agent market for offensive linemen. A possible sign of things to come grabbed headlines earlier this week when 26-year-old tackle D.J. Humphries, who signed a three-year, $45 million deal with the Arizona Cardinals.

Follow 710 ESPN Seattle’s Stacy Rost on Twitter.

Want more conversations like this? Subscribe to the Tom, Jake and Stacy podcast by clicking any of the links below:

• Apple Podcasts
• TuneIn
• Podbay
• Podbean
• Download the 710 ESPN Seattle app: Apple | Android

Previously in the series: WR, OG | TE, LB | RBs

Stacy Rost

Seahawks Geno Smith...
Stacy Rost

Rost: Seahawks’ struggles on D aren’t surprising, but offense masking that is

That the Seahawks' D has struggled isn’t news. That the offense has been good enough to distract everyone from that is a surprise, though.
1 day ago
Seahawks Tyler Lockett...
Stacy Rost

What to know about Seahawks and their Week 4 clash with Detroit

What should you know ahead of the Seahawks' matchup with Detroit? Stacy Rost breaks down what stood our from The Huddle this week.
4 days ago
Seahawks Falcons...
Stacy Rost

Rost: Pressure mounting for Seahawks’ defense to show improvement

The Seahawks made the strides they needed on offense, but if that improvement doesn’t stretch to the defense, there won’t be much winning.
8 days ago
Seahawks Rashaad Penny...
Stacy Rost

Rost: Seahawks haven’t been who they want to be, now have to get there

The Seahawks know the kind of team they want to be, but haven't shown it through two weeks. Stacy Rost breaks down what can change.
11 days ago
Seahawks 49ers Deebo Samuel...
Stacy Rost

Rost: Seahawks a far cry from what they want to be in Week 2 loss

The Seahawks surprised people in a good way in their Week 1 win over the Broncos. Their play was surprising in a much worse way in Sunday's loss to the 49ers.
15 days ago
Seahawks 49ers...
Stacy Rost

Rost: 3 things we learned ahead of Seahawks’ matchup with 49ers

This week's edition of The Huddle was full of key information regarding the Seahawks and 49ers ahead of their Week 2 clash in Santa Clara.
18 days ago
Seahawks free agents: Could Seattle let Ifedi walk and make Fant right tackle?