On Wednesday Field Gulls own Alistair Corp took us through a discussion of whether Green Bay Packers right tackle Bryan Bulaga could be an option for the Seattle Seahawks in free agency. Some fans loved the idea, while others hated it, and of course, the discussion turned to the Hawks own free agent offensive linemen in George Fant and Germain Ifedi.
During the discussion the question was asked whether or not any team will be willing to give Fant an opportunity to start at left tackle in 2020, given that he hadn’t cracked the starting lineup in Seattle. Just as was the case with Chris Hubbard during the 2018 offseason, some general manager will likely be willing to give Fant a contract to be a starter level contract based on their respective metrics at the time of hitting free agency.
George Fant versus Chris Hubbard free agency comps
|Age in first year of contract
|PFF Grade in Season prior to free agency
And, if the numbers are enough for fans, here are some highlights for Fant that are of the type his agent might use to sell his upside and potential to general managers across the league. Jumping right into it, here are some clips of what Fant has done, on the field, against NFL players.
"Is there any reason to believe an NFL team would sign him to start at left tackle?" somebody actually asked pic.twitter.com/T0KHmtAJdn— John P. Gilbert (@JohnPGilbertNFL) February 13, 2020
Obviously, at over 320 pounds, he’s much heavier than a linebacker, so I’ll focus on what he can do against defensive linemen from here on out.
"Oh, but that was a linebacker."— John P. Gilbert (@JohnPGilbertNFL) February 13, 2020
Okay, here's 2017 first round pick Derek Barnett getting Fantcaked.https://t.co/XOUWQ7zkbQ
That’s Fant embarrassing a first round pick, and here he is putting another first round pick, Nick Bosa, on the ground.
You want more?!?!? You think a single highlight against a first round pick won't be enough to sell a GM?— John P. Gilbert (@JohnPGilbertNFL) February 13, 2020
Here's defensive rookie of the year and Pro Bowler Nick Bosa getting put to the ground. pic.twitter.com/Dcr4RRSNIl
Not convinced? Okay.
Here he is absorbing a Bosa bull rush while maintaining engagement. pic.twitter.com/AiUBfRiVgs— John P. Gilbert (@JohnPGilbertNFL) February 13, 2020
How about looking at yet another former first round pick, Marcus Davenport.
But let's look at him against others. Here he is against former first round pick Marcus Davenport (6 sacks in 2019) holding his own. pic.twitter.com/k8iqC96Gla— John P. Gilbert (@JohnPGilbertNFL) February 13, 2020
And another win for Fant against Davenport.
And yet another against Davenport pic.twitter.com/LuxpfuPBcF— John P. Gilbert (@JohnPGilbertNFL) February 13, 2020
Continuing on, we can find highlights of him recognizing the stunt.
And he's got the quickness and recognition to handle the stunt.— John P. Gilbert (@JohnPGilbertNFL) February 13, 2020
On this one the defender slips and the quickness with which Fant pounces on him is impressive (Fant routinely picked up stunts without trouble, I'm just too lazy to grab more clips and I love this one). pic.twitter.com/RuPNMa32ry
And we can keep grinding film to find clips of him winning against the likes of Myles Garrett and Olivier Vernon.
And while Olivier Vernon's best days as a pass rusher were with the Dolphins, Fant holds him at bay for just under five seconds on this play (snap to throw times at about 4.95 seconds). pic.twitter.com/qferjLnXUJ— John P. Gilbert (@JohnPGilbertNFL) February 13, 2020
To make a long story short, Fant has the physical and athletic profiles that scouts look for from upper echelon tackles, and over the past four years he’s gone from a completely raw lineman with just a single season of playing tight end in college under his belt to a starter at left tackle in the NFL Playoffs. While he logged just four starts on the offensive line in 2019, those four starts came against the following teams:
All four of those teams finished in the top half of the NFL in generating pressure in 2019. The players he faced off in those starts include the likes of Matthew Judon, Myles Garrett, Olivier Vernon, Nick Bosa, Derek Barnett and a host of other pass rushers who general managers will be able to watch Fant face off against on film. They certainly won’t see him win every rep against every defender, but at least a handful of GMs will see enough wins and enough potential in the tape that will be given a contract to start at left tackle next season.
There are likely to be a half dozen teams looking for a new starting left tackle this offseason, including the Arizona Cardinals, New York Jets and Cleveland Browns, just to name a few. All it takes is one GM seeing Fant as a starting left tackle, and with the lack of quality starting left tackles under 30 years of age that are set to be free agents in March, some GM will pay Fant based on his potential.
Also, while I’m on the subject, Fant has specifically stated that he is looking to start at left tackle.
This isn’t about playing quarterback (I don’t think) but George has made it clear he wants to start at LT in 2020. That likely won’t happen in Seattle https://t.co/Ok5276NCti— Andy Patton (@andypattonSEA) February 11, 2020
“I got to show my confidence at left tackle this year,” Fant said. “I got to show I’m a left tackle in this league. I feel like I’m a starting in this league. I got to showcase that in a couple games.”
I keep seeing the idea that the team can bring Fant back as the right tackle for 2020 and then move him to 2021, but from Fant’s perspective there’s no guarantee the left tackle spot is open for the Seahawks in 2021. Duane Brown is under contract through 2021, so barring an announcement that 2020 is Brown’s last season, Fant would be coming back with no guarantee of the role he is expressly stating he wants. What it all boils down to is that Fant has likely played his final game in a Seahawks uniform because the position he wants to play is filled for the foreseeable future.