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Free Agency Predictions: Seahawks to let George Fant and Germain Ifedi to depart

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Los Angeles Rams v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images

Monday marks the final countdown to the start of free agency for the NFL this offseason, with the legal tampering period set to begin next Monday. Once that begins, reports will start to filter out through sports media and players comments on social media about where players are set to play next season. With that in mind, this week I’ll be going through my predictions for what the Seattle Seahawks will do in free agency, one position group at a time.

The first issue fans want to hear about is what the team will do with its own free agents, so addressing George Fant, Germain Ifedi and Mike Iupati seems a good place to start. Of these three, Iupati likely has the highest likelihood of being a member of the Seahawks in 2020, while Fant and Ifedi are probably off to greener pastures elsewhere.

To start with, Iupati is basically exactly what offensive line coach Mike Solari looks for in his interior offensive linemen. He’s a big, physical mauler with the size to be a people mover, the arm length to use the technique the Hawks employ, the mobility to play within Solari’s system and six years of experience playing under Solari. With that said, Iupati will also be the least expensive of the Seahawks free agent offensive linemen because of his age and injury history.

Thus, it seems likely that Iupati is brought back on another one year deal that puts him in competition with the other youngsters the team appears to really like at guard, including Demetrius Knox, Phil Haynes and Jordan Simmons. Those four will be thrown into the competition with right guard D.J. Fluker for the two guard spots, along with whoever else the team adds to the mix during the offseason.

With the guard spots largely taken care of, the team can then move to center. Justin Britt is expected back from his torn ACL in time for the start of the season, so while many fans expect Britt to be a cap casualty, that may be unlikely, at least early in the offseason. The biggest leverage in forcing a renegotiation with Britt would be waiting to release him until the eve of the season when he wouldn’t have time to learn a new system and teams will have less cap space available. So, while many expect Britt to feel the cap casualty wrath, I’ll put my money on him sticking around around through the offseason.

That brings things to the backup spot, where Joey Hunt struggled in his first extended playing time at center. The team might therefore feel the price tag of an original round tender or a second round tender is more than Hunt warrants. Down the stretch in 2018 Seattle used Jordan Roos, an undersized, but technically sound player as the backup center. While Roos lacks the experience at center Hunt possesses, he’ll cost league minimum in 2020. Thus, if the team was content to roll with Roos as the backup center through the latter stages of the season and playoffs, would it truly be surprising if they are willing to use with him as the backup center in 2020? Add in that the team also had Phil Haynes work as the backup center in practice in 2019, the situation has so many moving parts that it’s anyone’s guess on what happens at center. That said, there is no shortage of options.

And that brings things to tackle, where Duane Brown is under contract and penned in as the starter at left tackle. Over the past three seasons, all but one snap at right tackle have been taken by either Fant or Ifedi, with only Elijah Nkansah playing one snap in the Week 16 win over the Kansas City Chiefs in 2018. Jamarco Jones is will be in his third season, but was overmatched against Chandler Jones in Week 16 against the Arizona Cardinals in his only regular season action at tackle. That came after he was overmatched at tackle against Barkevious Mingo in the team’s preseason scrimmage last August.

So, while Jones is under contract, it remains to be seen how good he might be at tackle. The team also quietly added Chad Wheeler to the active roster late in 2019, and Wheeler started a handful of games for Solari in New York in 2017. In addition, he started at right tackle in 2018 for the New York Giants, before failing to make their roster in 2019. That’s Jones and Wheeler in the competition at right tackle, both of whom filled depth roles at tackle in 2019.

In contrast, Fant and Ifedi are set to be among two of the most heavily pursued free agent offensive linemen next week. According to Brady Henderson of ESPN, there are some who think Fant could make more in free agency than Ifedi, and Ifedi’s market as one of the high paid tackles has been debated ad nauseum.

Putting all that together, the Hawks probably let Fant and Ifedi depart in free agency, looking to replace them with either a draft pick or a free agent who is more cap friendly. Fant and Ifedi could realistically wind up as two of the top ten best paid offensive free agents, and that’s a place the Hawks front office simply hasn’t gone under the current regime.

Poll

How much should the Seahawks bid to keep Germain Ifedi?

This poll is closed

  • 40%
    No amount, let him sign elsewhere even if it’s league minimum.
    (1158 votes)
  • 38%
    No more than $8M
    (1115 votes)
  • 18%
    $8M to $11M
    (532 votes)
  • 1%
    $11M to $14M
    (47 votes)
  • 0%
    $14M or more
    (9 votes)
2861 votes total Vote Now

Poll

How much should the Seahawks big to retain George Fant?

This poll is closed

  • 65%
    Up to $8M
    (1664 votes)
  • 28%
    $8M to $11M
    (727 votes)
  • 4%
    $11M to $14M
    (122 votes)
  • 0%
    $14M or more
    (12 votes)
2525 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Should the Seahawks release Justin Britt to free up cap space?

This poll is closed

  • 21%
    Yes, immediately.
    (562 votes)
  • 19%
    Absolutely not.
    (503 votes)
  • 58%
    Wait until August and decide then.
    (1513 votes)
2578 votes total Vote Now