George Fant is no longer eligible in Seattle.
Instead, the four-year Seahawks lineman is now taking his blocking and occasional pass-catching talents to Broadway, reaching agreement on a three-year deal with the New York Jets on Monday night, according to ESPN.com.
The deal is worth a reported $30 million with $13.7 million guaranteed and marks a huge raise for a player who last year made $3.095 million as a tendered restricted free agent.
Fant becomes the first of the 18 Seahawks who can officially become unrestricted free agents Wednesday to agree to a deal with another team (or with any team, for that matter). Players were allowed to begin negotiating Monday and can sign Wednesday at 1 p.m. PDT.
Fant made the Seahawks in 2016 as an undrafted free agent out of Western Kentucky, where he played primarily basketball until switching to football late in his career.
A combination of injuries and ineffectiveness by other players meant Fant started 10 games at left tackle as a rookie in 2016.
Ticketed for a permanent starting role in 2017, he then suffered an ACL injury in the preseason that knocked him out for the year.
A trade for Duane Brown midway through the 2017 season then helped relegate Fant to a reserve and complementary role his final two seasons in Seattle. But he forged a significant place in the offense in 2018 when he was often used as a sixth offensive lineman/tight end.
The official’s announcement that “No. 74 is eligible” became a regular — and for many fans, much-anticipated — occurrence during games. Fant was rarely used as a receiver, catching just one pass — against Minnesota in 2018 for 9 yards — and targeted for one other in 2019. But it was fun all the same.
Fant also started three games at left tackle in place of Brown in 2019 during the regular season and another against the Eagles in the playoffs.
And Fant made clear after the season that he was hoping to get a chance to become a fulltime starter at left tackle in the NFL as he entered free agency.
“I got to show I’m a left tackle in this league,” Fant said in January. “I feel like I’m a starter in this league. I got to showcase that in a couple games.”
That wasn’t going to happen in Seattle as long as Brown is around. And a report out of New York on Monday night confirmed that the Jets plan to use Fant at left tackle.
But there had been a thought that the Seahawks might be able to sign Fant as a potential replacement at right tackle should Germain Ifedi depart in free agency. Ifedi also is an unrestricted free agent.
But that won’t happen now, with the question now becoming if Seattle also is going to lose Ifedi and what Seattle would then do to fill the right tackle spot.
One option is Jamarco Jones, a fifth-round choice out of Ohio State in 2018 who started three games at guard and tackle last year. Also on the roster is Chad Wheeler, who started 19 games at tackle for the Giants in 2017 and 2018 and was promoted to Seattle’s 53-man roster during the playoffs last season.