Noah Fant appreciates the commitment of the Seahawks and Drew Locke

Noah Fanta had a smile as wide as his shoulders.

And the NFL has no hard shoulders.

Fanta’s wide smile this week was due to the fact that he has the only luxury all the players of this low-income league want: contract security.

In April, Seahawks general manager John Schneider called Fanta to tell him that Seattle had decided to do so. choose the fifth year option on the contract of a novice 24-year-old tight end. That decision guarantees Fant $ 6.85 million for 2023 from the Seahawks, instead of the uncertainty of a free agency next spring. It also guarantees Fanta his $ 2.21 million salary this year, according to the league’s collective agreement.

“It’s cool,” Fant said on Thursday.

This cool:

Fant is the first player in the history of the Seahawks in which the team is eligible for the fifth year. The NFL’s employment agreement gives this team the right and choice in the first round that Fant was in Denver in 2019.

Seattle refused to choose the fifth year option in the spring of 2021 on the current Rashaad Penny. The team refused to give a choice for the fifth year of the preliminary selection in the first round before Penny, the offensive selection of Germain Ifedi – and each selection in the first round before.

The fact is that the Seahawks guaranteed Fanta $ 9.06 million for the next two seasons – about twice the $ 10.3 million he has earned so far in his NFL career – before they saw him even coached them once.

When Schneider called to tell him the good news, Fant was only once in Seattle and at the Seahawks headquarters in Renton. It was weeks earlier to complete the array trade defender of the Seahawks franchise Russell Wilson in the now former Denver Broncos Fanta.

“I was thrilled with it. Obviously this was a great testimony. It kind of showed their faith in me. You know, I didn’t even … the only time I saw them was when I came to (trade) physical education, “Fant said Thursday after his fifth training session in Seattle, the fifth of nine organized off-season Seahawks activities. ).

“But it was really cool to get involved in it, call Schneider and just talk about plans and stuff.

“It was really cool and I’ll appreciate it.”

Fant politely declined to go into details of what the Seahawks CEO said during the call, informing him that his new team had chosen the option for next year.

Seattle gave Fanta a house before he made his house.

“It was a good call, man,” Fant said. “He was just showing his faith in me, showing that they believe in me and they want me to be here. So it was definitely a very good feeling. ”

Junior (more productive?) Jimmy Graham

Guaranteed over $ 9 million before he donned the Seahawks helmet. That’s how much his new Fant team already likes.

What do you dislike?

His height is 6 feet 4,249 pounds. It has the size of a built-in tight end, but the speed and elusiveness of a smaller, outside wide receiver. Seahawks offensive coordinator Shane Waldron already uses Fant as both in off-season practices.

So far for the Seattle Fant, it seems as well junior Jimmy Grahamthe hard end All-Pro is more like the wide receiver the team traded on in 2015.

The Seahawks expect Fant to be more productive for them than Graham.

Fanta already likes how Waldron uses him, Will Disley, Colby Parkinson and Tyler Mabra in crime. Seahawks 2022 with Fant, Disley (re-signed for three years and $ 24 million this spring) and Parkinson’s 6-7 present a challenge to confrontation for defense.

“Honestly, I like it – now, it’s only a month later – but I like the way they use hard ends,” said Fant. “I like the way we convey concepts. The running game obviously will all be built from a running game that is a huge part of the game. Obviously, the gameplay will be huge.

“So it’s a very balanced crime that I like. And it’s very auspicious for the tight end. So it’s nice. “

Waldron was in the Reims system of Sean McVeigh as the passage coordinator in Los Angeles until Seahawks coach Pete Carroll hired him before last season. Waldron sees a reason why his system already seems Fanta-friendly.

“Noah makes him friendly,” Waldron said.

“Good time-ends make any crime end-friendly. So I think (it’s) just we have the ability, a group of guys who can do things little by little. So the harder the ends can be made, the better the chances we can move them – and not necessarily just line them up in a static built-in position and give them the ability to move and present different kinds of defenses. ”

The new tough Noah Fant, acquired as part of Russell Wilson’s Seattle exchange to Denver, organized a team event (OTA) at Renton on May 31, 2022, during off-season training at the Seahawks. Greg Bell / The News Tribune

Reunited with Drew Locke

After starring in Omaha South High School in Nebraska, Fant was a 19-catch landing at a sterling college career in Iowa. It was the highest number of points in Hawkeyes history in terms of tight end and third in terms of tight end in the history of the Big Ten conference. In 2017, in his sophomore year, Fant topped the nation among tight ends with 16.5 yards per catch and a record in Iowa with 11 touchdowns.

“Broncos” selected him under the overall 20th number in the 2019 NFL Draft. He had 40, 62 and 68 receptions with three, three and four touchdowns in each of the three seasons with Denver.

He also had two subsequent coordinators and six different starting defenders in three seasons in the Broncos. Denver for those three years had 19-30 with Fant and a carousel of players calling and passing.

He is now in Seattle – with one of those six starting defenders who threw in the Fant in Denver. Drew Locke scored 8-13, starting with Fanta’s three seasons with the Broncos.

Locke, who is also 24, is starting a competition with 31-year-old Gino Smith to replace Wilson in Seattle.

In off-season practices Smith has thrown more at Fant and since the start of the attack. This is because of his superiority over Locke in meeting Waldron’s attack and teammates on the Seahawks. Smith has been a backup for Wilson in Seattle the last three seasons Locke has been to Denver.

Locke knows more than any other Seahawk, a weapon that could become a Fant for Seattle.

“Explosive. No doubt explosive, ”Locke said. “If you get the ball in this guy’s hands, he’ll do something with it.

“Noah and I, last offseason this year, we spent a lot of time together. He actually stayed in Colorado all off season, and so did I. He decorated the cinema together, reviewed all its routes, discussed things. As he thought it might be otherwise. As he thought it could be better. And then we go out to a local field on Ranch Highlands, Colorado, and start rushing together.

“I know he is ready to do his job. He’s a talented, talented player, and this place should be very happy to have him. ”

Carol says the competition between Smith and Locke for a throw at Fanta is wide open.

Looks like it will stay that way good at training camp. Waldron said on Thursday he and Carol would evaluate how to split training between Smith and Locke during the preseason after the end of off-season training. They end on June 15. The training camp begins in the last week of July.

Fant senses Lock is preparing for a breakthrough in Seattle.

“I think he approaches it as a chance to do something great,” Fant said.

“He has the opportunity. Coach Carroll said they are competing for the job .. So I think he took that aspect of the competition and trying to win the job, just like Gene. “

This story was originally published June 3, 2022 10:46.

Greg Bell is a Seahawk and NFL writer for The News Tribune. In January 2019, the National Sports Media Association named him Washington State Sports Award of the Year. He began covering the NFL in 2002 when the Oakland Raiders defeated author The Sacramento Bee. The Ohio native began covering the Seahawks in their first season of the 2005 Super Cup. He previously graduated from West Point and served as a tactical intelligence officer in the U.S. Army, so he may ask you to leave and give him 10.

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