The Seahawks made moves to retain the rights of a handful of players prior to the start of the new league year.
Tackle/tight end George Fant and defensive end Quinton Jefferson, both restricted free agents, were given qualified offers to keep them with the Seahawks in 2019. Fant, who went undrafted out of Western Kentucky, was tendered at the second-round level, meaning the Seahawks would receive a second-round pick as compensation if he were to sign an offer sheet with another team that Seattle didn’t match. Jefferson was given the original-round tender, meaning a fifth-round pick would come back to Seattle if he signed elsewhere.
Fant, a college basketball standout at Western Kentucky who only took up football for his final year of college, joined the Seahawks as an undrafted rookie in 2016 and started 10 games, then in 2017 was poised to win the starting job at left tackle heading into the year before sustaining a season-ending knee injury in a preseason game. With Duane Brown, acquired during the 2017 season in a trade, holding down left tackle last year, Fant found an important role in Seattle’s offense as a sixth-lineman/big tight end, regularly playing between a third and half of the offensive snaps in any given game as the Seahawks led the NFL in rushing yards. Fant also recorded one reception for 9 yards.
Jefferson, a fifth-round pick out of Maryland in 2016, appeared in all 16 games, starting 12, showing the versatility to play both defensive end and defensive tackle. Jefferson recorded 25 tackles, three sacks and two passes defensed.
The Seahawks also tendered 10 exclusive rights free agents: linebacker Austin Calitro, linebacker Emmanuel Ellerbee, center Joey Hunt, defensive end Branden Jackson, safety Shalom Luani, running back J.D. McKissic, receiver David Moore, long snapper Tyler Ott, cornerback Kalan Reed and guard Jordan Simmons.
The Seahawks did not tender defensive end Ricky Ali'ifua, defensive back T.J. Green, running back Tre Madden or defensive back T.J. Mutcherson, making them free agents.