In a Seahawks era when almost every season is shrouded by uncertainty on the offensive line, the team must scramble for alternatives once again.
George Fant was becoming a promising asset for the Seahawks. The young left tackle was starting to look like the miracle the team envisioned when it signed him as an undrafted free agent in 2016; the unlikely story was starting to come true. But then, in almost classic Seahawks fashion, he went down. And it was bad. According to David Chao, M.D., he tore both his ACL and MCL in a preseason game against the Vikings August 18th. Fant is not only a near-guarantee to miss 2017, but his 2018 campaign is in peril, as well.
The injury couldn’t come at a worst time. To quote Frozen, the Seahawks offensive line was transforming into something good for the first time in forever. The subtraction of Fant is truly a cruel and unlikely fate, similar to diabolical injuries the Seahawks have endured in previous years. Percy Harvin and his hip went down for the vast majority of 2013. Jimmy Graham and his gruesome knee injury took the air out of 2015. And Earl Thomas’ broken leg essentially derailed what chances the Seahawks had in last year’s playoffs.
Yes, it is football and football has injuries. But sometimes it seems like football hates the Seahawks more than everybody else.
Regardless of the reasons for why the Seahawks must face such ridiculous injuries year after year, the truth remains: the Seahawks have to figure out their left tackle situation heading into week one at Green Bay. And doing so may not be as tough as you think. Here are three options the Seahawks might pursue.
The free agent has no flights booked to any NFL team at the moment, and he may find a one-way ticket to Seattle suits him.
Albert nearly retired after being traded to the Jaguars this past offseason. When he rescinded his retirement, the Jaguars said no, apparently put off by his decision to ditch them. The tenth-year pro has started 118 games over his NFL career. He has been to the Pro Bowl twice and was last selected as recently as 2015.
A signing could be a no-brainer for both parties. The Seahawks need a left tackle and Albert would be the best one on the roster if signed. The former Chief has garnered no apparent interest and might find a one-year deal with a Superbowl contender quite attractive.
Having started 110 games in his career, the 31-year old finds himself a street free agent who could be an option for the Seahawks. In 2015, Oher was lauded as an integral piece to the Panthers’ offensive line on their way to an NFC Championship. However, he was released on July 20 of this year with a failed physical designation.
With his copious experience, Oher could suit the Seahawks nicely as a 2017 stop-gap. After recruiting Oher to the Panthers in 2015, Cam Newton took advantage and brought the Panthers to a Superbowl. Russell Wilson may want to follow in Newton’s footsteps if he wants to keep his jersey clean come September.
Move Luke Joeckel to LT
Let’s be honest: Joeckel did not look great last night against the Vikings at left guard. The purple-wearing Minnesotans pushed him all over the place like a snow plow in winter.
However, guard is not Joeckel’s primary position (no matter what Tom Cable tells you). Joeckel was selected second overall in 2013 to play tackle, and has started 35 games there in his career. If the Seahawks move Joeckel back to left tackle, he will be put in a position to block players he’s actually equipped to.
Moving the fifth-year pro to the outside would give him a great chance to succeed. He started 14 games at tackle during the 2015 season, and believe it or not, he did this:
If this statistic does not make you feel better about losing Fant, you might need to seek counseling. Looking past that eyesore of a game in week 17, Joeckel was a master of consistency in 2015. Naming him the new LT may not be a hard decision.
Fant was a blossoming lineman who defied expectations and helped solidify the left side of the line. Now that he’s gone, the Seahawks must partially re-construct what they have built. Whether the team looks within or to free agency, losing Fant may not turn out to be as costly as you think.