RENTON — For both Shelby Harris and Noah Fant, their unexpected offseason move joining the Seattle Seahawks feels a bit like an eventuality finally coming true.
Harris and Fant were two of the other pieces that Seattle landed as part of the trade that sent Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos last month. In return, Seattle acquired quarterback Drew Lock, several draft picks, a veteran defensive lineman in Harris and a young tight end in Fant who is still looking to match his first-round draft pick pedigree.
Had circumstances played out differently, both Harris and Fant may have already been in a Seahawks uniform.
“They know. I made sure I’m talking trash to all of them. ‘Y’all had me up here. Y’all had a chance to sign me. Y’all had a chance to sign me and now you have to trade for me,’ ” Harris said while laughing during a video conference on Tuesday. “I think it’s just kind of like my career coming full circle.”
What Harris was referencing was a workout he had with Seattle in 2016 when he was a free agent, before he landed in Denver and developed into a solid defensive linemen that should fit seamlessly into the changes the Seahawks intend to make on the defensive side of the ball.
Fant’s brush with Seattle in the past wasn’t quite as close as Harris, but it does highlight that the Seahawks have long had interest in the tight end.
General manager John Schneider recently told the story that Seattle had Fant’s name written down with the thought of selecting him, only to see the Broncos beat them to the selection.
“In the green room when I was in Nashville, my agent we’re kind of talking about that a little bit thinking that Seattle was a possibility,” Fant recalled.
What was a possibility for both players at one time is now the reality for each after being pieces in one of the biggest offseason trades in recent years. Both said they were surprised at being involved in the deal.
Harris was in the Broncos practice facility having just finished a workout when word broke of the trade.
“I was eating lunch and then it popped up on the screen that Russell Wilson was getting traded to Denver and then it was crazy because we all got excited,” Harris said. “And then I looked down and I’m getting a call from the GM.”
Both players make sense and fit specific needs Seattle had entering the offseason. The Seahawks are expected to play more of a 3-4 defensive scheme this season and Harris said from the study he’s done so far it will almost be a copy of the system he played the past few seasons under Vic Fangio in Denver. Harris tied his career high in sacks (six) and tackles (49) starting 16 games for the Broncos last season.
Fant hasn’t quite matched the hype that surrounded the Broncos selecting him with the 20th pick in the 2019 draft. But he’s caught 62 and 68 passes for nearly 700 yards in each of the past two seasons.
While those aren’t huge numbers, they would be compared to the Seahawks history. Only once in franchise history has Seattle had a tight end catch at least 60 passes in a season. That came from Jimmy Graham in 2016 when he had 65 catches for 923 yards.
“The good thing is for me is the consistency to be honest with you,” Fant said. “I haven’t been really happy from my perspective with my production the last two years. Granted, it’s been decent production compared to other tight ends in the NFL, but I definitely am striving for more and better.”