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News / Sports / Seahawks

Seahawks open free agency by bringing back Williams, Fant

Seattle fills two position needs with familiar faces

By TIM BOOTH, Associated Press
Published: March 11, 2024, 9:32pm

RENTON — The Seattle Seahawks brought back two of their own players to address areas of need on the opening day of free agency.

The Seahawks agreed to terms with defensive lineman Leonard Williams and tight end Noah Fant, two people with knowledge of the deals said Monday. They spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because the team had not announced either signing.

Williams posted on social media that he was returning to the Seahawks. He is expected to finalize a three-year deal reportedly worth up to $64.5 million.

Bleacher Report first reported the Fant agreement, which was Seattle’s first move on a hectic first day of free agency. Fant’s deal is for two years and up to $21 million.

Williams was Seattle’s top priority going into free agency after the team gave up a pair of draft picks — including a 2024 second-rounder — to the New York Giants to acquire the defensive lineman midway through last season.

Williams was a standout in the 10 games he played for the Seahawks, recording 41 tackles, nine tackles for loss and four sacks. It was the second time Williams was traded — he was sent from the New York Jets to the Giants midway through the 2019 season.

He will have a chance to be even more impactful in the defensive system of new coach Mike Macdonald, and Williams’ return should solidify Seattle’s defensive front along with Uchenna Nwosu, Dre’Mont Jones and Jarran Reed.

Bringing back Fant gives Seattle some certainty at a position that suddenly became a need. The Seahawks released Will Dissly to save salary cap space and lost Colby Parkinson in the opening hours of free agency.

Dissly reached agreement with the Los Angeles Chargers and Parkinson agreed to a deal with the Los Angeles Rams.

Those departures give Fant the chance to become the primary tight end target for Seattle after spending the past couple of seasons in a rotation. Fant landed in Seattle as part of the trade that sent Russell Wilson to Denver before the 2022 season.

Fant had 50 receptions for 486 yards and four touchdowns in his first season with the Seahawks. His numbers dipped in 2023, when he finished with 32 catches for 414 yards and failed to find the end zone for the first time in his career.

Fant was a first-round pick by the Broncos in 2019 and had a career-high 68 catches in his final season with the Broncos. New Seattle offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb showed an inclination for using tight ends in the passing game at his previous stop as the offensive coordinator with Washington, which could bode well for Fant.