Takeaways: Seahawks GM John Schneider on Doug Baldwin’s injury status, latest with Frank Clark
It’s NFL combine time, which means Wednesday was the first opportunity in a while to hear from Seahawks general manager John Schneider.
Not only did Schneider hold his annual press conference at the site of the combine in Indianapolis, he sat down with 710 ESPN Seattle’s John Clayton for an interview to catch us up on the latest from the Seahawks.
You can listen to Schneider’s conversation with Clayton embedded in this post (or download it at this link), and watch his press conference here. Below are a few things to come out of Schneider’s interview with Clayton and press conference.
Doug Baldwin had ‘a couple of things that he got worked on’
Asked by Clayton whether any Seahawks would be slowed down this offseason due to surgeries, Schneider brought up just one name. It was a big one, though: wide receiver Doug Baldwin.
“Doug Baldwin had a couple things that he got worked on. That’s really about it,” Schneider said.
The 30-year-old Baldwin is coming off his most injury-plagued season – which, considering he still played 13 games in 2018, shows how durable he has been throughout his career – as he dealt with separate issues with each of his knees. He caught 50 passes for 618 yards and five touchdowns, all totals that were his lowest or tied for his lowest since at least 2013.
The latest on Frank Clark
During the press conference, Schneider was clear that he expects defensive end Frank Clark, whose rookie deal is coming up, to remain in Seattle in 2019. But he didn’t clear up how the Seahawks plan to make that happen.
Asked if he expects Clark to be a Seahawk next season, Schneider simply responded with a “Yes.” But when pressed on whether Seattle will use a franchise tag for the first time in a decade, which would ensure Clark doesn’t hit free agency, Schneider was cagey with his answer.
“I don’t know that yet. I mean, it’s been 10 years – (kicker) Olindo Mare,” Schneider said, before joking that the Seahawks had talked 49ers general manager John Lynch into doing the same with their kicker, Robbie Gould.
The Seahawks don’t have much time to decide whether they’re going to use their franchise tag on Clark – the deadline to place tags on players is Friday – or have enough confidence that they can work out a long-term deal with Clark.
From Schneider’s comments, however, it appears the Seahawks are still trying their best to make the latter happen instead of having to resort to the former.
“Frank and I, we have a great relationship,” Schneider said. “Communication’s been great. There’s been a strong level of trust between the two of us. That would be the update.”
For full details on the contract situation with Clark, check out this story from 710Sports.com’s Stacy Rost.
Where things sit with Russell Wilson
Russell Wilson isn’t a free agent yet, but the Seahawks’ franchise quarterback only has one year left on his current deal, making his contract status one of the biggest stories of Seattle’s offseason.
Here’s what Schneider had to say when that subject was brought up during his press conference.
“We’ve been in communication with his agent, Mark (Rodgers), and I’m sure we’ll continue to talk. There’s some guys that are unrestricted free agents right now, so we try to work through that process, the different phases of it. There’s several guys that have one year left on their contract. In terms of extensions, obviously he’s incredibly important.”
… and Earl Thomas
From one pillar of the Seahawks to another.
Like Clark, Earl Thomas’s contract with Seattle is up. Unlike Clark, he’s not expected to be back, especially after he held out all the way through training camp and the preseason last year, suffered a season-ending broken leg in Week 4 and made a not-so-nice gesture in the direction of the Seahawks bench when he was carted off the field.
Schneider told reporters that he’s understanding of Thomas’ point of view and didn’t rule out re-signing the three-time All-Pro strong safety.
“Understood his frustration. It’s business,” Schneider said. “He’s a free agent, he’s gonna test free agency, and we’ll see what happens. We have a good relationship with his agents and stuff, and I mean, he’s gonna be one of those dudes that’s up on the (Ring of Honor).”
Schneider also discussed some of the Seahawks’ early additions this offseason, including defensive tackle Jamie Meder, and his thoughts on the Alliance of American Football and XFL starting up, which you can hear in the interview with Clayton.