John Schneider doesn’t have an extension yet, and his leverage over Seahawks keeps growing
In 11 seasons with the Seahawks, head coach Pete Carroll is 112-63-1 in the regular season, has appeared in the playoffs nine times, has won the NFC West five times, has appeared in two Super Bowls and won a title.
All those numbers belong to general manager John Schneider as well.
Carroll was hired as Seahawks head coach in 2010 and helped the organization tab Schneider as general manager, quickly becoming one of the best duos in the league when it came to building successful rosters.
But Carroll, unlike Schneider, is the one with long-term job security in Seattle right now. He and the Seahawks agreed to a contract extension earlier this year, keeping him with the team through at least 2025 as one of the NFL’s highest-paid coaches.
Schneider, meanwhile, is signed only through the 2022 NFL Draft, which will be a few months after the end of the 2021 season. And with the 2020 regular season over, jobs across the league are opening up.
It was reported by Ian Rapoport of NFL Network on Sunday that the Detroit Lions were going to make a push for Schneider to take their general manager position this offseason. Schneider tried to dispel those rumors during his weekly pregame show radio interview with Steve Raible on 710 ESPN Seattle before the Seahawks’ Week 17 game against the San Francisco 49ers, saying he and his wife Traci “love it here” in Seattle.
“We’re good,” he said, adding that rumors are just that: rumors.
But the Lions aren’t the only team in the market for a new general manager.
On Monday, the Denver Broncos joined the Lions, Atlanta Falcons, Jacksonville Jaguars, Houston Texans, Carolina Panthers and Washington Football Team as teams seeking a new GM.
The seven current NFL GM openings:
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 4, 2021
It seems unlikely that Schneider would leave what he’s built in Seattle, but those teams may be willing to throw a hefty sum – and more control than Schneider has in Seattle, as Detroit would reportedly offer – to try to pry him away from the Seahawks. Schneider’s background is in scouting, and under him the Seahawks drafted Russell Wilson, Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright, Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor and many other star players. But even with that history of draft success, it’s Carroll, not Schneider, who holds Seattle’s role of executive vice president of football operations, which opens the door for other teams to offer Schneider something the Seahawks can’t – full control of football operations.
While Schneider is under contract for over another year with Seattle, the fact that he isn’t in control of football operations means teams could hire away now. According to Rapoport’s NFL.com report, the NFL’s anti-tampering policy would permit teams to interview Schneider by offering him full control.
There’s something else a change of scenery could offer Schneider. Of the seven teams looking for a GM, four are also in the market for a head coach. That would allow Schneider to pick a new head coach for the first time as a GM and build an organization from the ground up with his selection. That is, if he’s up for that challenge.
But I don’t expect that to happen, even if another team comes with a big check.
If you’re Schneider, why leave Seattle? You’ve been extremely successful, you know the roster and coaching staff like the back of your hand and the Seahawks should continue to be a great team for a number of years. Plus, Schneider is just 49 years old. Carroll, meanwhile, is 69 and will be 74 when his contract is up. If Carroll retires at that point and Schneider is still around, he’d be 54 with a chance to assume full control of football operations if he wants to stay in Seattle with a new head coach.
And if you’re the Seahawks, come on. Yes, you have two guys ready to take a general manager job in Scott Fitterer and Trent Kirchner, the co-directors of player personnel, and Carroll theoretically could become general manager in addition to head coach like Bill Belichick is with the New England Patriots. But Schneider is far and away the best guy for the job, which he’s shown time and time again.
Even though Schneider is signed through the 2022 draft, the Seahawks should absolutely get him a new deal right away. The Seahawks are 12-4 and his fingerprints are all over this roster. He wheeled and dealed for Jamal Adams, picked up D.J. Reed off waivers, signed Brandon Shell, and drafted Jordyn Brooks, Damien Lewis and DK Metcalf in the past two years.
With all these job openings across the league, the leverage Schneider has for a new deal continues to go up – and rightfully so. The two sides should get that deal done immediately to ensure Seattle doesn’t let one of the most important people in the organization’s history be enticed to take his talents elsewhere.