Rost: Besides coach, what’s Seahawks GM Schneider’s next big move?

Jan 13, 2024, 10:12 AM

Seattle Seahawks Jamal Adams...

Seattle Seahawks safety Jamal Adams reacts after a takeaway in 2021. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Miss the playoffs and you’ll find yourself doing what any other frustrated team will do: looking in a mirror to figure out what the problem is. The Seattle Seahawks have a lot of reflection and hard calls to undergo this offseason.

And that was even before they needed to find a new head coach.

Pete Carroll details final meetings with Seattle Seahawks ownership

Coaching search aside, here are three other tough decisions that Schneider – now with sole power in Seattle’s front office – will need to make in the coming weeks.

Should the Seattle Seahawks cut Jamal Adams?

I can already hear fans saying “that’s an easy decision!” But there are financials, potential, and quite a bit of pride to consider here.

The Seahawks gave up two first rounders for Adams and then extended him with what was at the time the richest contract for a safety. His first season was a success. Though he dealt with injury, he also racked up an NFL record 9 ½ sacks, most ever for a defensive back in a single season. Problem is he hasn’t registered a sack since and has also appeared in just 22 games over three seasons.

For the first time in his contract, parting ways with Adams will save the team money – but only around $6 million. That’s not chump change, but it has to be considered with the $20 million dead cap gut punch he’ll also leave behind.

ESPN’s Brady Henderson believes the idea of moving on from Adams isn’t just a reality for frustrated fans, but could also be on the table this offseason.

“We all know how much time he’s missed with injuries,” Henderson told us on Seattle Sports’ Bump & Stacy. “On the other side of that coin, the guy was remarkably durable over his first three seasons with New York. So, there’s no doubt some bad luck there. But there just has not been enough production or availability, I think, to warrant the cap charge next year.”

A rostered Adams would carry a $26.9 million cap hit, third-highest on the team behind Geno Smith and Tyler Lockett.

“There’s not really an easy way to lower that cap number the way there would be for a guy who’s producing, a guy who you may want to extend,” Henderson said. ” … I realize that this has been a really tough season for Adams and probably should’ve been somewhere along the expectation in terms of his availability – it was a very bad injury that he suffered last season – I still would’ve thought there would’ve been more pass rush production just given the amount of time he was out there… I just have a really hard time seeing him being back, certainly on this contract, next season. I just don’t see that.”

Do you keep Geno or get younger?

Geno Smith received unending support and praise from head coach Pete Carroll throughout the season, but will that same support be there from his new head coach?

Smith is under contract though with a higher cap hit, up from $10.1 million in 2023 to $31 million this season. That’s still well outside the top quarterback salaries and puts him around 20th overall in cap hit among all NFL salaries, but it’s still notable for a team with plenty of holes to fill. It would be easy to justify with the same production, but Smith threw 20 touchdowns (as opposed to 30 last season) and didn’t match or surpass career highs from 2022. Meanwhile, the much cheaper Drew Lock remains an option to re-sign.

Another thing to consider: Seattle has pick No. 16 in a draft class with Caleb Williams, Drake Maye, Bo Nix, Heisman winner Jayden Daniels, and National Championship quarterbacks J.J. McCarthy and Michael Penix. Jr. With an entirely new regime, would general manager John Schneider continue attaching his cart to a new franchise passer.

Do you re-sign Bobby Wagner?

Wagner finished the season with a career high 183 tackles along with Pro Bowl and Second-Team All-Pro honors. But he was also a step slower at 33 and struggled in pass coverage; he certainly wasn’t the only reason for Seattle’s defensive struggles over the middle, but he was part of a front seven that needs help.

Geno Smith might’ve been a favorite of Carroll’s, but Wagner is the brainchild of both Carroll and Schneider.

This is a John Schneider pick – one of his very best – who was awarded extensions by Schneider. He’s a future Hall of Famer who made it clear he wants to play in 2024, and Seattle will need linebacker help with Jordyn Brooks set to become a free agent. In fact, there are currently no inside linebackers under contract for Seattle.

More on the Seattle Seahawks

Bobby Wagner reflects on playing for Pete Carroll on Seattle Seahawks
Salk: Why best choice for next Seahawks coach is Jim Harbaugh
• Huard: The unconventional pick for next Seahawks coach
• Lefko: Seahawks leap into unknown with bold yet necessary step
• Who will be the next Seahawks coach? Huard, Bumpus weigh in
• Seattle Seahawks Candidates: Who could succeed Carroll as coach
• Former Seahawks, others in sports world react to Pete Carroll news
• Carroll explains why he’s no longer Seahawks coach, what’s next

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