Was this offseason Seahawks GM John Schneider’s finest moment?
When the offseason started for the Seattle Seahawks, the big question about their pass rush was whether they would put the franchise tag on Frank Clark.
Well, the Seahawks did franchise Clark. Then they traded him to the Kansas City Chiefs, just the beginning of a transformation at the position that only days away from the season opener against Cincinnati has 710 ESPN Seattle’s Mike Salk calling Seahawks general manager John Schneider “brilliant.”
By trading Clark, the Seahawks acquired Kansas City’s first-round pick in April’s NFL Draft, a second-rounder in next year’s draft and created themselves all kinds of flexibility to trade up and down in the draft and eventually add free agents. And as impressive as the haul was coming out of the Clark trade – which 710 ESPN Seattle’s John Clayton broke down following the draft – it might not even hold a candle to last weekend’s trade for three-time Pro Bowl defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.
The Seahawks now have Clowney in a pass rush that includes free-agent addition Ziggy Ansah, another Schneider addition that was made possible by trading Clark and his franchise tag salary. And not only does the Clowney trade look good considering Seattle sent Barkevious Mingo, Jacob Martin and a third-round pick they could replace with a compensation pick should Clowney leave after the season in free agency, but the Seahawks also got Houston to pay almost half of Clowney’s salary that will be about $16 million in 2019.
“I think this story’s as much about John Schneider as it is about anybody else,” Salk said during Wednesday’s edition of Brock and Salk. “A brilliant, brilliant move and a guy who should be (NFL) Executive of the Year.”
Salk was already a fan of what Schneider had done this offseason because he wasn’t sure Clark was the right player to build Seattle’s pass rush around, even after his career-high 14 sacks in 2018.
“I had major questions about Frank Clark,” Salk said. “Huge, gigantic, major questions about Frank Clark – about his character, about the way he was going to handle getting paid, about whether or not last year was fluky because he was in a contract year and obviously playing for the money. … They trade Frank Clark and end up with picks and the ability to trade their first-round pick and bring back everything they got in the draft this year, and then you turn Frank Clark into Ziggy Ansah and Jadeveon Clowney? That’s true genius. That’s like operating three, four steps ahead of the rest of the league. I think that’s why I’m so impressed with Schneider.”
Salk’s co-host, former NFL quarterback and current FOX college football analyst Brock Huard, thinks the Clowney trade is Schneider’s best as Seahawks GM. It’s important to note that Huard was only grading Schneider’s trades on paper and not factoring in the results that eventually came from Seattle’s acquisition of Marshawn Lynch in 2010, because two mid-round picks for a running back who had struggled early in his career wasn’t anything out of the ordinary at the time.
“This is the best move John Schneider and Pete Carroll have made in 10 years,” Huard said of Seattle’s GM and head coach duo. “… The kicker and (the reason) why I think it’s over the top and not a debate is Houston picked up half the deal. How did Schneider get them to pay $7 million of that deal? … (This is like) when you’re playing Monopoly trying to gather all the cards up and you just hit the jackpot. You got Park Place.”
You can hear the full conversation at the top of the first hour of Wednesday’s episode of Brock and Salk.