Seahawks GM Schneider is excited about Olsen, aims to re-sign Clowney
All eyes are on Indianapolis as the NFL Scouting Combine is officially underway. As he does every year, Seahawks general manager John Schneider is on site for the event to get a closer look at the draft’s elite prospects.
Schneider’s Seahawks are in the midst of a critical offseason, as the team is looking to build off it’s 11-5 regular season record and playoff win while playing in a division that’s seen as the best in the NFL. Along with that, the Seahawks have many key 2019 contributors who are free agents.
Schneider sat down with 710 ESPN Seattle’s John Clayton to discuss the offseason from Indianapolis.
First big move
While much of free agency is speculation as the official period doesn’t start until mid-March, some moves can still be made with “street free agents” who were either released from their club or were already free agents at the end of the season. One of those players was tight end Greg Olsen, who was released by the Carolina Panthers. After visiting the Seahawks, Redskins and Bills, Olsen decided to sign with Seattle. Olsen’s signing was made official by the team Monday.
Officially official. 📝
— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) February 24, 2020
“(His signing) really helps,” Schneider told Clayton. “(Tight end Will Dissly’s Achilles injury) was such an unfortunate thing for Will (who has handled it well) … then to be able to add somebody like Greg is a big deal for us.”
Quarterback Russell Wilson and Olsen spent time together during the Super Bowl, which may have helped in luring Olsen to the Pacific Northwest. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Olsen liked the other two teams he visited, but the idea of playing with Wilson put Seattle over the top.
“Obviously we were excited to get him in, brought him in for a visit, had a great visit with him and kind of kept things going negotiations-wise,” Schneider said. “We’re really excited for that room and what he’s going to bring.”
The big name the Seahawks will focus on is defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, who Seattle traded for ahead of the regular season and could reportedly demand a record-setting deal in free agency. Clowney’s numbers in 2019 weren’t the best, but he was still a playmaker and caused havoc despite playing with a severe core injury that required offseason surgery.
It’s no secret Schneider wants him back in Seattle.
“Everything the Texans said about him, he’s a great guy, he loves football, he loves playing, he gets off the ball, he’s so long and athletic and he’s a blast to be around, too,” Schneider said. “He’s a real fun guy. The whole staff loves him and the equipment guys and everybody in the cafeteria and he’s just a really fun-spirited guy. Extremely disruptive. I hope we can get him back, but obviously, we’re going to have to go through a process here”
That process will reportedly start in Indianapolis, as Seattle Times reporter Bob Condotta tweeted that the Seahawks will meet with Clowney’s agent at the combine.
Clowney isn’t the only big free agent the Seahawks have, as Clowney is one of five defensive ends hitting the market as are starting right tackle Germain Ifedi and capable backup left tackle George Fant.
“It is (daunting), but it’s fun, it’s exciting,” Schneider said. “We’d love to get Jarran back, Quinton Jefferson and Clowney. It’s a cool group of guys and we’d love to get all those guys back. Again, it’s just a matter of time. How do we do it? How do we compare our guys to other players around the league? But we’re going to focus on our guys first.”
On the offensive line, it sounded pretty similar.
“It sounds like a daunting process, but it’s a blast for us to go through and we’ll go through that process with Ifedi and George (Fant) and we’ll take it day by day,” Schneider said.
Defensive line is an area that the Seahawks will likely address in the draft as they were one of the worst teams in the NFL at getting sacks. Schneider said he’s impressed with the draft prospects on that front.
“Like every draft, there’s certain drop offs, we call them ledges, and there’s a couple pretty steep ones (this year), but overall it’s a good group,” he said. “It looks like a little bit better of a group outside than inside at this point, but you never know throughout the spring how these guys will improve their value and improve their draft stock, if you will.”
The upcoming draft is also notable for the depth at wide receiver. The Seahawks have one of the better receiver duos in Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf, who both had 900 yards or more in the regular season, but getting a third receiver to pair with those two along with the star power Seattle has at tight end with Dissly and Olsen would make for a potentially scary passing attack.
“It’s incredible, it seems like every year the guys keep getting bigger and faster and more ready for the pro passing game,” Schneider said of the receiver prospects. “Last year, we thought it was a good group as well, that’s why we (traded to get back into the seventh round) to get John Ursua. This group looks really good. It felt like in our meetings each guy that kept coming up was getting bigger and faster as they came along, but it’s a heck of a group.”
Listen to Schneider’s full interview at this link or in the player below.
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