JOHN CLAYTON

Clayton: Seahawks GM John Schneider has been going for it this offseason

Apr 8, 2020, 11:53 AM
Seahawks GM John Schneider, coach Pete Carroll...
Seahawks GM John Schneider has made some big additions this offseason. (AP)
(AP)

As the Seahawks await some kind of word from Jadeveon Clowney, it’s been interesting watching how general manager John Schneider is managing this offseason.

Heaps: To replace ‘blue-chip’ Clowney, Hawks would need Ngakoue

Schneider is going for it this year. He goes for it every year but even more so this offseason. No surprise. Russell Wilson wanted the Seahawks to add superstars. Although the names might not be considered star quality, the moves have been gold. Schneider landed two potential starting offensive linemen at $4 million and $4.5 million a year, the perfect cornerback for Seattle’s defense in Quinton Dunbar, added tight end Greg Olsen and wide receiver Phillip Dorsett to Wilson’s list of targets, and brought two pass-rushers, Bruce Irvin and Benson Mayowa, back to the team.

Bobby Wagner was ESPN’s First Take on Wednesday and said that even though the Seahawks need to do better on defense, they should be the team to beat in the NFC West. He may be right but the Seahawks will be slightly behind the 49ers until they get that starting defensive end.

Technically, the Seahawks have to replace two defensive ends if Clowney leaves because Quinton Jefferson signed a two-year, $13 million deal with the Buffalo Bills earlier in the offseason. Schneider continues to put his faith in Clowney by waiting but at some point he needs to figure out the next alternative.

The Leo rush position at defensive end now has Irvin and Mayowa as rotation players. They had a combined 15 1/2 sacks on their teams last year. At the 5-technique, Seattle has L.J. Collier and Rasheem Green. One of the two has to step up.

To some degree, Schneider has operated as if Clowney is going to stay, but he’s done this with the flexibility to go other directions. Schneider loves to play the compensatory draft pick game. A team can get up to four compensatory picks if they lose four more unrestricted free agents than they sign.

After the Seahawks broke up some of the key core group members of their Super Bowl team two years ago, Schneider stayed out of the compensatory game. He needed to get players. They signed more than they lost and were eventually left with only four of their own picks for the 2019 NFL Draft before making the Frank Clark trade.

Though not knowing the contracts of Irvin and Mayowa, the Seahawks have signed five free agents who should quality for compensatory picks. They’ve lost three – Jefferson, George Fant and Al Woods – who qualify. Because of the increased annual salaries of free agents this year, Fant might have garnered only a fifth- or a sixth-round choice. But if Clowney leaves for $15 million or more, the Seahawks stand to gain a third-round pick next year if they can change the sign-loss equation.

One thing no one expected was Fant to be the highest-paid player lost by the Seahawks in free agency, and Germain Ifedi the lowest. Even though the Seahawks were unlikely to bring back Ifedi, he signed a one-year, $1,047,500 contract with the Chicago Bears – minimum salary. That doesn’t count in the compensatory game. Here was a four-year starter and 2016 first-round pick who could generate hardly anything but minimum salary deal.

As far as compensatory picks go, though,, Schneider can worry about that at a later time. He’s too busy going for it now.

Follow 710 ESPN Seattle’s John Clayton on Twitter.

More Seahawks offseason coverage

Brock Huard breaks down the 7 picks from our Seahawks mock draft
Why Ray Roberts is impressed by Seahawks’ O-line additions
Quandre Diggs on joining Hawks: ‘The game is fun again for me’
Salk: Why the Seahawks can’t just ‘move on’ from Jadeveon Clowney
Seahawks 2020 offseason tracker

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