BY Art Thiel 02:54PM 01/06/2018

Thiel: Will Seahawks deal Schneider to Packers?

The Seahawks denied permission for Packers to talk to John Schneider about their GM vacancy, raising the prospect that Green Bay might have to trade for their native cheesehead.

John Schneider and Pete Carroll have always seemed to be a harmonious tandem. / Drew Sellers, Sportspress Northwest

A year after engaging in talks to trade premier CB Richard Sherman,  a franchise cornerstone, Seahawks general manager John Schneider, a cornerstone himself, could get traded.

The NFL Network reported Saturday that the Seahawks denied the Green Bay Packers permission to interview Schneider for their GM vacancy with his hometown team. That means that if the Packers really want him, they would have to offer the Seahawks compensation, probably in the form of draft choices, but it could include a player.

ESPN reported that the Packers could argue that their job is a promotion, because in Seattle, Schneider has shared player-personnel responsibilities with coach Pete Carroll since their arrivals in January 2010. The Packers position has full authority, including the hiring and firing of coaches. League rules require teams pursuing candidates for lateral moves to get permission from the candidate’s club.

Schneider, 46, is a native of De Pere, WI., and started his NFL career in 1993 under legendary Packers GM Ron Wolf. The ESPN report said Schneider is the preferred choice of many in the organization, including coach Mike McCarthy.

While the pull from the hometown may be strong, Carroll, answering a question Tuesday about Schneider’s future, said he was convinced his GM was staying.

“Yeah, I am. As a matter of fact, I am,” he said. “I’m convinced of that, yeah . . . I’m convinced that I’m answering your question exactly like I (was) asked it. I think he’s going to be here. That’s what I’m counting on.”

Earlier Tuesday on his ESPN 710 radio show, Carroll sounded a little less convinced.

“I expect John and I to do this together, but he’s got a life, too, you know?” he said. “He’s got stuff that he has to deal with also. That (news of the Packers vacancy) popping up (Monday) about 4 o’clock out of nowhere, that has impact, it hits him. John grew up there. He’s always loved that area, that program.

“He loves being here. He loves what we’re doing and he’s dedicated to what we’re all about. He’s dedicated to me as I’m dedicated to him.”

Schneider, who had a second stint with the Packers from 2002-09 when he became director of player personnel, told reporters in 2016 when he signed a contract extension through 2021 with Seattle that he had no out clause allowing him to leave for a Packers-only job.

The Packers and Seahawks had somewhat similar seasonal outcomes. Among the preseason favorites in the NFC, both missed the playoffs after a long period of success. A 7-9 season (4-4 at home) ended eight consecutive postseasons for Green Bay, thanks largely to a collarbone injury to QB Aaron Rodgers. Seattle was 9-7 and 4-4 at home, ending a streak of five playoffs in a row after injuries to several key players.

While the Seahawks can’t match the hometown sentiment for Schneider, there are certain virtues that accrue from working for the richest owner in sports, Paul Allen, who is hands-off when it comes to meddling in seasonal football business.

The Packers are the last community-owned team in big-time U.S. pro sports, and while the player-personnel payroll is governed by a salary cap, there is no limitation on front-office salaries, perks and benefits.

He also has a good working relationship with Carroll. Unless something changed recently, the harmony within management is a rare virtue in Seattle. That aspect came into sharper relief in the NFL Thursday when ESPN’s Seth Wickersham broke a story about major friction within the New England Patriots, the most successful team in the NFL since the 1994 adoption of true free agency.

The most tangible episode in the story involved the deadline trade of backup QB Jimmy Garappolo. According to anonymous sources, Bill Belichick wanted to keep Garappolo, 26, as the heir apparent to Tom Brady. But the 40-year-old quarterback, insisting he’s good for another five or so seasons, induced owner Robert Kraft to side with him because Brady felt threatened.

Even the greats get insecure.

Belichick reluctantly agreed to trade Garappolo for a second-round draft pick to San Francisco, where he was even better than Brady imagined, helping give the 49ers a positive future with five wins in a row to end the season.

It looks as if the 49ers pillaged Belichick, even though the deal was not of his making. He, Kraft and Brady issued a joint statement saying the story was balderdash, and have the facts of the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs to back their contention.

But another story surfaced Friday in the New York Daily News that Belichick, in light of the public exposure of the alleged fractures, may be considering the New  York Giants coaching vacancy.

However the drama in Foxborough plays out, the episode is a reminder that success in pro football is a brutally tough thing to manage, given the money, egos and short tenures involved. The Patriots over 17 years with Brady, the best quarterback in NFL history, have managed it best of all. But no empire last forever.

The Seahawks’ own dramas with stars, first with SS Kam Chancellor’s holdout, then with Sherman’s confrontations with coaches and media that nearly had him traded, and now with FS Earl Thomas’s “come get me” blurt to Cowboys coach Jason Garrett, have contributed to an uneasy end to the 2017 season, as well as the Legion of Boom, and perhaps portend roster tumult in the the off-season.

The key to Seahawks success has been shared vision and function from Allen through Carroll/Schneider and QB Russell Wilson. But now Wilson is drifting into some crosshairs by critics, some who say he’s doing too much, and others who say he’s not doing enough.

Despite the criticism of Wilson as well as Schneider — how’s that 2017 free agent group of RB Eddie Lacy, LG Luke Joeckel, RG Oday Aboushi and PK Blair Walsh working for you, John? — the Seahawks are in decent but not great shape as Pats help prove there is no drama-free corner of the highly pressurized NFL.

Schneider has never seemed like he’s power-mad or money-mad, so there may be no offers of either asset in Seattle that can over-rule the yearnings of the hometown kid. Perhaps all he can do is consider one larger question:

If you care a lot about the hometown, and you crap out there, where do you go?


YourThoughts

  • 1coolguy

    Another fine column Art. For what it’s worth (since I am a dump Bevell fan, you are not) I say let JS go to the Packers, IF they are willing to give up a #1 choice, at least. After the first 2-3 drafts, John’s notoriety amounts to the Harvin, Graham / Unger, Hauschka/Walsh DEBACLES (Art, you may want to add in the # of draft choices we gave up in these also),
    AND the last 2-3 drafts that have turned up not a heckuvalot. I venture to say Allen and his office assistant could have done as well, these past few drafts!
    So let’s get the Asst GM (presuming he has the bona fides) over at the Patriot’s, and infuse some of the most successful team in NFL history’s competence into the Hawks, bettering the organization overall.
    PS: And yes, thank you for pointing out the miserable list of FA’s JS picked up this year – Ugh……..

    • Ron

      We don’t want to play hardball with the Packers for a #1 pick, just because they might say no. Then what? We’re stuck with John, and he’s pissed off that he doesn’t get to realize his life’s dream. Who wants a disgruntled GM on the team? He might resign Graham to another excessive contract, and resign Blair Walsh to a five year contract.

      • 1coolguy

        You point out some nightmarish possibilities Ron. As to the Pete and John show, I believe Pete has say over who the GM is and John does not have the power to fire Pete. I’m fairly sure that was Pete’s requirement before he took the job, and that was before they hired JS. That hearkens back to Pete’s less than desirable situation with the Jets.
        As to Graham and Walsh (I think you were kidding) Allen is hands-off but he is no fool.

  • Effzee

    Meh. The Seahawks need an infusion of something new. If they aren’t going to fire Bevell or Cable, the drastic changes they speak of need to come from somewhere else. I say get as much as you can for Schneider and let him go. He’s the one who assembled this ramshackle collection of under-talented O-Linemen, WRs, and RBs. Let him make bad trades and fail at identifying talent on the offensive side of the ball for an NFC rival. Next man up.

  • StephenBody

    Despite the wildly irrational conviction among so many Seahawks fans that they could run the team better than Carroll and Schneider, our collective opinions about this don’t matter at all and I continue to be baffled when I read/hear things like “Bevel(Cable)(Russell)(Thomas)(Sherman)(Insert your own tradee!) HAVE TO go!”, as though the commenter is the GM and it’s going to happen instantly. (Nobody, though, ever says what happens if the “Have To” scenario doesn’t happen. Turn in your season tickets? Burn jerseys? What?)

    FACTS: *As time passes, players will come and go. *Schneider may go, if the Packers are willing to pony up. *Coaches come and go like carrier pigeons. *The earth orbits the sun. *Old men like me fart in grocery stores. And, somehow, NONE of that affects what the decisions will be at the VMAC.

    This glorious team that has been so good for so long may well sink back into the middle (please God, not the bottom) tier of the NFL. The guy below me, here, says “The Seahawks need an infusion of something new.” Hang in there, sport. It’s not like you or I or the Seahawks have any choice about change. Those infusions happen with numbing regularity and unless you’re talking about just blowing up the whole enterprise, no great wholesale changes are that likely. I get exercised about things, too, in my writing. I get positively venomous about Anheuser Busch and frivolous copyright infringment suits. But investing so much time and energy into “making decisions” that have ZERO real-world effect is kinda silly. After a certain point of giving your views, you HAVE TO trust the team to manage its own destiny. Everybody with the Seahawks, from Paul Allen to the assistant coaches, has earned our respect and trust. Can we not just let them do their jobs – which they will do, with or without our approval – and just leave the dissection to situations that actually exist, instead of the hypotheticals that are infinite and immaterial?

    • Ron

      “Everybody with the Seahawks, from Paul Allen to the assistant coaches,
      has earned our respect and trust. Can we not just let them do their jobs…”

      Paul Allen has earned our respect and trust. Pete and John did well in their first couple drafts back when Pete still had a good feel for the college talent. And they traded for Marshawn Lynch, a good move. And they won one Super Bowl.

      But let’s not forget that during the Super Bowl celebration that Pete Carroll promised we were “just getting started.” There was an expectation of more titles. But they didn’t materialize. Instead, we have been on a downward trajectory ever since the play that can’t be unseen.

      If you are content to let the team do as it pleases, you belong in the PR department of teams like Cleveland Browns, Bengals, or Seattle Mariners.

      • StephenBody

        **yawn** You’re going to be stating as GM soon, then? Or are you buying the team? If not, your reply is meaningless.

        • Ron

          What are you more proud of, John’s drafts the past 3 years, or your farts in the grocery store?

          • StephenBody

            Childish. Not worth a response. There are a lot of you guys who seem to think you’re clever.

            You’re really not.

          • Ron

            I can’t compete with geniuses like you and Trump.

          • StephenBody

            Well, A) I don’t know what competition it is you’re talking about, and B) if there were such a thing as that competition, you really couldn’t compete with much of anybody. I get living your life as a smartass. I am a veteran smartass. But I pick my battles a little better than you do and I don’t go looking for *people* as targets, unless they take a swing at me. I go after corporate breweries and wineries and companies that try to sue for asinine copyright infringement. It’s no fun ragging people like you in online forums. It’s too easy. And it not nice. I’ve been a writer, now, for forty-seven years. I’ve been poked at by readers for that entire time. Some of those people have been genuinely witty and interesting and what they wrote was pointed and had barbs on it. You’re not even in the top 500 of those. Even ignorant, sub-human pusbags like Trump occasionally get off a semi-clever remark, usually by accident. You’ve TRIED twice and both landed with a leaden “thud”. IF you’re going to be an internet wit, try finding some actual wit, instead of just rehashing the jokes you heard in junior high locker rooms. And save it for somebody who’s going to be affected by it. I made several actual POINTS in what I wrote. You just tried and failed to be either funny or insulting.

          • PompousTwerp

            Uhh, that’s quite a response for not responding.

    • 1coolguy

      You have apparently been living in a cave the past 3 years, vis-a-vis the Hawks’ drafts, or are JS’s dad.

      • StephenBody

        Not really worth it to reply logically to childish baloney.

  • Ron

    Despite Art’s assurance a week ago that Paul Allen would not prevent John Schneider from taking the Green Bay GM job, it happened anyway. Now the news report is the Packers hired within after expressing interest in John, so we are stuck with a potentially disgruntled GM in Seattle. http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000903698/article/packers-hiring-brian-gutekunst-as-general-manager

  • DJ

    Nice job Art – well stated, and thanks for unweaving the complex.
    Love your closing point.

  • It’s only Sports

    We have the best owner in the NFL running our beloved Seahawks and he knows the value of a great coach/GM tandem very well after enduring the Holmgren/Ruskell fiasco not too long ago in his NFL Journey.
    Paul Allen is too astute a businessman not to ask for compensation for a GM he feels is in the top 5 in the NFL despite 2017s set back.
    If I were Paul I would feel these two did a great job in 2010 of blowing the team up and reconstructing it and could do a great job in this years reconstruction that likely will be required.While the Hawks moves in the 2018 draft will not have to deal with change of that “Blow up”magnitude it is a pivotal year in the championship window with much work to be done. I think he trusts these guys are up to task in making the difficult decisions.
    Paul will keep JS/PC tandem intact and move forward. It just makes sense.