A Seahawks Season Of Change Part Three: The Case For John Schneider

Trust the guy with the quarterback eye.

Dear Seahawks Fan,

The 2021 NFL season is almost at its finish, and the Seattle Seahawks will have it’s first losing season under Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson. There is ample belief that there will be some changes with this team in 2022. Some believe that the quarterback might be gone. Other believe that it could/should be the coaches. There’s a fair amount who blame general manager John Schneider for the issues that ail this team, and want to see him riding out of town.

We don’t know what will ultimately happen. What we do know is that is has been reported that team owner Jody Allen isn’t happy with how things have been playing out over recent years, and doesn’t consider this losing season a one off.

We also know that Russ has expressed his unhappiness with the direction of the team and put together a list of four teams that he would be willing to be traded to last Spring after the team came off of a 12-4 season. There is wide spread belief around league circles that he and his agent are preparing to take things much farther this off-season.

Personally, I think it’s now fair to say something’s likely to give in a few short weeks. I’ve made a strong argument for keeping Pete Carroll, and I made a very strong pitch to keep Russell Wilson. This is my argument in favor of John Schneider to remain as commander and chief of the front office for the 2022 Seattle Seahawks.

A very interesting article broke the other week on CBS Sports written by Jason La Confora. The title of the piece revealed that Russell Wilson has little to no intention to sign another contract with Seattle once his third contract ends in 2023. That reveal wasn’t new news for me, as I’ve heard it mentioned before on a Mike Florio podcast.

For me, La Confora’s article got much more interesting when he revealed that there is a significant disconnect between those in the front office and Pete Carroll in seeing that the team needs a roster rebuild to compete with the other younger and more talented teams in the NFC West. That caught my eye significantly more that the usual unhappy Russ stuff did.

Apparently, there are those who see the fact the Russ remains the best chip to use in getting draft picks and players to start the needed process of this rebuild. Carroll, apparently, wants none of it, and said so as much in a press conference last week. It should be worth noting that it appears La Confora has a source within the Seahawks and has broke stories in the past before others. My hunch is that source is John Schneider.

Here is what I believe is truly going on inside the Seattle Seahawks organization. I believe John was told when Russ signed his last deal that he wouldn’t sign another one in Seattle, and there was some pressure from Russ’s agent to get this team into a more win now mode with him.

Things obviously didn’t go well with the moves to jump start the team, and Russ got quite bent by it all. My guess is that he really didn’t like seeing his team trade two first round picks and a third rounder and a starting safety for a box safety out of New York who doesn’t cover very well. My hunch is that Russ would have preferred those resources put into the offensive line in front of him.

Oddly, my Spidey-Sense feels that John Schneider probably would agree with Russ on that. I believe the Adams trade had Pete Carroll’s finger print demands all over it. John can disagree with Pete all he wants to, but at the end of the work day, Pete is VP of the team, and John works for Pete. That’s the pickle of this whole situation.

Now, as all these desperate attempts to kick start this team (Pete’s defense) have failed, the check is due, and big decisions need to be made by Jody Allen as to what to do next. Some feel like she won’t do anything. I suspect the opposite.

Recently, she’s shown us a willingness to act swiftly as owner of the Portland Trailblazers by firing their GM when an investigation showed ample workplace misconduct by said former GM. Although the situation with her Seahawks is very different, the sense of dysfunction feels ample enough to draw some action out of her. We shall see shortly.

Through this all, if I am to be perfectly honest, if it is true that John Schneider sees the desperate need for a rebuild, I see why. I see it as plain as day. I can see Jody Allen seeing it similarly.

If we were to take a deep look at all the rosters in the NFC West, we would see younger, deeper, and more talented rosters in San Francisco, Arizona, and Los Angeles than what is in Seattle, and the marginal of separation is not close. This is what Schneider is likely seeing.

Now I am sure that many will say that Schneider is responsible for this situation, but I think the fact that Pete Carroll has more power than Schneider muddies that considerably. The truth is that it is impossible to know all of which draft picks were John’s guys and which picks were the ones that Pete was insisting on.

Here’s a few players over the years that I think we can all say are John Schneider dudes.

Aaron Rodgers is a John Schneider guy. In 2005, while working for the Packers’ front office. Rodgers was the player John Schneider had rated as his top player on his draft board, and he pounded the table hard for him when the team already had Brett Farve well in his prime. Even though Rodgers put up some pretty passing numbers at Cal, the league viewed him as not big enough, not athletic enough, and not in possession of a live enough of an arm. When he fell to the 24th pick, John screamed at GM Ted Thompson to take him, and they did. The rest is pretty good history for the Packers.

Russell Wilson is a John Schneider guy. In the 2012 draft, John Schneider was the only NFL GM that had a first round grade on Russ. He badly wanted to take him in the second round, but Pete Carroll wanted Bobby Wagner more, and he overruled John’s wishes. Legend has it that John was sweating bullets at the way to the 75th pick before they were able to draft him. Legend also has it that Pete actually preferred Kirk Cousins more than Russ, but was willing to throw John a bone with the 75th pick when Russ and Kirk were still there. The rest is history, and I think it’s safe to say that John’s preferred quarterback out of the 2012 class turned out better than Pete’s.

Patrick Mahomes is a John Schneider guy. In 2017, rumors surfaced that days before the draft that Seattle really liked Mahomes, and would be tempted to take him if he fell to their pick. It created a stir among Seahawk fans. I think those rumors led to the Chiefs jumping up to get him with he 10th pick. Mahomes was viewed as a raw athletic passer with a strong arm who would need seasoning in the league before being ready, and he was taken nine picks after Mitchell Trubisky.

Josh Allen is a John Schneider guy. It is rumored that in 2018, Schneider had discussions with Cleveland about trading Russ for the top overall pick to take Josh Allen, but Cleveland turned the offer down to take Baker Mayfield instead (ouch). John was at Allen’s pro day workout and was captured on camera gawking at his throws. Like Mahomes, Allen was thought to be an athletic big armed cat who was really raw, and would need time to develop. That’s why the Browns took Mayfield tops, and the Jets took Sam Darnold after, and the Cardinals took Josh Rosen right before the Bills finally took Allen at 12 overall. Thus far, seems like Schneider’s guy proved the best quarterback out of that class, and it’s not even close.

What do all of these quarterbacks who are John Schneider guys have in common? Every single one of them have Hall of Fame trajectories, and each were passed over in their draft classes by quarterbacks not nearly as good, and John Schneider was deeply infatuated with their potentials.

Simply put, when it comes to judging quarterback talent, Seattle Seahawk GM John Schneider knows that side of NFL business exceptionally well. Now, I don’t know about you all, but for me, I want that kinda guy running the front office ship of my team, period.

Further more, I believe, if this Jason La Confora report is accurate, that Russell Wilson has little intentions of signing another contract with Seattle, and whether or not they make a coaching change won’t effect his position, one can easily argue that it is vital for Jody Allen to lean into John Schneider moving forward now more than ever.

Whether they chose to hang onto Russ a bit longer or trade him now to start the rebuild, having John around makes sense. It just does.

If there’s some bad blood between John and Russ’s agent, and Jody still wants to hang onto Russ a bit more, so what? Smooth it out. Sit down, have a few beers, and watch Ted Lasso together. Josh about Josh Allen together.

Still, aside from all this Russ stuff, there is a deeper lingering feeling I have about the long term health of this club that I can not shake off. It’s the feeling much like that one you carry around with you that eventually forces you to call the nurse-line to see if you need to see a doctor.

Who knows how much longer Jody Allen intends to hang onto this club. There’s a belief she is looking to eventually sell to fulfill the will of her late brother, but now is not nearly the time. In that belief, there was a report a year or so go, that she viewed that the health of the club was in a good place with its leadership, and its star quarterback, and she wanted it maintained that way in order to get max value as an eventual seller.

If she is unhappy with the situation now, and if she and her advisors are seeing the overall talent gap between her team and the rest of the division widening further and further, like perhaps John is, then there’s gotta be some pretty frank discussions being had with all parties very shortly.

I’ve seen strong arguments out there that are emphatic that this team move on from both Pete and John in favor of keeping Russell Wilson and “trying to make it work out with him” with a different coach and GM with a fresh perspective. I think those arguments are laid out pretty well, and I can be extremely tempted to go along with them.

But if I am to be ruled by my own logic, and not my emotional attachment to Russ as a Seattle Seahawk, I see a roster with a lot of holes on the offensive and defensive lines, no cornerbacks beyond Tre Brown on any contracts for 2022, and I see questions at a lot of other positions, as well, and I have a very unnerving concern. I’m not sure that keeping Russ and throwing a bunch of money at veterans in free agency this Spring is the best laid plan, to be honest.

This rings louder in my ears especially if I pair it all with a potential unwillingness from Russ to commit to being here long term even with a coaching change.

As I weigh all of this, if I am de facto the team owner eventually looking to sell, I’m might be leaning towards the feelings that now is the time to act decisively towards a major rebuild. That might be the right call, in my mind.

If now is the time to max out all you can get for Russ, I think I can be persuaded to rip that band-aid off with John tasked to eventually find the next franchise quarterback, and to get the long term health of this club right so that I can squeeze as much of Jeff Bezo’s billions out of his grips that I possibly can further down the road. After all, in the game of making billions, rarely is the short term success looked at. It’s almost always the long game that matters most.

And I will be honest in this, I don’t want to trade Russell Wilson as much as the next fan. I’ve shared my beliefs on this blog that align with others that you should try giving it a go with him with another coach, if need be. Even if he chooses not to sign another contract, the club can franchise tag him for a few years to buy more time to find his replacement, and maybe with a new coach, he moves off of his idea of eventually leaving, if that La Confora report is accurate.

But I also feel, intuitively, that it is very smart for Jody Allen to retain John Schneider as the GM of this team. My intuitions are that between Pete, John, and Russ, the truest adult in the room between this power trio is most likely John.

He’s the one who is most likely looking at the long term landscape of the league and health of this team. Not a 70 year old head coach who wants to lean into short term veteran plug in fixes like Benson Mayowa and Carlos Dunlap instead of committing to playing younger talents more, and certainly not a legacy obsessed 33 year old QB who has had one foot out the door for a couple seasons now.

In relationships with those we love, the truth is often the very thing we least want to hear when all is not well. I have known, from personal experiences in my life, that you can share amazing chemistries with people that lead you to believe that they are who you are meant to be with, and over time, other things reveal themselves and prove, long term, that’s not the right match for you. It can be painful when faced with that, and it’s very easy to want to brush it off and pretend it’s not there.

It’s easy to be in love with Russell Wilson. I think that is also very true with Pete Carroll. Each are not perfect at their crafts, but they are both extremely lovable dudes, and they are good enough at what they do where one wants to think that it is best to keep it going with them more. It’s an easy conclusion to land on.

The harder place to get to is acknowledging that the foundation underneath Pete and Russ is not likely a solid one, and there are extreme liability concerns for this organization, if that foundation is not addressed. Personally, I don’t think the foundation of this club is very sturdy right now.

I see an older head coach who isn’t nearly as into the “draft and develop” as he was ten years ago and because he has power over the GM, he has the ability to squander draft picks for plug and play veterans that other teams no longer want. That’s a shame.

I also see a quarterback who sees himself on the same par as Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady, and the truth is that he isn’t, but he won’t see it differently, and because of that, he will refuse work function on the play field within his own limitations, and I think that’s a problem. Time and time again, we see him chase after big plays instead of tossing to the easy short stuff available, and then run circles into sacks. Then his agent feels the need to drop narratives to Colin Cowherd that Pete Carroll is holding him back, and John Schneider hasn’t given him a better offensive line. Wash, rinse, and repeat.

I love Russ as much as any Seahawk fan, but I think that he is so blinded by his legacy goals that he can’t see a decent thing in front of him, and I suspect if he goes elsewhere, that other team will realize the same thing Seattle does. He needs to be in a run centered offense to be at his best. I think it’s also true that, while he might not like that reality in Alaska South, he might be more wiling to accept it in New York City with all the glamor and attention that comes with being the Giants quarterback.

These are the cold, hard, honest truths that I think are all, quite possibly, very likely. It’s probably not the most pleasant truths for many Seahawk fans to read.

I think a strong argument why Jody Allen needs to lean into John Schneider is that he has an undeniable eye for quarterback talent, and that is huge for finding the next great one for Seattle, if and when Russ leaves.

But I think maybe even a stronger argument for John is that he might be the one figurehead in this organization who is looking at, and is championing for, the longer term health of this club.

I think if John is the one who is feeling the biggest need for a rebuild, it’s wise to look at that. He’s the one who is signed through 2027. He’s the one who is studying this roster, and the players coming out of college, and what is on the horizon in free agency, and the trade markets.

Long time NFL journalist Michael Silver has recently (and repeatedly over the years) described John Schneider as one of the most respected, and one of the sharpest front office minds in the league, on a Colin Cowherd podcast. A cynical Seahawk fan could say that this is lazy reporting by Silver and they would point to recent drafts and fee agent moves, but I’d push back on that. Again, we don’t know which of those moves were done out of Pete’s insistence, and which were done out of John’s beliefs.

What we do know this that Silver is a deeply connected NFL writer and has been for years. What he reports are the thoughts and feelings he hears from sources throughout the league. He hears that people believe highly in John. That might not be nearly the same as he hears about Pete, or maybe even Russ, possibly.

If I am Jody Allen, I’m gathering my top advisors and we’re having good long discussions with John Schneider these days. I’m listening to his words. I’m asking all the tough questions as to why we traded for Adams and such, and I am looking for his honest answers.

If I trust those responses, I’m trusting John Schneider. I’m moving forward with him to get this Seahawk ship sailing right. Russ and Pete can stay, or they can go, but I’m putting my stock in John. I will ride it out with him.

Go Hawks.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s