Are the Seahawks and Packers about to engage in another deal involving a football boss?
In 1999, the Seahawks sent the Packers a second-round pick for Mike Holmgren, who became Seattle’s coach and general manager. Among the former Packers personnel guys Holmgren hired early in his Seattle tenure was John Schneider, who then bounced back to Green Bay in 2002 and returned to Seattle to join Pete Carroll in 2010.
Now, 19 years after that Holmgren trade, the Packers reportedly are trying to get Schneider back for a third stint with the team.
The Seahawks reportedly turned down the Packers’ request to interview Schneider, so the story is over unless: (1) Schneider really wants to go back to Green Bay and (2) the Packers want to give up a draft pick or two for him.
Some think the Packers could win a grievance against the Seahawks for the interview block, since Schneider ostensibly would have more power in Green Bay than he does in Seattle, where he has no control over the coach and only shares personnel power with Carroll. But a grievance could go either way and would take time neither team probably wants to waste, with the offseason about to get very busy.
It’s also possible Schneider is not interested. When he signed a five-year extension in 2016, he knew the Packers were going to be transitioning from GM Ted Thompson (another one-time Seattle exec) at some point before 2021. And, unlike his previous deal, Schneider said his new contract contained no out to go back to Green Bay. So a return might be off the table for him, especially with Carroll signed through 2019 and showing no signs of slowing down. Carroll recently said he is “counting on” Schneider staying.
However, if Schneider does want to return to his home state and work with his friend Mike McCarthy, who reportedly really wants him, the Seahawks should consider a trade — if the Packers are amenable. Carroll & Co. should not stand in Schneider’s way by saying no or making the price prohibitively high; two second-rounders or a second and third would be a fair price (the 2002 Jon Gruden blockbuster is not going to happen).
Some will argue the Seahawks would be stupid to let Schneider go, especially as they face a franchise-redefining offseason. But why would Seattle want to keep a disgruntled GM? And, if Schneider is among those in the front office who want Carroll to make coaching changes and Carroll doesn’t, that could create another problem.
Losing Schneider wouldn’t be as big a deal as some might think. The rest of Seattle’s personnel/admin crew remains. Schneider and team contract/cap guy Matt Thomas surely have gone through all of their player options and have laid out their free agency Plan A, B and C. And Schneider has a couple of highly regarded lieutenants; co-directors of player personnel Scott Fitterer and Trent Kirchner have been with Seattle throughout the Schneider/Carroll era and have been pursued by other teams in recent years.
That said, it seems unlikely the Hawks and Pack will flip the script on the Holmgren deal they made 19 years ago.