Will Schneider answer Wilson’s challenge?

John Schneider draftingJohn Schneider has a pretty well-known MO when it comes to trying to keep the Seahawks’ roster competitive for Pete Carroll: The GM is conservative in free agency and the draft, saving his big splashes for blockbuster trades.

However, given the resources at his disposal this year and the dire need to reformat the defensive line and fortify the offensive line, will Schneider be more aggressive?

Russell Wilson already has challenged the GM to be assertive in free agency, adding a couple of “superstars” while paying Jadeveon Clowney. And Schneider needs to use his draft picks to acquire immediate impact players — whether via trade or by moving up in the draft.

Seattle is projected to have around $55 million to spend on free agents (that’s after accounting for rookie signing bonuses, practice squad and injury replacement money for 2020), so Schneider has no reason not to follow Wilson’s advice.

His No. 1 goal needs to be finding veteran outside pass rushers, a la Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett in 2013. They will be more expensive this time, but this also is perhaps the first time since early in Wilson’s career that Schneider has had this kind of cap space to play with. Clowney is the only guy on the roster worth big money, and Seattle can afford him while splurging for much-needed outside help.

Of course, Seattle could have afforded Frank Clark last year, too. But Schneider didn’t think he was worth $20 million (the AFC champion Chiefs are certainly happy to have him though).

Will Schneider alter his thinking and be willing to pay Clowney? If he doesn’t, he will have to replace Clowney while adding another good veteran pass rusher. And he has to find a couple of defensive tackles and a starting right tackle (because Jarran Reed, Al Woods and Germain Ifedi are not expected back).

Here’s what Schneider should budget: $32 million for Clowney and another pass rusher, $5 million for an offer to George Fant, $3 million for a second-round tender to Jacob Hollister. That would still leave $15 million (or $20 million, if Fant got a better offer) for the defensive tackles, maybe an offensive weapon (Austin Hooper?) and a few cheap backups (QB, etc.).

It seems unlikely that Reed will be back. He wants well over $10 million a year, and Schneider almost surely will not pay that. Reed probably will have to accept a one-year deal somewhere else to rehabilitate his value for 2021 (players almost never sign one-year, prove-it deals with their original teams, so don’t expect that).

That would leave Seattle looking for a No. 1 defensive tackle. Some good ones might be available — Houston’s D.J. Reader, Pittsburgh’s Javon Hargrave, New York’s Leonard Williams, Baltimore’s Michael Pierce — but Schneider probably won’t want to pay $10 million or more for any of those guys. He will probably just stick to his middling rotational pickups (like Al Woods in 2019) and use the draft to replace Reed.

And that leads us to this question: Will Schneider consider using some high picks to move up for an impact rookie or add a veteran pass rusher?

Among his eight projected picks, Schneider is expected to have double selections in the second and fourth rounds. He could move up from 27 overall to as high as the 12-14 range, where he might have a shot at a top defensive lineman.

That’s very unlikely, of course, because Schneider enjoys amassing extra picks too much. Plus, this tackle class is one of the best in 20 years, according to draft analyst Rob Rang. So Schneider can sit tight and still probably get a replacement for Ifedi at the bottom of the first round.

But, if he’s aggressive, he might find another use for his first-round pick — a trade for star pass rusher Von Miller (if Denver is open to dealing the 30-year-old). Or maybe Schneider uses the 1 on a tackle and trades another pick for a pass rusher (Jacksonville’s Calais Campbell, Buffalo’s Jerry Hughes, Cincinnati’s Carlos Dunlap, et al).

Draft picks are not going to put the Seahawks in the Super Bowl. Only some veteran “superstars” will do that. And Schneider is going to have to be very aggressive in getting some.

Russell Wilson and the rest of us are counting on it.

4 thoughts on “Will Schneider answer Wilson’s challenge?”

  1. Ever since the trade of Clark, it seems to me your articles have taken a turn to the critical. I am growing tired of the negative quality. I believe the Seahawks did the best they could with their salary cap restrictions. They took some chances, hoped for a better return on their investments, and came a little short. Injuries, like last year, were the limiting factor. I believe Clowney to be far more worthy of paying than Clark, IF he can stay healthy. I will agree, that a pass rush is paramount, and likely what is needed most to re-establish dominance.
    All this being said- I believe the Seahawks already have what it takes to win it all. I find Russell assertion that, the Seahawks “need a couple more superstars to compete at the next level”, to be a huge cop out on his part! And I find your carrying this statement about like some dog parading with some triumphant bone to be equally galling.
    Hope you and Russ enjoy your little trip into fantasy land: Fact: you cannot pay for a couple more “Superstars” with the salary cap restrictions. Fact: look around; no team paying their quarterback top dollar wins championships. Brady wins- but, o yeah, he takes a cut in pay so the team can afford talent. Breeze had a great chance this year, but the team had to endure some pretty mediocre seasons to draft high enough to acquire defensive talent. The 49ers are looking pretty good but they have been drafting pretty high for awhile now- they will have the same problem the Seahawks do when those second contracts come due. The winning formula is- not having to pay a kings ransom to your quarterback. Baltimore, Kansas City, those are the teams that can afford to surround their Quarterbacks with “superstars”; like the Seahawks did before everyone required top dollar to feel “respected”.
    Do you want to know the real reason the Seahawks aren’t playing in the Super Bowl? It’s Russell Wilson- look no further. There are two problems with Russell. #1 He makes too much ( He has the ability to overcome this- see second problem). #2 He short circuits the offense with his refusal to rhythm pass- how about looking short to pick up a first down, instead of always holding the ball to throw 30 or more yards down field? Baldwin was wasted on this man! I have re-watched many a Seahawk broadcast watching Baldwin- He was always open! But, Russ wouldn’t let go of the ball, he always wants the deeper option. Brady has reached many a Super Bowl by keeping drives alive. A few more slants, quick crosses or comebacks would have made the difference. He has Lockett and Metcalf. These guys could be “Superstars” if he would consider using them on quick rhythm routes as well as deep. So often, it is Russ’s inability to see what is right in front of him that gets the Seahawks sacked.

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    1. Wilson is the best deep thrower in the NFL — going to a short-passing game is like unilaterally disarming. Plus, the offensive philosophy is based on runs and deep passes.

      SEA was 11-5 this year because of Wilson. A healthy Alex Smith throws in rhythm — do you think that he would have led the Hawks to a better record.

      BTW, there’s no such thing as making too much.

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  2. There’s an undeniable need for elite talent on defense. And, they’re not going to luck into another Bennett-Avril signings because 2013 — the one off-season in recent NFL history when there was no market for edge rushers — is not going to happen again. In my mind, sign Clowney and trade up. They have the resources for both.

    I’m a broken record on this point, but they continue to need a solid #3 WR to keep good defenses from blanketing Lockett and Metcalf. If David Moore was the answer, we’d know by now. If Ursua could step up, he would have gotten more PT this year. For all the fan griping about Jermaine Kearse, they’ve never replaced him.

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  3. Unfortunately, Pk, I do know that’s the offensive scheme; but, so does the defense. That it works about a third of the time is truly remarkable. I say; why play with half an offense? Russell is suppose to have free reign. Take your shots, but look to pick up the first down to keep a drive going… Live to fight another day. Like I said; the Seahawks and Russ have what it takes. But, only if they chose winning over style. And Russel is not worth it if the cost is falling short of division championships because he can only look deep.

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