Over his 11-plus years as Seattle’s GM, John Schneider has been pretty good when it comes to making trades (we put him around .600).
But it’s also rare when Schneider gets value out of good players he lets go.
He didn’t get it for Michael Bennett or Richard Sherman or Earl Thomas. And he certainly didn’t get it with Jarran Reed, who was released Friday because the Seahawks had put themselves in a spot where they needed his $9 million in cap space and Schneider could not get a team to give up even a seventh-rounder for a solid starting defensive tackle who has 19 sacks over the past three seasons.
Over his 12 free agency periods with Seattle, Schneider has made just one trade where he got really good value for a top player. That, of course, was the Frank Clark deal in 2019, when Schneider got a first- and second-rounder from Kansas City (with a swap of thirds).
This is not to impugn all of Schneider’s offloading-veterans trades, obviously. He has made some really good moves with secondary players. In 2010 (his first year), he traded Darryl Tapp to Philadelphia for Chris Clemons and a fourth-rounder. Clemons was a star for Seattle for three years and helped win a Super Bowl.
In 2015, Schneider sent oft-injured Max Unger in a deal that brought superstar tight end Jimmy Graham. In 2017, Schneider included Jermaine Kearse in a deal that brought Sheldon Richardson.
But Schneider messed up with some of his Legion of Boom stars. He actively shopped Sherman in 2017, and Miami reportedly made several offers, including Jarvis Landry. But Schneider was said to be holding out for a first- and third-round pick – and no one met that price.
Just before the draft that year, the GM said, “Right now we’ve kind of moved past it. If somebody calls and goes crazy with something … where you really, truly have to think about it and consider it, then we would have to consider it. … The guy’s one of the top cornerbacks in the league. You don’t just give him away.”
Well, Sherman ended up tearing his Achilles the next season, and Schneider gave him away. He cut him in March 2018, the same month he traded Bennett. The GM was in such a hurry to get rid of Bennett that he settled for a fifth-rounder from Philadelphia when he reportedly could have had a third from New England if he had waited until closer to the draft.
Then there was the big Thomas saga later in 2018. Dallas and Kansas City both wanted the safety, each reportedly offering a second-round pick at various points. But Schneider was stubborn, holding out for more all the way until October. Just when he reportedly had lowered his asking price and was willing to send the safety to KC for a 2, Thomas got injured. Another missed opportunity by Schneider.
He did end up at least getting a third-round 2020 comp pick for Thomas, who signed a big deal with Baltimore in 2019. But he could have had a 2.
Reed is no Sherman or Thomas, but he still should have netted something – even in a tight salary cap year.
The Seahawks apparently asked Reed to add a voidable year to lower his cap hit. He preferred an extension, which was a perfectly reasonable request. But Schneider and Pete Carroll did not want to pay him, which was the smart thing on their part, too.
Schneider reportedly looked for a trade. But he was up against a timeline, needing to clear cap space for Carlos Dunlap and others. Reed knew the deadline and let it be known publicly that he was on the way out – which may have burned any last chance Schneider had of trading him.
It’s possible Schneider tried shopping Reed earlier this offseason, but it does not sound like that is the way it happened. He should have though. He knew Seattle likely would need both the cap savings and the draft pick Reed might return, and he should have started early in laying the groundwork for a trade.
However it happened, it was a disappointing miss on a possible pick in a year Schneider surely would like to add to his three current choices.
Meanwhile, Reed’s departure continues Schneider’s theme of not keeping his draft picks much beyond their rookie deals. Since the 2013 draft, only two picks (5%) have lasted more than five consecutive seasons: Justin Britt (six) and Tyler Lockett (going on seven). That’s a huge drop from Schneider’s first three drafts, when he found seven long-term keepers (25%).
Chris Carson and Ethan Pocic, the last members of the 2017 class, just got soft Year 5 commitments, but there’s no guarantee they are back for Year 6. Schneider just keeps going one year at a time with almost all of the guys who are not on rookie deals. It has been the approach since Schneider and Carroll dismantled the LOB in 2018.
Reed, their 2016 second-rounder, is just the latest example of that. And it’s too bad they ended up having to let him go for nothing.