Value for good vets continues to elude Schneider

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.

10 thoughts on “Value for good vets continues to elude Schneider”

  1. Nearly impossible to trade Reed with his @$13m cap hit. He’s not worth that kind of money. Think you’re being a little harsh on Schneider in this case.

    Also in the cases of both Sherman and Thomas, where injuries clearly disrupted his options. You cannot make a move “in case he gets injured”, if you are going to use that as a trigger, every trade-vs-cut plan on your whole roster needs to happen now.

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    1. Reed’s cap hit to a new team was $9M. And any new team likely would have extended him. If Schneider tried to get an offer from early in the offseason, good. But it doesn’t sound like he was being that proactive.

      As for the others, the point was Schneider needed to move those guys because he was not going to keep them. At a certain point, he needed to drop the ask and get something. He just mistimed all of them. Reed just continues the unfortunate trend …

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  2. The history of moving on from his own draft choices shows how weak the drafts have been.

    Everything Schneider does—holding on to players, bargain bin FA shopping, trading down for volume—depends on consistently strong drafting to work, and that just has not happened. He treads water by trading; even if the track record there is okay, the opportunity costs in lost draft picks winds up reducing the draft margin for error. The bottom line is that he has not been able to rebuild an SB team while the dependency on RW increases.

    I’m guessing that this is the root cause of RW’s dissatisfaction—the OL affects him directly, but it exemplifies a problem that runs deeper.

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  3. BTW, Schneider may have gotten good value for Kearse, but he never succeeded in replacing him. David Moore’s numbers don’t compare that well with DJ Hackett, mostly a #4 receiver in a era that still valued the run.

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  4. This sums it up: “He treads water by trading.”

    Wilson definitely has carried the offense since 2016 (when he was injured), except 2018 when he was de-emphasized for the running game (and it cost them the Dallas playoff game). But that is the problem: As Wilson goes, so goes the team. And he and the offense have not been able to beat good defenses, especially in the playoffs. The Rams and others figure them out. Last year was the glaring proof of that trend. It’s why Waldron has got to fix the scheme to help Wilson against good defenses.

    RE Kearse, I was fine moving him. They still had Paul Richardson at that time (he parlayed a nice 2017 into a big contract for a minute in DC). Amara Darboh was supposed to be the new No. 3, but they whiffed on him (one of many misses in the third round recently). Jaron Brown was then added, and he was rarely used.

    To me, a third WR is not a priority anyway. If I were running an offense, I would make sure to get two good tight ends who could create mismatches. And I would use them that way. Most defenses are not prepared to deal with that. New England is on this excellent strategy again. The Seahawks could have done this last year, as deep as they were at TE, but they did not.

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    1. I didn’t have a problem moving on from Kearse. I put a higher value on a #3WR, but have no interest in paying starter money. Richardson was the quintessential Seahawk: A talented player who couldn’t stay on the field. I would like to see a WR who plays the slot and who will be open short-middle when the downfield guys are covered. Maybe that’s Freddie Swain–he showed last year, and good WRs often make a big leap in year two.

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  5. Occam’s Razor.

    what makes more sense?
    The guy who is GM of the team that has one of the 4 or 5 best records in the NFL over the last 10 years forgot to try to trade Reed until the last minute?

    or, there are reasons for it we don’t know, including, no one wanted him at $9 million/yr and a draft pick.

    Let’s see what he signs for.

    easy to pick out where Pete and John go wrong. And there were 3 or 4 drafts with too many whiffs. Now compare that to 31 other teams. Are there many with fewer whiffs at every level of team building?
    I know Hawk fans want playoff success. And part of that is on Pete and John. But the Superstar QB has not played a great playoff game since when? And Tom Cable has an online not giving up sacks in Vegas. I like Russ, but not afraid to see him go either. He has 5 years of not being playoff clutch. That’s a pattern.

    too much Pete and John hate out there, not enough spreading the blame and acknowledging the math that says if you win a SB every 32 years that is average. Reality sucks, but it is reality

    I work in an industry that outsiders think is easy. I watch so many come in without the experience and lose millions. And I have tried to help 10 different ones that I saw flaws in their plan within 15 minutes of looking at them. They all refused help, all lost millions and went broke. I try to remember that when I want to criticize a successful team in a biz where I am not an expert. It looks easy from the outside. It’s not. Gets a lot more complicated when you are doing it.

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    1. not accusing you of the anti John and Pete stuff. You and Brian tend to be 2 voices of reason in an increasing sea of Hawk fans who think the worst of one of the better franchises in the NFL. And they all could do better than them, answers are so easy.
      it is really hard to win in the NFL. No GM/coach is perfect. But really hard to think of 5 combos better. And we could do a lot worse. And we did for 34 years before. NE had a 8-9 year stretch between SB victories with Brady also. And NE played in terrible division for 20 years. Hawks have had a SB contender in their division at least 9 of the last 10 years.

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      1. Thanks for the good comments (and I never take offense to anyone disagreeing with me). Part of the fun of sports is fans debating how they would do things. Sports teams are kind of a public trust, and failures open up team runners to scrutiny by fans.

        I’m glad you see me as a voice of reason. I do judge Schneider pretty harshly for his draft misses, which lead to reactionary trades and keep this team going year to year. But I give him credit when due — e.g, despite the Reed disappointment, he has done well this offseason. I also critique Wilson and other players & coaches for their failures (while crediting them for their success). I try to be consistent and reasonable in my analysis, and I certainly admit when I am wrong (I could list plenty of those examples).

        I agree and have said before that this crew has made a heckuva run, despite their shortcomings. The bar has been set high by them, which most longtime fans appreciate and newer fans tend to take for granted.

        For me, it is about taking the final step this team has missed for six years. And that falls on the GM, coach and QB to correct together, because all share the blame. We can all debate the best way to do it, but in the end no one will complain as long as they do.

        Let’s hope Schneider keeps up his good offseason, Carroll’s well-stocked defense keeps ascending and Shane Waldron helps Wilson beat good defenses all the way to the Super Bowl …

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  6. glad you did not take offense. making comments can be tricky.
    I don’t want to agree with anyone all the time, that is boring.
    But you keep a level head when you post your stuff, I like that.

    I agree there is blame to be shared and it is frustrating to be so close and yet fall short for 6 years or 7 years. Got my fingers crossed the D takes a step up and Waldron can get Russ to what he does great and not what gets him into trouble. I think the D could be really good again (finally), with CB a potential killer weakness. And we need some luck and good health.

    one reason I have faith in Pete is I took to heart his comments about how he tried to do things before the way other people told him and he failed. He went to USC and did it his way, and same in Seattle. Very successful at both stops. Do what you believe in. I am on the verge of an extremely successful program using that same philosophy. I am not doing it the way others told me, but I studied my concept for 18 years and it’s ready to take off. Listening to Pete about 6 years ago made me determined to do my concept my way. So I get it when he gets stubborn about doing it his way. He can accept failure if he tries it his way and he will adjust accordingly. Not many people want to go against the grain. And I think Russ has that same streak. They may clash more because of similarities than differences. And a little friction is not always bad.

    keep pumping out the material, only 5-1/2 long months till kick off….

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