By Dayna O’Gorman // @DaynaOG
You are going to see a lot of articles over the next few days about the impact Seahawks defensive end Jadeveon Clowney will make on his new team. You’ll also see a lot of talk about players fighting for what they want. All are worthy subjects and I look forward to reading about it. But I’m here today to talk about something else.
Seattle Seahawks General Manager John Schneider might be a magician. A wizard even. It may be the only explanation for what he has managed to pull off in his career.
Now I’m not downplaying the role head coach Pete Carroll has had in all of this because we all know Carroll is essential to it all, but man… give Schneider a wand and a Hogwarts letter because he’s a master.
Schneider negotiated a deal with the Houston Texans to send a 2020 3rd round pick, linebacker Jacob Martin, and pass rusher Barkevious Mingo to Houston in exchange for Clowney. Now, to the layperson, this may sound like a lot for one player, but when you factor in neither player was guaranteed to make the team for the Seahawks, its a steal. No, its pure thievery.
This is not the first time Schneider has managed to do something like this. Let’s start with what I think is the greatest trade he has managed to pull off, maybe the greatest trade in Seahawks history, running back Marshawn Lynch. Schneider gave the Buffalo Bills 2 draft picks for Lynch, a 2011 4th round pick, and a 2012 5th round pick. Read that again. Two mid-round picks over two years.
Then there was DE Chris Clemons. Outside of Seattle, his name isn’t as well known, but he was one of the most important parts of the Seahawks famed defense during their Super Bowl win. Schneider grabbed him, plus a 4th round draft pick from Philadelphia, in exchange for DE Darryl Tapp. Tapp managed to have a solid career with 6 teams but didn’t make the same impact that Clemmons did for Seattle.
And, stop me if you’ve heard this before, but Schneider was key in drafting quarterback Russell Wilson. You may know who he is. Highest paid player in the league? Franchise QB? Oh yeah… him. Schneider has also drafted safety Earl Thomas, cornerback Richard Sherman, offensive tackle Russell Okung, linebacker Bobby Wagner, S Kam Chancellor, and LB K.J. Wright, to name a few. It will be fun to watch how many of Schneider’s picks end up in the Hall of Fame.
Then you have to look at his history in the draft. Not just the picks themselves, but the sheer volume of them. At the start of the NFL business year in 2019, the Seahawks had 4 draft picks. By the end of the 2019 draft, they had managed to work their way into almost 3x that many. In the 10 years Schneider has been running the draft for Seattle, they have never had less than 8 draft picks, and rarely did they start out with that many. Both Schneider and Carroll live for big draft classes and having lots of options, so they find a way to make that happen.
Now, I’m not saying he’s always spot on. We’ll not bother to mention the Harvin trade, or how good the trade for tight end Jimmy Graham looked at first, but didn’t pan out. We’ll not dwell on those because the “misses” are few and far between.
This article would be 1,500 words long if I mention every magical thing Schneider has done, so I’ll end with this. John Schneider has never won the NFL Executive of the Year, and that baffles me. If the Clowney trade works out and he stays healthy, and Seattle manages to find its way deep into the playoffs (or further), this may be the year the league recognizes him for his fantastic work.
Follow Dayna on Twitter // @DaynaOG