With Ted Thompson being moved out of the GM position – a move I believe is based on his health and not his performance – a lot of names are bouncing around as potential successors.
One of those names is another guy with Packer ties who, like Ted, built a Super Bowl roster in Seattle: John Schneider.
Fans like Schneider because he’s a local boy and proved he could build a winner. But with the way the tires are flying off in Seattle – even while their QB has two healthy collarbones – could make for some second-guessing of that decision.
Members of the #FireTed club have long pointed out his reluctance to sign free agents (of course, what they really meant was his reluctance to sign other teams’s free agents – as if players are somehow “better” if they were drafted somewhere else… even though Ted has one of the better draft records in the league) and that is something that Schneider isn’t afraid to do
They’ve also lamented that Ted doesn’t make a lot of trades for players. Never mind that trades don’t happen in football as often as they happen in the other major sports, Ted’s lack of trading is held up as examples of his inaction and “arrogance” in not using all avenues to acquire talent.
Fans like seeing action and big names, it makes them feel like there’s things getting done. Yeah, he’s a man of action! Decisive! Winning!
… well, two out of three ain’t bad.
The Seahawks weren’t exactly tearing it up this year, but they made a lot of exciting moves!
Their O-line wasn’t doing good, so they traded for Duane Brown. They needed a tight end a while back, so they traded for Jimmy Graham. When they wanted another defensive lineman, they traded for Sheldon Richardson. Oh, and they signed Dwight Freeney (something stubborn ol’ Ted would never do).
Let’s start with Freeney, since he’s the big-name, over-the-hill kind of guy Ted would never sign, but fans can’t seem to get enough of. Freeney was great, but he’s also 37 – that’s an age when your body hurts all the time if you sit at a desk all day, let along running full speed into 300 pound dudes that want to hurt you. “Yeah, but he had 8 sacks a couple years ago, that’s really good!” says the fan who calls Clay Matthews washed up.
Schneider picked him up for a $1M one-year deal (enough to pretty much pay the Packers entire practice squad) and for that big name, the team got 3 tackles (which Blake Martinez gets in a drive) and 3 sacks (which is the same number as Kyler Fackrell got this year). This came at the expense of a young guy being added to the roster to get critical developmental snaps. In this case, it probably would have meant no Reggie Gilbert for the Packers. And for what? So you could keep that old fart with a big name on your team for a year? This is why fans aren’t GMs.
But that wasn’t the most painful of the big decisions.
Duane Brown cost the Seahawks a 2nd and 3rd rounder. For a high-priced 32 year-old player – that’s stupidly short-sighted, especially when you consider that Ted gets guys like Bakhtiari, Lang, and Sitton in the 4th round.
Graham cost them a 1st round pick and Pro Bowl offensive lineman Max Unger, which could have been a big part of why the offensive line wasn’t playing well and required a trade for Duane Brown – see how these short-term moves have a domino effect?
When they needed a defensive lineman, they traded for Sheldon Richardson, which cost them a 2nd round pick plus a veteran receiver. Sheldon Richardson is prime talent, so a second rounder might not seem like a hefty price (unless you consider that Ted gets guys like Mike Daniels in the 4th round), but the kicker was that Richardson only had 1 year left on his deal (at a fully-guaranteed amount) and seems ready to jump back to his old team. That means that Seahawks gave up a 2nd round pick and a veteran receiver to borrow a defensive lineman for a year in which they didn’t even make the playoffs. He had a career low 1.5 sacks the year before they traded for him and that dipped to 1.0 sack in his lone year with the team. Dean Lowry was a 4th rounder and outperformed him (making a rookie deal wage).
So yeah, John Schneider may have won a Super Bowl, but I don’t want someone who makes “exciting” moves like this – I consider them more reckless than exciting.
You know what’s exciting? Scouting your #ss off an finding guys like Mike Daniels and David Bakhtiari in the 4th. Sifting through UDFAs to uncover future Pro Bowlers like Tramon Williams and Sam Shields.
That’s the kind of excitement I want – the kind that comes from working a proven program and depending on the acumen of your scouting and coaching staff to develop players in your system and manage the cap responsibly.
I want a boring GM.