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The 6 players that John Schneider got out of the Seahawks first round pick

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

I am in awe of what John Schneider has managed to do over the last year. I know that the Seahawks haven’t won as much as they did from 2012-2015 and I know that Schneider isn’t the only person responsible for the decisions, but from maximizing opportunities in last year’s draft to extending Tyler Lockett to turning the option of a franchise tag into two valuable draft picks and more than doubling his 2019 class, I think Seattle might indeed have the NFL’s best GM.

First let’s go back to the buttfest that was January, 2018.

Now I could name some people who’d tell me that Schneider and Pete Carroll helped create Buttfest ‘18, but I also don’t expect perfection. Not from Schneider, not from Russell Wilson, not from you, and especially not from the biggest failure of all: myself! I think a lot of the problems of the last few years are natural byproducts of all the damn success they had as perhaps the best NFL front office from 2010-2015 or so. Not that they always won, or that they always made decisions that worked in their favor, but they won a lot and they took appropriate risks.

Where they found themselves untying knots and righting wrongs was in not having experience in responding to success. Schneider left Green Bay for Seattle the year after the Packers won the Super Bowl and so he missed the boat on watching Aaron Rodgers never getting back there since. Carroll won championship(s?) at USC so he did see what it was like to be on top and then experience a fall from said top, but the pros are a different ball game and the players are paid almost twice as much as they are at USC.

I’ve written many times before that the Seahawks and Patriots operate in very similar ways — and I’m sure some of you have already experienced the feeling of wanting to tell me that Bill Belichick is a better a GM than Schneider, but how do we really know that Belichick the coach isn’t so great that he makes up for Belichick the GM??? — but one thing that Carroll and Schneider maybe struggled with that Belichick doesn’t is cutting ties with mid-career stars.

Or at least, when you think they’re mid-career and then you end up paying Kam Chancellor and Michael Bennett on new deals that they never actually play a down for with Seattle. Or Marshawn Lynch. Or Richard Sherman. Or coming soon to a theater near you, Doug Baldwin? I mean, it can happen to literally any one or any team, so I don’t really fault the Seahawks for every decision that happens to go wrong.

Especially for a team that hasn’t had a losing season in eight years and is consistently in the playoffs. That doesn’t mean we ignore or excuse errors or even that they shouldn’t be examined, but equal coverage should be given to the enormous amount of good moves that the front office has made over the last decade. And in regards to criticisms about extending these players on third contracts, Schneider and Carroll at least seem to agree with the critics now.

In 2018, the Seahawks cut Richard Sherman, who had one year left on his contract. He’s also the same age as Chancellor, who Seattle had just seen go into retirement after so many snaps on a tough defense and special teams unit.

This move is in a way what allowed the Seahawks to have the cap room necessary to fill out their roster with three new vet players: Barkevious Mingo, Jaron Brown, and Ed Dickson. This is another point of criticism directed at Schneider because these signings also cost the Seahawks some comp picks, leaving them with only four selections headed into 2019.

But I’ve said it 11 times and I’ll say it 11 more: they drafted 11 players.

There was never any danger of Seattle drafting four players, or any fewer than eight. You may say “That’s because they had to trade Clark!” but it’s not and I’m also getting to that. Would the extra comp picks have improved the Seahawks draft class compared to the one they finished with? We’ll never know, but they weren’t really hampered by the “Free Agent Signing Massacre OMG I’m Losing My Mind On Twitter Over Comp Picks” disaster of 2018.

Buttfest ‘18 - Get your buttpasses now!

The Seahawks also traded Michael Bennett to the Eagles for a swapping of draft picks and Marcus Johnson. The move was not for cost, but another sign that the team was willing to part ways with fan favorites and that they were looking to get younger. That they wanted more listeners, fewer talkers.

Again going back to the critics — this time they said that Schneider got ‘absolutely fleeced’ (can you paraphrase a generalized statement from a group of people?) in the deal, saved barely any money, and got nothing back for a guy who was a star for the defensive line. Then they further criticized Schneider and Carroll during the 2018 season when Bennett was a very productive player in Philadelphia and Seattle struggled to find a good rush opposite Clark.

Seems they ignored the pick.

The Seahawks traded pick 250 for pick 156. They then traded pick 156 and pick 226 in order to move up seven spots for Michael freakin’ Deakson. I mean Michael Dickson. Yes. That’s what happened. If not for the Bennett trade, there’s a very good chance Seattle doesn’t draft the All-Pro punter.

They also released Jeremy Lane and DeShawn Shead, while signing DJ Fluker, Bradley McDougald, Justin Coleman, Sebastian Janikowski, Mike Davis, Shamar Stephen, Tom Johnson, Marcus Smith, and Akeem King.

This all informs the position that Schneider was in a month ago to have only four picks and so many needs, but as Twitter was freaking out about comp picks and needing to trade early 2020 picks to supply the 2019 herd, there were a few times I basically emphasized one thing: You know that Schneider and Carroll won’t end the draft with only four picks, and they’ve never once left a draft with fewer than eight now players, so what difference does the comp situation really matter?

AND - How does it compare to the difference that Brown, Mingo, and Dickson made in 2018, a season in which the Seahawks made the playoffs for the sixth time in seven years. Brown, Mingo, and Dickson are not exceptional players but they were necessary enough to warrant five touchdowns to the receiver (Seattle went 3-1 in those games), 373 special teams snaps to Mingo (almost 100 more than the next guy), and Dickson as arguably their best all around tight end (the Seahawks went 3-0 when Dickson caught a touchdown — including scores in key wins against the Packers and Chiefs).

This is even coming from a guy who still thinks that Seattle should cut all three of these players before next season but last season, they were significant contributors and that’s why all three are still on the roster for now.

You can disagree with me on the value of these three players compared to three day three draft picks, but you can’t ignore their on-field contributions entirely. At least address it.

Back to this year’s draft.

The Seahawks had a decision to make with Frank Clark, and not about whether or not they would franchise tag him, but only in what they would do after they did. Would they be willing to go into next season with him on the tag or were they just going to wait and take the best offer that came to them? The fact that they did trade him tells me that they were unlikely to extend him.

Then Schneider got more for Clark than anyone predicted, and a lot more than what the Kansas City Chiefs — Clark’s new team — got for Dee Ford. The Chiefs got a 2020 second round pick for Ford and Seattle got a 2019 first rounder plus that 2020 second rounder from the 49ers (unless it’s KC’s second rounder). That gave them five picks.

Then they were on the clock at 21, their own first rounder, and the deals started trickling in for Schneider. Now, some may argue that Seattle used the Clark first rounder to gain all of this draft capital, but I don’t think so. Here’s how I break down the trades, with the first scenario being if the Seahawks had not traded Clark and the second scenario being what actually happened.

With Frank Clark:

Pick 21, trade down to pick 30 (add 114 and 118), trade down 37 (add pick 132, 142), trade down to pick 47 (add 77).

Turn pick 21 into pick 47 (Marquise Blair), 77 and 118 (DK Metcalf) 114 (Gary Jennings and Travis Homer), 132 (Ugo Amadi), and 142 (Ben Burr-Krven)

In this scenario, the Seahawks turn pick 21 into pick 47 and add five additional picks, including one in the third, four in the fourth, and one in the fifth. And that’s it. They likely miss out on either LJ Collier or Blair, while not having the additional second round pick next year. I don’t believe that if Seattle was at 21 and traded down to 30 that they would have drafted Collier and rolled the dice with their remaining five picks.

That’s not a bad team. They’ve still got Clark, they’ve still added six picks. What they don’t have is Collier and the 2020 second round pick.

Here’s what actually happened, which requires no spoiler alert.

Trading Frank Clark:

Directly from Clark: Collier, 2020 2nd round pick, $17 million in space

From the trades that started at 21: Blair, Metcalf, Jennings, Homer, Amadi, and Burr-Kirven

One thing to address: After moving down from 21, the Seahawks next moved down from 30, but whatever the case may be Schneider was always going to use pick 29 once the team had back-to-backs. It wouldn’t make any sense to have picks 29 and 30 and to trade 30, it sets you up to potentially be swindled and lose out on the guy you wanted. So they technically dealt 30, but in reality they had two picks in a row and they just traded one of them. I think if they only had one pick there, they trade it, not draft Collier.

One other thing to address: I think this is the coolest part of all. Schneider, to me, didn’t trade Frank Clark. He traded the franchise tag. He traded Seattle’s opportunity to tag Clark. If they never had any intention of extending Clark, then all they had to do was tag him and find a trading partner, hoping that desperation at the position (that they don’t have) would force a team to make them a good enough offer. Then they got a really great offer.

By making all these moves, Schneider and Carroll again sort of feel like the front office that came to Seattle in 2010. They are managing a team that has a lot of knots to unravel, a lot of puzzles to solve, and they systematically stripped some players away, got younger, cheaper, and infused a ton of new talent to spark competition and welcome massive turnover on the roster.

That includes Metcalf and Jennings at the receiver position, where Doug Baldwin’s injuries have opened up a world of opportunities. Blair and Amadi at defensive back, an area that for the first time since 2009 won’t feature Earl Thomas, and previously lost Chancellor and Sherman. Burr-Kirven at linebacker, a position that experienced notable frustrations last season because of the two “in’s”: injury and insider trading. And Homer looking for a way to make himself the next Mike Davis.

If not for the trades during the draft, Seahawks might only get one of these players. Instead, they have these six players, plus Collier — who obviously has the most opportunity ahead thanks to the departure of Clark — a 2020 second, and a chance to be the most active team on the post-April free agent market.

And this is just a small snippet into what I think makes Schneider an elite general manager, not just for the Super Bowl seasons, but in the last couple of years as well. It turns out that Buttfest may have been as falsely advertised as Fyrefest.