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John Schneider falls hard in NFL GM rankings

Arizona Cardinals v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

A recent ranking by NBC sports put that John Schneider is the 22nd best General Manager in the NFL.

In other words, a better ranking than any of the three quarterbacks Schneider has given head coach Pete Carroll for the roster as of now, but nevertheless, not too good.

Years of unremarkable drafts have caught up to Schneider it seems.

At least, that’s what I would have expected, but it was not at all the focus of this piece.

I’ll be honest, I came in to this originally expecting to see strong rationale for the fall of Schneider’s glory in the NFL’s opinion, but that is not what we received. Instead, while 22 could be a defensible spot for Schneider to live, it’s not for any unique or interesting reasons.

Their criteria is stated thus:

All front office activity - from players and coaches to draft picks and contracts - is taken into consideration. Past achievements are not forgotten, but recent history is given greater emphasis.

So with whatever that means in full view, here is the stalwart captain of your Seattle Seahawks.

22. John Schneider

The Seahawks’ front office has made two signature moves the past three years: Trading two first-round picks for a safety and acquiring two first-round picks for the quarterback who oversaw at least one playoff victory six of his 10 years in tow. I’m not sure which, but that seems like a cardinal sin. It’s definitely a team-building sin. The one thing you do not do in the modern NFL is give away a franchise quarterback.

Other notable one-liners include “Defensive help did not arrive in this draft”, and “bringing a Drew Lock to a Patrick Mahomes fight will get you killed in this league.”

We’re just going to respond to this entire package, because wow.

1 - Signature moves

Yes, these are the biggest moves that John Schneider has made, but they are far from the only ones. Even though they will be the most impactful ones, it’s not by that much. Wilson, sure, but Adams? What about finding Quandre Diggs for a fifth, believing in DK Metcalf, and finding yet another UDFA star in Poona Ford?

It’s sensible to grade harshly for significant moves, but when these rankings are published the media tends to beat the same two storylines to death surrounding the Seahawks. I would argue that Schneider’s expensive trades haven’t worked out, but his cheap ones have been gangbusters, that his middle-career drafting was terrible, but his early and recent drafting has been above league average. Let’s have that conversation.

2- Give It Away, Now

The Russell Wilson emphasis fulfills I’m sure some sort of editor’s quota, but it’s weird. It was not a trade for two firsts. It was not a zero sum trade replacement for Adams.

It’s two firsts, two seconds, and three players. Apparently all three of them are going to start, because the two position players are good, and Schneider does seem content to bring a Drew Lock to a Patrick Mahomes fight, whatever that means to this guy who didn’t watch the rest of the Kansas City Chiefs try to play football last year.

It’s a staggering amount of return. It included a top-10 pick. Denver is going to get smashed by the AFC West this year so it will include another top-10 pick (it won’t). Noah Fant is a first-round TE talent. Shelby Harris will play. Seattle owns the Broncos top four picks between the 2022 and 2023 drafts.

This was not a giveaway, it was a continental shift. You can be mad that a team had a top-10 QB and now does not, but you cannot say it was for free.

Speaking of...

3 - How ‘bout them playoffs?

That was a weird qualification. He won *at least* one playoff game in 60% of his seasons, meaning, he won precisely one playoff game in most of those seasons. What does this have to do with anything?

Specifically, it ignores the now wide-spread reports that the disagreement between Wilson and Seattle Co. Management was big. Even bigger that Russ’ hands. This trade had been festering for over a year, if one of the guys who originally broke the story is to be believed.

With a player who so openly and forcefully wanted a change, I’d argue Schneider pulled off something remarkable. He successfully un-Aaron Rodgers-ed this entire situation and set the Seahawks up well to waste countless draft picks in the future.

Honorable Mentions

“Defensive help did not arrive in this draft” is a strange thing to say because they took the best player available at position of need in pass rusher Boye Mafe. They got widely-agreed upon steals in the 4th with two starting-caliber cornerbacks.

Outside of those positions, they don’t actually need help. They want to see what this linebacker room looks like, they’ve got lots of help in the middle of the line, they’ve got Pro Bowl safeties. Besides the biggest help imaginable already happened when they fired Ken Norton Jr.

Granted, John Schneider did not push the dynasty forward in the years following the 2013 Super Bowl, and for that he certainly deserves some heat. But he’s doing better lately, and unlike many of the past 6-7 years, nearly everything they’ve done this offseason has football sense to it.