I’m not saying that he should have been No. 1 (although I do think he has a strong case).
I’m not even saying he should be in the top-3 (again, strong case).
But not in the top-5?
And only barely in the top-10?
In what world is what John Schneider has done in the past year only good enough to capture the No. 9 spot?
One quarter of the league’s GMs are not better at their jobs than John Schneider - not overall, and for darn sure not in the last 12 months.
Here’s a short, and absolutely not all-inclusive list of what John has done:
Fleeced the Broncos in the Russell Wilson trade.
Technically, the RW3 trade was included in last year’s rankings, but it was used as a justification for putting Schneider at #17.
Seahawks ownership ultimately decided to keep Schneider/Pete Carroll and let them trade Russell Wilson. Not the choice I would’ve made — gimme Wilson. And I would not adopt trading away your best players for draft picks as a strategy worth pursuing with DK Metcalf, especially when there have been so few good selections in the last five years.
Given the benefit of hindsight, I think that the way the Russell Wilson trade turned out (Geno good, Russ bad, Seahawks get No. 5 pick) is worth a significant bump in the 2023 rankings - as a mea culpa, if nothing else.
KILLED the 2022 draft (and won a league award for it).
The Seahawks made nine picks in last year’s draft. Per Seahawks.com, seven of the nine made “significant contributions” on offense, defense, and/or special teams. Five of them were full-time starters (Charles Cross, Kenneth Walker III, Abe Lucas, Coby Bryant, and Tariq Woolen) and a sixth (Boye Mafe) made three starts. One of the other two spent the season on IR so he gets an ‘incomplete.’ The final member of Seattle’s 2022 draft class was poached off the practice squad by the Green Bay Packers, but has yet to see any action in a regular season game.
Unsurprisingly, that draft class led to the Seahawks winning the ‘Best Draft Award’ from Inside the League. For those that are unfamiliar (and/or don’t want to click on the link), this award is voted on by NFL scouts and personnel people.
“To be acknowledged by your colleagues, scouts, who are at the Marriott Courtyards, up late typing reports, all that kind of stuff, going to schools and all that,” Schneider said. “We know what it’s all about.”
Assembled a team that shattered expectations during the 2022 season.
When last season started, the Over/Under on how many games the Seahawks would win was 5-1/2. Seattle started the season with a win versus the Broncos in Russell Wilson’s “Homecoming” game, and then lost three of their next four to fall to 2-3.
At that point, the Over/Under was looking semi-reasonable (although there were probably still a lot of people betting the Over).
Four consecutive wins later, Seattle was sitting at 6-3 and was alone atop the NFC West, 1-1/2 games ahead of the 49ers, 2-1/2 games clear of the Rams, and three full games up on the Cardinals. Obviously, the Seahawks didn’t maintain that advantage, but when you beat the Over/Under before Week 10 in an 18-week (17-game) season, you deserve some credit for exceeding expectations.
Especially when a team that was expected to be the worst in their division and one of the worst in the entire league wins 9 games and makes the playoffs.
Re-signed the 2022 Comeback Player of the Year to a ridiculously-good contract.
When news first broke that the Seahawks had resigned Geno Smith, the announced terms were 3 years, $105M, with $52M of that coming in the first year.
Seahawks and Pro-Bowl QB Geno Smith reached agreement on a three-year, $105 million contract, including $52 million in the first year, as @Schultz_Report reported.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 6, 2023
Over the next few days, more and more details trickled out and the deal that the Seahawks and Geno Smith had agreed to got better, and better, and BETTER.
The #Seahawks’ deal with Geno Smith has a base value of $25 million per season (three years, $75 million) with $40 million fully guaranteed at signing, sources say.— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) March 7, 2023
Smith will earn $28 million in the first year of the deal. He has $30 million in incentives.
As a reminder, the franchise tag would have cost the Seahawks $32.416M this year, and that entire amount would have gone on Seattle’s cap the second they used the tag (regardless of when - or if - Geno signed it).
Instead, Geno Smith’s cap hit this year is $10.1M ($22.316M less than the franchise tag) and the total amount guaranteed is only $27.3M (5.116M less than the tag).
There are team-friendly contracts and then there are TEAM-FRIENDLY contracts. Geno’s contract is the latter.
Yes, he’s betting on himself and, yes, he’s going to make a whole lot of money in 2024 and 2025 if he’s able to prove that his 2022 performance wasn’t a fluke. But even if he maxes out his incentive escalators, his cap hits aren’t crippling:
- 2024: Min. cap hit = $31.2M; max. cap hit = $46.2M
- 2025: Min. cap hit = $33.7M; max cap hit = $48.7M
As is, without the incentive escalators, Geno’s cap hits the next 3 years would be #17 this year, #12 next year, and #11 in 2025.
If he maxes out his incentive escalators, his 2024 cap hit would climb to #7 (nestled between Patrick Mahomes and Daniel Jones), and his 2025 cap hit would be #6 (a mere $6,619 ahead of Patrick Mahomes).
Note: All of those #s are before the top young QBs sign their first extensions, including Joe Burrow, Jalen Hurts, and Justin Herbert.
Bottom line: If Geno plays like a Top-5 QB, he’ll get paid like a Top-10 QB; if not, it’s easy (and relatively inexpensive) for Seattle to show him the door.
That’s some damn good GM’ing in my book.
Grabbed his surf board for the first wave of free agency.
Shocking pretty much everyone on the planet, the Seahawks made headlines on the first day of the legal tampering period ahead of free agency by agreeing to a 3-year, $51M deal with Defensive Tackle Dre’Mont Jones.
Not only did the Seahawks sign one of the top prizes on the free agent market, they also gave out the biggest contract that John Schneider (and Pete Carroll) had ever given to an outside free agent . . . by A LOT.
Brought Bobby Wagner HOME!
While it would be crazy to judge a GM on sentimentality or ‘fan-service’ types of moves, John Schneider does get credit for signing Bobby Wagner. Not only is the deal fairly team-friendly, but Bobby belongs in the Pacific Northwest, and . . .
He was the #1 ranked linebacker in the NFL last season (per PFF) with ‘elite’ grades in three different categories:
- Overall: 90.7
- Run-Defense: 91.1
- Tackling: 91.0
His other two grades were alright as well, just not elite:
- Pass-Rush: 79.6 (#7 league-wide)
- Coverage: 77.9 (#15 overall)
Seeing as Jordyn Brooks is expected to miss some/most/all of the 2023 season, Cody Barton is now in Washington D.C., and our only significant move at the position up to that point was signing Devin Bush to a 1-year, $3.5M deal, bringing Bobby home definitely counts as a feather in John Schneider’s cap.
I am not going to lobby against any of the GMs who are ranked above John Schneider.
I will, however, conclude this article with a list of the GMs who made the Top-10.
I will also include three GMs that finished outside the Top-10 (along with at least part of the write-up for each of those not-top-10 guys):
NFL.com’s Top-10 GMs:
#1: Howie Roseman, Philadelphia Eagles
#2: Brett Veach, Kansas City Chiefs
#3: Duke Tobin, Cincinnati Bengals
#4: Brandon Beane (and Sean McDermott), Buffalo Bills
#5: John Lynch (and Kyle Shanahan), San Francisco 49ers
#6: Les Snead (and Sean McVay), Los Angeles Rams
#7: Brad Holmes, Detroit Lions
#8: Brian Gutekunst, Green Bay Packers
#9: John Schneider, Seattle Seahawks
#10: Jerry Jones, Dallas Cowboys
#11: Bill Belichick, New England Patriots
Patriots owner Robert Kraft sounds ready to hold Belichick to the same standard Belichick holds his players. The standard in New England over the last three years was average, the type of seasons we used to make fun of Jeff Fisher for.
(G.O.A.T. leaves, Belichick is average . . . who woulda thunk it?)
#14: Mickey Loomis, New Orleans Saints
The Saints entered the offseason more over the cap than any team, then proceeded to spend more money in free agency than nearly anyone else, including the acquisition of Derek Carr. And they still have plenty of cap space!
(I wish I could insert a rolling-eyes emoji.)
#25: George Paton, Denver Broncos
A year ago at this time, I wrote: “It’s easy to imagine Paton debuting on the rankings portion of this piece fairly high up a year from now.” Then we watched Russell Wilson play in Denver under Paton’s handpicked coach, Nathaniel Hackett, and suddenly that draft haul the Broncos gave up for Wilson looks like a killer. Paton’s second draft also got off to a slow start after a great 2021 haul, but this ranking is about the Wilson trade and Hackett hire. Sean Payton is essentially in charge now.
(Bolding mine, to emphasize the point that the RW3 trade was used in determining this year’s rankings - at least for George Paton.)
What say the 12’s?
Is John Schneider truly the 9th-best GM in the league right now?
If not, where would YOU rank him?