Seahawks general manager John Schneider was on 710 ESPN Seattle for 25 minutes Tuesday morning and had plenty of interesting stuff to say on Marshawn Lynch’s future with the team, Russell Wilson’s possible contract extension and more.
In regards to Lynch, with whom the Seahawks have already been talking about a contract extension — Lynch’s current deal expires after the 2015 season, when he is due $7 million — Schneider said they want to keep Lynch around, but acknowledged that retirement could be an option for Lynch.
“Regarding Marshawn, obviously we think he’s a hell of player, we want to have him back,” Schneider said. “He knows that, his representatives know that. He knows that if he’s back, he’s not going to be playing at the same number he’s scheduled to make. He’s a guy that is a heartbeat guy that we’d love to have back. Now whether or not he wants to play next year, I can’t answer that. I don’t know if he knows at this juncture.
“It’s hard for these guys, it’s a long season. We’ve played a lot of football these last two years, and especially the way this guy runs the ball — it’s taxing on his body. So he has to reset himself and get in that mind-frame of, OK, I’m ready to get moving here again and get prepared for another season of this. Obviously we’d like to a have a decision as quickly as we could so we can move forward, but we’d love to have him back.”
Schneider brought up last year’s training camp holdout, saying they weren’t unwilling to give Lynch a big new deal last year — Lynch did get a small raise out of his holdout — not because they didn’t think highly of him, but rather because they didn’t want to set that precedent by redoing a player’s deal with two years still left on it.
“The thing everyone needs to know in regard to Marshawn with last year, he was in the middle of a four-year contract — two years,” Schneider said. “That was just all about precedent. It wasn’t at all about whether we thought he was the No. 1 back or the No. 4 back or the No. 7 back when you’re negotiating contracts. It didn’t have anything to do with that; it just had to do with precedent. If we re-did a contract for Marshawn, everybody would be standing outside my office looking for a new contract whenever they wanted in their deals. He knows that, but he also knows he’s a huge part of what we’re doing. He’s just extremely important to what we have going on here.”
Schneider also had some interesting comments on Wilson, who is expected to sign a lucrative extension this offseason, the first year he can do so under the league’s collective bargaining agreement. Schneider made it clear the Seahawks and Wilson are looking at some outside-the-box ways to pay the young quarterback while still being competitive on the field.
“First and foremost, there’s really no handbook for this job that we have, other than the fact that we’re going to do what’s best for the organization; that’s the No. 1 thing,” Schneider said. “I think Russell Wilson wants to win championships — we talk about being a consistent championship-caliber football team — and that means thinking outside the box a lot of times. We will do that with Russell. Russell knows there are certain dominoes that have to fall in place. I’ve talked to his agent now, much like several of our unrestricted free agents, and he knows, he gets it, he wants to win, he wants to win for a long time. I’m not going to get into the specifics of contract negations other than to say that we’re going to do what’s best for this organization moving forward first and foremost, and that does not mean that you just do exactly what everybody else has done around the league. I think we’ve proven that we do things in the manner we want to attack it.”
A few other notes:
—Schneider said this time of year is “everything,” in his job. “We are jammin’. We started our process for free agency about two months ago. We started our draft meetings down in Phoenix. We’re just right in the thick of it.”
But he also conceded that he, “Like everybody else, I’m kind of licking the wounds a little bit, trying to move forward.”
“I feel bad for so many people, the gravity of it. I feel bad for Kevin Williams not being able to win that world championship, the way he felt right after the game, the reason he came with us and joined this team. I feel bad for Russell throwing the pick right there, I feel bad for Marshawn not having the chance to win the game. Doug Baldwin, he beats (Darrelle) Revis a couple of times, and for one reason or another isn’t able to get the ball. There are just so many people… and then it comes back to walking outside the locker room and seeing your son bawling his eyes out.”
Schneider said last year’s post-Super Bowl parade only made for more pressure when he realized just how much the team means to the region: “Seeing all those fans out there last year really kind of put that weight on my chest like, ‘OK, there really are a lot of fans out there, and they really truly care so much about this.’ It’s not just the people in that stadium, it reaches the whole Pacific Northwest here.”
—Schneider said that every week during the season, he goes over the game with owner Paul Allen to evaluate every player. “Everybody is focused on this last play, and my job is to step back and analyze this whole game.”
Schneider noted the offense’s slow start, Jeremy Lane’s injury, and missed tackles as key issues he and Allen went over. Schneider said the Seahawks missed 11 tackles, leading to 196 yards after catch, the most Seattle allowed this season.
—On this year’s draft: “This draft looks like it’s going to be pretty cool… It’s pretty spread out, it looks like it’s got some good balance to it.”
—On needs in the draft and free agency: “We never go into this thing saying, ‘we have to have this, we have to have that.’ That’s when you get in trouble in terms of over-paying, whether it’s salary or compensation. We have to learn from previous lessons.”
—On the Percy Harvin trade, Schneider said “Things just didn’t go well from the get-go,” noting the hip injury. He added, “Once we got into the preseason, there were a number of different things that I can’t get into that kind of just made it evident that, for one reason or another, it was not going to be a good fit for him.”