Lionel Hahn/Abaca Press/MCT
Head coach Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks, right, celebrates with General Manager John Schneider at the end of Super Bowl XLVIII on Feb. 2, 2014, at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.

Lionel Hahn/Abaca Press/MCT Head coach Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks, right, celebrates with General Manager John Schneider at the end of Super Bowl XLVIII on Feb. 2, 2014, at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.

Seahawks mailbag: Is there more pressure on John Schneider?

Plus an examination on how many Seattle draft picks played out their four-year rookie contracts.

  • Bob Condotta, The Seattle Times
  • Wednesday, May 29, 2024 4:00pm
  • SportsSeahawks

Do Seahawks draftees usually play out their four-year rookie contracts? Could John Schneider be under more pressure if this season goes awry?

Those are questions tackled in our latest Seahawks Twitter/X mailbag, with questions lightly edited for clarity.

Q: @Randeaux1 asked: “After the first two picks (of the 2024 draft), I wasn’t fond of JS’s (Schneider’s) picks. And I would have (for once) traded down to get more picks where JS didn’t. If this draft is a flop, does that put JS on the hot seat in 2025?

A: The trite, but true, answer is that everyone in the NFL is always on a hot seat — it just depends on the temperature. There’s a reason the league’s initials are often referred to as standing for Not For Long.

The spotlight is even brighter on Schneider after the dismissal of Pete Carroll in January and the promotion of Schneider to President of Football Operations, meaning he has final say over every football-related personnel move.

That responsibility previously belonged to Carroll, even if it was generally assumed that most personnel moves were Schneider’s.

Mike Macdonald getting a six-year contract means the new regime of Schneider assembling the team and Macdonald coaching it will get more than a year to prove its worth.

Schneider’s contract runs through the 2027 draft. Neither side is likely to want Schneider to get to the end of that contract without some sense of the future.

I think that means Schneider probably has at least the next two years to show the new era is heading in a good direction before any assessments are made.

Hovering over all of it is whether Jody Allen indeed decides to sell the team at some point over the next few years. There is no indication she will.

It’s worth remembering that a provision in the 1997 referendum that helped fund the construction of Lumen Field that required Allen to give 10% of the proceeds of any sale of the team to the state lapses this month.

That has led to conjecture that Allen could consider selling the team. Again, there’s been no rumblings anything is afoot on that front.

Any ownership change would surely result in a re-evaluation of everything within the organization.

As it is, Schneider’s tenure as general manager is one of the longest in the NFL. Only four GMs have been with their teams longer than Schneider, who arrived in 2010, one of whom is Dallas’ Jerry Jones, who owns the team.

Q: @rollo_tamasi asked: “In the Schneider era, how unusual is it for the Hawks to waive a draft pick before their four-year window is up? How many times has it happened? There seem to be injuries to draft classes every year that prevent them from playing & their futures become more immediately uncertain etc.”

A: If you consider all seven rounds of the draft, it’s not unusual at all for the Seahawks — or any team — to waive players from their draft classes before their slotted four-year rookie contracts expire.

Consider that there are roughly 256 draftees every year — give or take a few — and 1,696 players on initial 53-man rosters every year, and simple math shows there’s always a numbers game at hand.

As one example, 17 draft picks around the league didn’t make the initial 53-man rosters of the teams that picked them just last season — though all 10 Seahawks did.

As the question notes, injuries are often a key factor in why a player’s career ends earlier than hopes.

The influx of talent every year competing for jobs is the biggest.

As another example, of the 255 players drafted in 2020, 72 didn’t play in an NFL game last season — which would have been the final year of their four-year rookie deals — according to Pro Football Reference, or 28.2%.

The Seahawks were right in line with that as two of their eight 2020 draftees did not play in a game for any NFL team last season.

Five of the eight did play for the Seahawks and all significantly — linebacker Jordyn Brooks, edge Darrell Taylor, guard Damien Lewis, tight end Colby Parkinson and running back DeeJay Dallas.

Here’s a breakdown of how many Seahawks draftees played out their four-year rookie deals (or signed extensions after their third year to stay with the team) during the Schneider/Carroll era:

2023 — All nine remain on the roster.

2022 — Seven of nine remain on the roster (receiver Bo Melton is with Green Bay and linebacker Tyreke Smith with Arizona).

2021 — All three draftees remain on roster.

2020 — Five of eight played out rookie deals with the Seahawks. With Brooks (Miami), Lewis (Carolina), Parkinson (Rams) and Dallas (Arizona) signing elsewhere as free agents in March, only Taylor remains.

2019 — Six of 11 played out their rookie deals in Seattle and one remains — receiver DK Metcalf.

2018 — Four of nine made it all four years with the Seahawks. Among those who didn’t was edge rusher Jacob Martin, traded before his second year as part of the Jadeveon Clowney deal.

2017 — Five of 11 drafted played out their rookie deals in Seattle. One who didn’t was the first pick, Malik McDowell, released after suffering injuries in an ATV accident before he played a game with the Seahawks.

2016 — Only three of 10 played out their rookie deals with the Seahawks — OL Germain Ifedi, DL Jarran Reed and RB C.J. Prosise. A few others were significant contributors such as TE Nick Vannett (who was traded early in his fourth season); DL Quinton Jefferson, who was waived in his second year and signed by the Rams and returned; and RB Alex Collins, who was waived and signed elsewhere (Baltimore) and returned.

2015 — Only two of eight did — DE Frank Clark and WR Tyler Lockett.

2014 — Only two of nine did —WR Paul Richardson and OL Justin Britt.

2013 — Only one of 11 did — fifth-round tight end Luke Willson.

2012 — In one of the best drafts in team and NFL history, five of 10 draftees played out their rookie deals in Seattle, including the top three of LB Bruce Irvin, QB Russell Wilson and LB Bobby Wagner. Only two of the other seven played out their rookie deals (CB Jeremy Lane and OL J.R. Sweezy).

2011 — In another of the drafts that helped build the Super Bowl winner, five of nine picks played out their rookie deals — OL James Carpenter, LB K.J. Wright, CB Richard Sherman, CB Byron Maxwell and LB Malcolm Smith.

2010 — In the first of the three Super Bowl-building drafts, six of nine players played out their rookie deals — OL Russell Okung, S Earl Thomas, WR Golden Tate, CB Walter Thurmond, S Kam Chancellor and TE Anthony McCoy.

It’s no secret how good the 2010-12 drafts were, and not only were at least three or four likely future Hall of Famers selected, but there was also good depth, as 16 of 28 played at least four years.

The 2013-16 drafts dipped, in part because of the Seahawks having later selections in the drafts and in 2013 and 2015 trading their first-round pick.

But the 2017-20 drafts had a decent percentage of players making it at least four years — 28 of 39.

I don’t have data for the entire league for all those seasons, but I would imagine the Seahawks’ percentages of draftees playing out their rookie deals are pretty typical, if not in the upper half in the good years.

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