John Schneider knows…put that on a T-Shirt, Nike! John Schneider, General Manager of the Seattle Seahawks, knows how to build a championship franchise.
It all began in 2010 when he took over and the team he inherited was 5-11. One of his first moves was bringing in Pete Carroll as head coach. Schneider knew, that by allowing the control Carroll had at USC, his team would be successful. During stints with the Jets and Patriots that was one thing that Carroll lacked; control of the team and decision making. Together, Schneider and Carroll began to make waves with their draft picks, especially after drafting quarterback Russell Wilson in 2012. After back to back 7-9 seasons the Seahawks won 13 games in 2013 on their way to their first Super Bowl win in franchise history.
It was clear that, in two short years, Carroll and Wilson had created a bond few players and coaches ever have. It was obvious that their defense was spectacular in 2013, ranked #1 and debated as being among the greatest of all time. We all witnessed the greatness that was the Seattle Seahawks during their dominating Super Bowl victory and the scary thought is that the window of opportunity is wide open as this group of young men has yet to reach their potential. The best part about it all is that John Schneider knows this too. This off season Schneider has done exactly what he needed to do as the question shifts from can he engineer a championship team to can be build a dynasty?
In regards to building his dynasty Schneider said, “You start at the top.” That meant locking Pete Carroll into an extended contract. Schneider who also feels as if Carroll will go down as one of the greatest coaches ever, extended his contract for another three years. The deal, worth approximately $7 million per year puts the 62 year old among the highest paid coaches in the league. Well deserved as he is only the third coach in NFL history to win both a NCAA and Super Bowl championship. Schneider knew he needed to retain the coach who helped transform his team but he also knew he needed to take care of his young talent as well.
Schneider knows he needs to keep his young team together, happy and playing at a high level. What’s the best way to keep NFL players happy; contract extensions and big pay days. With front loaded contract extensions, like those handed to Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman, John Schneider is locking his best talent up through their prime years. 25 year old free safety Earl Thomas signed a four year extension worth $40 million that will keep him in Seattle until age 29. The best corner in the game’, 26 year old Richard Sherman also signed a four year extension worth $57 million as he was in the last year of his contract. Now the only thing Schneider is tasked with is restructuring Russell Wilson’s deal at the end of this upcoming season which is expected to range from $17-$20 million. With contract extensions out of the way for now the tandem of Carroll and Schneider, along with draft consultant Jeff Ireland, can focus on the May 8th draft and developing their young talent.
Schneider also knows it won’t be easy for his team in 2014. They may be ranked 6th as far as schedule strength but it’s loaded full of playoff and 10 win teams from 2013. An early bye week also means 13 consecutive games for the Seahawks come October. All but two teams on their 2014 schedule were above .500 last year so their schedule may be tougher than it appears. It’s a safe call, though, that Schneider and his team knows that this season will be much more difficult than the last. This season they are Super Bowl champs, meaning everyone will be gunning for them and giving them their best shot. After proclamations of having the best free safety and corner in the league there will undoubtedly be pressure to live up to those remarks. Schneider knows the margin of error is slim to none this season as his players and coaches will need to live up to their hefty contract extensions.