The most entertaining quote of the news conference Monday also was the most illuminating.
About 10 minutes into a Q&A with Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider, a reporter asked if it was feasible for the Seahawks to keep defensive linemen Frank Clark and Jarran Reed along with linebacker Bobby Wagner long-term.
Answered Schneider: “Feasible, very challenging. Were you in my bedroom last night when I woke up in the middle of the night? No, I think about it all the time.”
Then Carroll chimed in.
“I hope that doesn’t happen,” he said. “That’d be weird.”
I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that no Seattle media member has been inside Schneider’s sleeping quarters. And in an earlier version of this column, I also went out on a limb and guessed that, when the season starts, Clark would be the one without a long-term deal in Seattle. On Tuesday, the Seahawks traded Clark to the Kansas City Chiefs for a package of draft picks.
After Russell Wilson signed his $140 million contract extension last week, the ability to keep the increasingly-expensive Clark became instantly difficult.
Earlier in the month, the Cowboys signed defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence to a five-year, $105 million deal. Clark tweeted out two dancing emojis to celebrate, figuring that many teams think he’s at least as good as Lawrence.
But whether the Seahawks thought he was worth that kind of investment when other needs abound was the real question. Or as Schneider might put it, the real challenge.
Here are some reasons it made sense to deal Clark:
1) Quality pass-rushers are second only to quarterbacks when it comes to salary. Bobby Wagner might be the best linebacker in the league, but his next contract won’t rival any of the top guys who are paid to pressure QBs.
As Carroll said of defensive ends Monday “(It’s) the hardest, most unique player to find — big, fast, agile, athletic like a DB. It’s why people reach so far to find those guys.”
2) If mock drafts are any indication, this week’s NFL draft is stacked with pass-rushers. It’s no secret that Carroll and Schneider feel strongly about their evaluation abilities, and might think they can find someone who develops into a Clark-quality defensive end in a couple years.
3) The Seahawks had only four picks entering Tuesday. Clark was their best means to acquire more, including another first-rounder.
4) Reed had 10.5 sacks last year, just 2.5 fewer than Clark. It was a breakout season for the third-year player who had only three sacks over his first two seasons. Clark is the better player, but the QB pressure didn’t disappear once Clark was traded. And Reed is cheaper.
5) There is no conceivable way the Seahawks would let Wagner get away given his talent and history with the franchise.
Schneider said Monday that keeping the aforementioned trio would have been feasible but challenging. With Clark, though, it was more like feasible but farfetched.