While having to the cut roster is a tough part of the job for Seahawks general manager John Schneider, this week also allows the team to scour the rest of the NFL for new players who are suddenly available.
Seahawks general manager John Schneider is frank when describing the task of having to cut the roster from 90 to 53 players over the next five days.
“This time of year is just — it just sucks, man,’’ Schneider said. “Because you are preaching competition and these guys (the players) are like every day working their tails off — blood, sweat, tears, fights. And then we are letting 15 guys go (to get to the 75-player limit by Tuesday) and then we go turn right around and go down to 53 (by Saturday).’’
The job of telling those players they no longer are Seahawks is as difficult as anything Schneider does, and one he says remains as arduous today as when he came to Seattle in 2010.
“I mean especially, for a guy like me who never, ever sniffed the National Football League (to have to tell players they are released),’’ said Schneider, 45, whose playing career maxed out at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn. “I know what my job is. But to tell somebody that they are going to have to move on. … You are affecting people’s lives. I get it that this is entertainment and we are in the entertainment industry. But it doesn’t make it any easier.’’
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Schneider, though, also has a name for this time of year — Opportunity Weekend.
That’s because part of Schneider’s job is to scour the lists of other teams’ players who are released this week — or might be available via trade — to judge if any can help the Seahawks.
With every NFL team making cuts this week, more than 1,000 players will be available.
“It’s another opportunity of acquisition for us, so we are going to treat it kind of like another draft process,’’ Schneider said. “ … We kind of get set up with our map — how do these guys compare to the players that we have?’’
The Seahawks also have made a slight shift in how they are approaching this weekend this year.
In the past they have had their college scouts with the team during the first week or so of training camp before taking to the road to begin making evaluations of players for next year’s draft, and beyond.
This year, Schneider said the college scouts are with the team this week to assess players who become available. It also gives the scouts a better understanding of the Seahawks roster.
Schneider says it’s particularly important for the scouts to have the best understanding possible of their roster because “we grade (players) for our team and not for the league.”
That means the Seahawks might value some players differently based on how they would fit with them.
Having the college scouts be part of the final-roster process, Schneider said, gives them more eyes to evaluate players who become available this week.
“Usually there is like the pro scouts and then a couple of our (personnel) directors that are in house that will stay up super late reviewing everybody that got released and how we project them and everything,’’ Schneider said. “Whether we put (waiver) claims on (released players) or work them out or if they are practice-squad players — how do we rank them? Kind of just making a huge map for the first half of the season. But now we are bringing in all the scouts so we are all going to be in — not just the pro scouts and a couple of directors — so they will feel much more a part of the process.
“They’ll have some buy-in and some input, and they have a better feel for what our team looks like right at the end before they go back out to the colleges to be grading guys and looking at guys.”
And Schneider makes it clear that saying hello to new players is a lot more fun than saying goodbye to old ones.