The Seattle Seahawks have denied the Green Bay Packers permission to interview general manager John Schneider. But there are other ways to make the obvious connection work.
Update: ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports the Packers have turned to their director of player personnel, Brian Guntekast, as their next GM. Read more.
The Green Bay Packers want to interview Seahawks general manager John Schneider for their GM vacancy, but Seattle has denied permission, according to a league source, confirming other reports Saturday from the NFL Network and ESPN.
The NFL Network was the first to report the news that the Packers have Schneider at the top of their GM wish list while ESPN also reported that the Seahawks denied permission to talk to Schneider, whom ESPN said would be interested in the job.
Schneider was an obvious target for the Packers to replace the departed Ted Thompson since he grew up in nearby De Pere, Wis. — about six miles from Lambeau Field — and worked in the Green Bay front office from 1993-96 and again from 2002-10.
NFL rules allow organizations to deny permission to employees to interview for what are considered lateral moves.
So does that mean Schneider is sure to run the Seahawks through the end of his current contract, which goes through 2021?
Maybe not completely as the two sides could work out a trade, as Tampa Bay and Oakland famously did in 2002 allowing Jon Gruden to leave the Raiders to become the coach of the Bucs — Oakland got two first-round picks and two second-round picks and a reported $8 million in cash. Or even as the Seahawks and Green Bay did in 1999 when Seattle had to send a second-round pick to the Packers as compensation when Mike Holmgren left Green Bay to come to Seattle as executive vice president, general manager and coach.
ESPN reported that could be a possibility, stating that “Schneider would be the preferred choice of many in the organization, including some already in the scouting department, and coach Mike McCarthy” while also noting it is “unclear” if the Packers would be willing to actually make a trade for a GM (Schneider and McCarthy are close enough that it was Schneider who set up McCarthy on a date with McCarthy’s wife).
ESPN also reported that the Packers could try to argue that Schneider would be getting a promotion since he would have full control of personnel.
Schneider is generally considered to share control of the roster in Seattle with Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, having essentially been hired by Carroll to run the personnel side of things after Carroll was hired in 2010 — Schneider was hired on Jan. 19, 2010, eight days after Carroll, and has the title executive vice president/general manager (he added he executive vice president title in 2013). Carroll has the title executive vice president football operations/head coach (it’s sometimes been characterized that Schneider has control of the 90-man offseason/training camp roster and Carroll final say on the 53-man regular season roster).
The Seahawks describe Schneider’s role this way in his bio on the team’s website and media guide: “In his role, he manages all aspects of the Seahawks roster and draft process while working collaboratively with Pete Carroll in all facets of the football operations department. Schneider begins his 25th season working in the professional ranks.”
ESPN reported that the GM in Green Bay would have “full authority over all football decisions, including the draft, free agency and hiring and firing of the coach.”
As Pro Football Talk has stated, though, the rules on teams’ ability to block front-office employees from interviewing for other jobs are “murky” and it’s unclear what the Packers would do if they wanted to contest Seattle’s blocking of Schneider, though the Packers could conceivably file a grievance with the NFL.
Green Bay’s general manager job became open on Monday when Thompson was let go after having run the team since 2004.
ESPN reported that Schneider would be open to talking to Green Bay stating “multiple sources told ESPN that Schneider would be very interested in running his hometown team.”
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Schneider has often talked of growing up as a Green Bay fan, famously getting his foot in the door of the NFL by calling Green Bay general manager Ron Wolf out of the blue while a junior in college and saying he was willing to work for free.
“That’s how it started,” Schneider said in 2016.
Schneider served as a pro personnel assistant for the Packers from 1993-96 and then after stints with the Chiefs, Seahawks and Washington was named as Green Bay’s personnel analyst to the general manager in 2002 and then director of football operations in 2008.
Schneider and Carroll have worked in relative lockstep in lifting the Seahawks to the greatest run of success in Seattle history, including a Super Bowl title following the 2013 season.
It was reported that Schneider had a clause in an earlier Seattle contract that included an out if he wanted to return to Green Bay.
When Schneider signed a new contract with Seattle in the summer of 2016 that takes him through the 2021 season and reportedly pays him $4 million a year, Schneider said it did not include an out clause.
“No,” he said. “There’s been lots of whispers about a lot of things. It’s a small league and I’m from a small home town, so …”
Schneider, who turned 46 on May 25, has not said anything publicly since the news of Thompson’s departure broke on Monday. But Schneider also rarely talks to the media other than at functions such as the NFL Combine or the draft.
Carroll said on Tuesday he expected Schneider to stay in Seattle.
Asked if he was convinced Schneider would continue with the Seahawks Carroll said: “Yeah, I am. As a matter of fact, I am. I’m convinced of that. I think he is going to be here, so I’m counting on that.”
ESPN reported that the Packers also requested permission to interview Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie, but McKenzie declined the request. McKenzie also formerly worked for the Packers. And ESPN and others have reported that the Packers are also expected to consider in-house candidates Russ Ball, Brian Gutekunst and Eliot Wolf. ESPN also noted the Packers also plan to interview former Bills GM Doug Whaley.