At an event for his charity, Ben's Fund, Schneider said he was assured Earl Thomas wouldn't hold out. It was also the first time he was asked about the Colin Kaepernick situation.
Seahawks general manager John Schneider didn’t exactly guarantee Earl Thomas will still be a member of the team when the regular season begins in September.
But during an interview Thursday night prior to a dinner to raise money for his charity, Ben’s Fund, Schneider said he has been assured that Thomas will not hold out next season even if he doesn’t have a new contract.
And if the team is confident Thomas will not hold out then it may have less reason to pursue a trade for the eight-year veteran free safety.
The fate of Thomas remains he biggest question hovering over the Seahawks with the NFL draft nearing next week, with rumors that Seattle could consider trading him, and specifically to Dallas, if it thinks a new contract cannot be worked out. Thomas is entering the final year of a four-year, $40 million deal and hinted in an interview with ESPN in January he might hold out if he does not have a new deal.
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But asked if he has any reason to believe Thomas would hold out, Schneider said Thursday “No, I don’t. I don’t. He has not said he would hold out. His representatives told me that.’’
Schneider was a little more vague on if Thomas will indeed remain with the team in 2018.
Asked if Thomas will be on the team when the season begins, Schneider said “he is right now. He’s on our roster,’’ and responded to a follow-up about whether he will be on the roster in September that “I hope so. I hope he is. He’s under contract.’’
Schneider reiterated that he has not talked with Thomas’ representatives about a contract since the NFL Combine in late February/early March and that “they know where we are at’’ in terms of Seattle’s offer.
But Schneider also said it’s not unusual to have not talked to Thomas’ reps about a deal since then saying that the talks at the Combine laid out what each side is thinking and that “nothing has changed since then.’’
Thursday’s event raises money for Schneider’s charity, which provides “grant opportunities to families across Washington state who need financial assistance with requests related specifically to their child’s and young adult’s autism spectrum disorder treatments.’’
Many players attended to serve as celebrity waiters including quarterback Russell Wilson.
Another who attended was safety Bradley McDougald, who said that his plan is to play at strong safety alongside Thomas at free safety.
“Strong safety is definitely what they have me slotted as,’’ said McDougald, who the team re-signed to a three-year, $13.95 million deal before free agency began. “But last season I showed that I can do both, so if something happens to Earl or who have you I wouldn’t mind stepping back. I feel like I’ m a pretty versatile player to play free and strong.’’
McDougald, though, said he anticipated playing alongside Thomas in the secondary next season.
“As far as I know, yeah, Earl is going to be (there),’’ McDougald said. “It’s going to be BM30 and ET29”
Here are other highlights of Schneider’s interview:
— No comment on if Seahawks asked Kaepernick about kneeling: The interview was the first time Schneider has talked to the media since a report that the Seahawks postponed a visit by free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick when he wouldn’t say whether he would continue to kneel for the national anthem.
Asked pointblank if Seattle asked Kaepernick about kneeling, Schneider said he couldn’t comment on what the team asks free agents during the interview process.
“That’s what I can’t get into,’’ he said. “That’s stuff that, not just Colin but anybody we are bringing in, whether it’s a free agent workout we are talking about… so obviously it’s pretty controversial, I understand that. But anyone we would bring in there are a number of things we go through, tons of different categories in the background before we bring guys in.’’
As for pursuing Kaepernick for a second straight year as a potential backup QB to Wilson, Schneider said “we are in everything and we never close the door. We wouldn’t be doing our jobs if we closed the door on things and didn’t keep an open mind on everything.’’
— Nothing definitive yet on McDowell: Asked about a report that surfaced this week that the team is close to waiving second-year defensive lineman Malik McDowell since he will not be able to pass a physical due to head injuries suffered last July in an ATV accident, Schneider said nothing had yet been decided.
“Yeah that’s ongoing,’’ Schneider said. “We are still waiting on some guidance on that. But Malik was involved in a terrible accident and it’s an unfortunate thing.’’
— Chancellor, Avril still in a holding pattern: While rumblings persist that the careers for safety Kam Chancellor and defensive end Cliff Avril may be over due to neck/stinger issues suffered last season, Schneider said things remain in limbo.
“I feel bad, I feel like I’m answering the same question,’’ Schneider said. “But it’s just
a matter of time with those guys with future scans and we are going to do what’s best by those guys for sure, what’s best for the organization and what is best for both of those guys individually.’’
— Schneider says doing due diligence to attend Allen’s Pro Day: While his visit to scout the Pro Day for Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen — projected as a high first-round pick — made news when it was revealed Wilson’s camp called and wanted to know if it meant anything for his future, Schneider said he was just doing his job.
Schneider, who had several stints in the Green Bay organization before taking over as GM of the Seahawks in 2010, noted that the Packers were known for stocking up on quarterbacks even when they had an established starter, and also said he attended Allen’s Pro Day because he wasn’t able to see Allen in person during the season.
“It’s not out of the ordinary,’’ Schneider said. “The two most important people in the building are the head coach and the quarterback. And I was raised, I was really blessed to start with Ron Wolf and he was the general manager in Green Bay for 10, 11 years and he traded for Brett Favre right when we got there and he acquired Matt Hasselbeck, Mark Brunell, Ty Detmer, Aaron Brooks. But I don’t feel like we have done, me personally have done a good enough job of continuing to acquire quarterbacks all the way through.
“It’s a little more difficult now because we don’t have NFL Europe (which dissolved in 2007) so we can’t be placing these guys like Kurt Warner, Brad Johnson, a whole bunch of guys being able to go play and developing guys. We need to do a better job of developing quarterbacks, period. So the reason I went is because I was supposed to see him play live in San Jose and he was injured, we were playing San Francisco the next day (last Nov. 26) and he didn’t play so I had to go see him. That’s it.
“Because I was in Green Bay when Aaron Rodgers fell (in the 2005 draft), right? So Aaron Rodgers was supposed to be the first pick in the draft and we weren’t necessarily as prepared as we should have been for him to fall so when you get to draft day you want to b,e you want to just make decisions like gameday decisions, like you are totally prepared. So quite frankly when we acquired Aaron that day (with the 24th pick) we had to make some more calls during the draft, which you never really want to do right? — are we rising, falling. So you never know what is going to happen.’’