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John Schneider & Seahawks Player Personnel Department 'Going To Work With Our Coaches' To Make Roster Decisions

With a coaching staff now in place, the Seahawks can begin the process of assessing their roster and making decisions about free agency and other upcoming moves.

Seattle Seahawks general manager John Schneider speaks during a press conference on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024 in Indianapolis. (Brooke Sutton/NFL)
Seattle Seahawks general manager John Schneider speaks during a press conference on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024 in Indianapolis. (Brooke Sutton/NFL)

INDIANAPOLIS—For more than a decade, John Schneider and Pete Carroll would hit the ground running in the offseason, feeling like they were in lockstep when it came to making roster decisions.

But now with Mike Macdonald taking over as the head coach of the Seahawks, and with Macdonald's coaching staff only taking shape last week, there is a lot of catching up to do for Schneider and the player personnel department and Macdonald and the coaching staff.

NFL rosters are constantly changing, especially this time of year with free agency coming up in March, followed by April's draft, and when it comes to discussing the Seahawks' plans for the roster, Schneider didn't provide a lot of specific updates during his time with the media Tuesday at the NFL Scouting Combine, not because he's intentionally trying to be vague, but because the timing of hiring a new coaching staff has put the Seahawks behind in the process of evaluating the roster.

Schneider and company can meet with agents of Seattle's pending free agents this week in Indianapolis to begin to get a landscape of where things stand in negotiations, but there also still needs to be conversations with the coaching staff to get a better feel for what that group is looking for when it comes to players who fit a new scheme and coaching staff. 

"We've got a cool group of guys that we want to get all of them back," Schneider said of the pending free agents. "You find out when you're down here like 'OK, who do you have a chance to get back?' You have to try to prioritize it and then work with the staff and see if it makes sense for those guys as well. Because you don't want to be just pushing players on a staff, especially a first time out with a new staff. The previous staff, those guys, we were in a flow. They knew exactly how free agency worked. So we're going to work with our coaches and figure that out.''

As Schneider explained, coaches and the player personnel staff will meet next week to begin getting a better feel for the roster so decisions can be made on free agents or on, as are inevitable throughout the NFL every offseason, moves made to create more salary cap flexibility.

"It's sitting down with all those guys next week," Schneider said. "That's what I was trying to let everybody know, we are going to be doing it with agents this week as well like, hey we are going to try to figure out together, what is your vision we are trying to mix those things together.

"We literally are just getting done hiring guys, so you think about all of us sitting in a room together, we are all getting to know each other, 'What's important to you, what's important to all these different people?' So Mike and I, when we got together, we had a vision of where we want to take this thing, but you've got to get into the specifics of the positions, too, and understand what is important to those guys in order to get the buy-in with the staff.''

As for a couple of Seattle's highest-profile free agents, defensive lineman Leonard Williams and linebacker Jordyn Brooks, Schneider said the hope is to get something done with both players.

"Obviously Leonard, giving up a second-round pick, Jordyn was a first round pick, we didn't pick up the option last year—he struggled, tried to fight his ass off with the injuries and everything—but those guys, they are all a priority," Schneider said. "With Leonard when you look at it like 'OK, you gave up a second-round pick for him,' kind of like with Jamal (Adams) a couple years ago, you've given up the compensation (so) you want to try to get a contract done.''

Schneider was also asked about the decision to convert Geno Smith's roster bonus to a signing bonus last week, a move that freed up some cap space for 2024, and said people shouldn't read too much into the significance of that move.

"Just to create cap room, just a trigger we put in the majority of our contracts, and you can turn a roster bonus into a signing bonus and pro-rate the singing bonus over the rest of the years," Schneider said. "It ended up being $4.8 million something like that.

"Honestly, other people made a bigger deal out of that than we did in the building. It was like 'Is he going to be here, is he not going to be here?' It was not. He was going to be here. It was a matter of, when are we going to tell him we are doing this with his roster bonus?"

As for Smith's status as the team's starter, Schneider said, "he's the starter until he's not," adding that, like everything else related to the roster, there is still a lot to discuss with the coaching staff.

"Our coaches aren't down here with us, so what we're basically doing is, we have a vision, we have a plan for what we're doing," Schneider said. "Next week when we get back in the office after kind of learning the landscape down here, talking to all the agents, all the other teams, what we're going to learn throughout the week, kind of coming around the corner next week, getting back with those guys with a new staff, with Mike's staff in place and then getting our alignment, and really asking for patience from all our players, all the guys that are free agents, and are still on the team looking to just talk to their position coach. I'm sure those guys are doing that this week, and I know some guys already reached out."

Before they were selected by the Seattle Seahawks in the NFL Draft, they were hopeful prospects at the NFL Scouting Combine. Take a look at current and former Seahawks players participating in their Combine events.

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