Lessons from the Seattle Seahawks' rapid turnaround
Trading a future Hall of Fame quarterback parted the seas. Thanks to guts and good old-fashioned scouting, John Schneider's master plan has the Seahawks sitting pretty in 2023. (Take note, all.)
At the podium, the three most important men in the Seattle Seahawks organization stood in brief, perceived harmony.
Pete Carroll at the mic, smiling. Russell Wilson with an arm around the head coach, interview-bombing. John Schneider sliding in with a peace sign. The intent was obvious: Make sure everybody in Seattle and beyond knew they were all in lock-step ahead of the 2021 season. Nothing to see here! (Go Hawks!)
The truth wasn’t so magical. Wilson previously leaked a personal wish list of destinations: Chicago, Las Vegas or Dallas. And in private, the Seahawks faced a full-fledged identity crisis. They were far closer to trading Wilson to the Chicago Bears than anyone realized. Chicago was willing to part with anything shy of Khalil Mack. One source familiar with the trade negotiations told us that Schneider was growing tired of Wilson in the building. The GM was ready to move on. Carroll, on the other hand, couldn’t pull the trigger.
Fear won out. Fear of rebuilding at the age of 70 and fear of being The Coach Who Traded Russell Wilson. After all, the quarterback was fresh off a 40-touchdown season.
So, Wilson stayed one more season.
The Seahawks went 7-10. Another offseason decision beckoned.
The Denver Broncos were unable to reel in their prized possession — Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers — so Schneider and Carroll, this time, pounced. Seattle dealt the face of its franchise to Denver for a treasure trove of picks.
Turns out, Life After Russell wasn’t dreary at all. On the contrary, Seattle made the playoffs in Year 1 and can now dream of something greater in Year 2. No shameless teardown with a sham head coach overseeing a sham roster was needed to recalibrate. The Seahawks didn’t turn to David Culley as a sacrificial lamb. Nor did the Seahawks need to overthink a rebuild with some mathematical wiz of a hire in the front office.
In two years, Seattle completely flipped its roster because of two simple, old-school qualities.
Stones and scouting.