Seattle Seahawks general manager John Schneider talked about the ongoing talks with soon-to-be free agent running back Marshawn Lynch here at the NFL Scouting Combine this afternoon.
Schneider said there’s no deal yet, but the two sides are having productive talks, with the hope that something will get done in the next, two weeks.
“We’re having great discussions,” Schneider said. “And I’m actually meeting again with his guy tonight.
“We’ve had great discussions since probably two or three weeks left in the season. So there’s no animosity at all. It’s good dialogue. No fist fights.”
However, Schneider didn’t mince words when asked if the Seahawks were willing to franchise Lynch of the two sides can’t come to an agreement before a March 5th deadline.
“Sure,” Schneider said.
Schneider said the Seahawks are in a similar situation with other free agents like Red Bryant, Michael Robinson, David Hawthorne and John Carlson, as agent makes the rounds here in Indianapolis in attempt to determine their clients’ market value before accepting a deal.
“We’ve changed a little bit since we got here,” Schneider said. “We’re getting to the point where we feel strongly now about our own guys. We’d like to take care of those guys first. And then obviously if there’s a huge gap or a huge hole that we need to fill in free agency, we’re going to attack it, or at least explore it. But we’d really like to try and hang on to our own guys first.”
For fans wanting the Seahawks to chase Matt Flynn or Peyton Manning in free agency, Schneider again struck a cautionary note when talking about potentially upgrading the quarterback spot.
“I’m talking about giving up draft choices to go get somebody, or guaranteeing somebody a ton of money that you’re not quite sure is the guy that’s going to get you over the hump,” Schneider said. “If you do that, then you can set the organization back.
“It happened to us at Green Bay at a different position. We got in a situation where we got jammed up, then you overdraft at one position and you overpay at the same position – it can really Jack you up.”
Schneider went on to say the Seahawks will continue to evaluate what’s out there on the free agent market versus players currently on the roster.
“We’re always looking to upgrade that position,” Schneider said. “We’re really excited about Josh Portis. He had a phenomenal preseason, and made a lot of progress throughout the year as well. He’s working his tail off trying to prepare as much as he can on his own, and as soon as he can get with the coaches that will be a great thing for him.
“But it’s an interesting group. We’ll have to evaluate Charlie’s situation in free agency, and compare Charlie to the rest of the free agent, and players we may trade for or anybody who can be cap casualties. So we’re kind of on top of that right now.”
And ultimately whoever Seattle lands on, they will be competing for the starting job with Tarvaris Jackson.
Schneider said overall he was pleased with Jackson’s performance in his first year with the team.
“In terms of how he played, I thought he did a great job, especially with that offensive line,” Schneider said about Jackson. “And it kind of came to fruition the way we thought it would in terms of the offseason and having Darrell Bevell there.
“He came in. He knew the offense and could step right into the huddle the first day. And quite frankly he’s such a tough guy, such a strong guy, he could hang in there and take those shots. And he did it.
“He played with a torn pec, so I’m sure there’s a lot of throw that he wishes he could have kind of step into a little better and that kind of thing. But I thought he did a real nice job for us.”
In terms of potential quarterbacks in the draft, Schneider said there’s a lot of different options available.
“I think it’s a very unique draft class, from Brock Osweiler all the way down to Russell Wilson. You’ve go a 6-8 guy and a 5-10 ½ guy. You’ve got Kellen Moore, who’s just a phenomenal field general. You’ve got (Ryan) Tannehill. It’s a very unique class. There aren’t standard molds for each guy. Every guy has this different niche to him – Kirk Cousins, and like I said Tannehill, and RG III – I think it’s a pretty cool class.
But one thing is certain – Schneider is not looking for a quarterback drone that’s been training to play the position since he’s 6-year-old; he’s looking for a tough, hard-nosed football player that can command a team at that position.
“Guys that have always been in like the quarterback schools and the special camps and all that stuff, they make me a little nervous to a certain extent,” Schneider said.
Asked to expand on that, Schneider had this to say: “At the quarterback position I think you’ve got to have a tough-minded individual. A guy that maybe has played some defense and knocked the crap out of a receiver himself, or something. Just a guy that’s an all-around football player.”
On the injury front, Schneider provided updates on Sidney Rice, James Carpenter and Jackson.
Schneider confirmed an earlier report that Rice did in fact have surgery on both shoulders to repair torn labrums.
“He’ll be rebounding the whole offseason,” Schneider said. “But from a timetable standpoint I think if we can get him up and running for camp, that’s the most important thing for him.
“This is finally the first time where he’ll be going into camp healthy.”
Schneider said this is Carpenter’s first significant injury in his football playing career, and that the Alabama product is off crutches and can get around on his own.
Schneider said the team was concerned about losing Breno Giacomini in free agency, but signing him to a two-deal gives Seattle someone to plug in at right tackle, and also allows them to move James Carpenter to left guard once he’s healthy.
“It’s an option for us, depending on what happens in the draft or free agency,” Schneider said.
Schneider also said that Jackson managed to avoid having surgery to repair his torn pectoral muscle.