The shadow of FS Earl Thomas on the Seahawks off-season has passed. Pete Carroll and John Schneider won’t have to explain awkwardly how questionable personnel moves in 2017 forced them into trading a likely Hall of Fame player for a draft choice that wasn’t even a first-rounder.
Thomas will be a Seahawk in 2018. Whether he gets a contract extension to stay beyond that is a can that was kicked down the road Friday when the Seahawks had no trade offers worthy of the six-time Pro Bowler.
Carroll and Schneider worked up looks of incredulity when the Thomas questions came after the draft finished three rounds Friday night.
“We counted on him being here the whole time,” Carroll said, in his best Eddie Haskell voice. “That’s a lot of speculation on your guys’ end of things.
“It’s good to have an all-pro guy here — awesome.”
In a momentary attack of conscience, Schneider owned up to the fact that he answered questions about trading Thomas at the scouting combine in February. Thomas himself started the speculation about his future after the Seahawks beat the Cowboys in December, when the Texas native chased down coach Jason Garrett post-game and said, “Come get me.”
“Probably what happened was, I was asked asked about it at the combine,” Schneider said. “I was being honest. We wouldn’t be doing our jobs if we didn’t (listen to offers).”
Months ago, a report said the Seahawks’ asking price was first- and third-round draft choices. So once Thursday’s first round came and went, the odds on a trade fell. Same thing with each pick in Friday’s second round, which, independent of a Thomas deal, Schneider apparently tried to deal his way into, with no success.
So, instead of a pivot point in franchise history, the Seahawks slow-rolled the day, staying put with their third-round pick, selecting defensive line project Rasheem Green of USC. Just 20 after three college years, Green seems like a decent shot to replace someday defensive ends Michael Bennett or Cliff Avril, but too raw to be of immediate starting help.
The 6-foot-4, 275-pound graduate of Serra High in Gardena, CA., was probably the second-most dominant defensive lineman in the Pac-12 Conference behind Washington’s Vita Vea. He was a top-50 pick on several scouting lists but fell, according to Schneider, because of a knee injury that lingered from high school.
“In my opinion, he was purely downgraded by a medical,” said Schneider, who said Green passed his physical exam. “Other general managers were trying to figure out where to take him.”
Carroll said Green was examined twice by Seahawks doctors.
“He had a great exam up here and he was able to spend some extra time with our coaches and staff so we could get to know him even better than we did (already). I’m sure he thought he was going to go higher. We like to have guys like that.”
Green also overcame a childhood speech impediment, according to a story in the Los Angeles Times, showed Schneider some moxie.
He showed “the confidence in overcoming an obstacle,” Schneider. “He’s worked through it. There’s a certain shyness about him.”
Added Carroll: “He certainly overcome a lot and has done really well. I think it’s to be admired. He spent a whole day with us, talking with a lot of people he didn’t know and was very confident. I thought it was impressive.”
On a teleconference, Green said the hardest part of the past two days was waiting while lessers were taken ahead of him.
“It’s tough watching guys getting drafted that play the same position, when I personally feel like I’m a bit better than them,” he said. “But it is what it is.”
Unlike the raging parties that accompany draft watches of some players, Green said he had only his mother and father join him at the family home.
“I just wanted my parents with me,” he said. “They are really happy for me. My mom was about to cry, but she didn’t. I was really happy, my dad was really happy.”
The Seahawks were happy they seemed to have plugged the D-line hole created by the successive absences of Malik McDowell and Sheldon Richardson, not to mention Bennett’s trade and Avril’s injury. They see Green’s versatility to play tackle as well as end as a compelling reason for his selection.
The Seahawks acquired a seventh-round pick for dropping from 76 to 79 before taking Green. That means they have eight selections for Saturday’s final day: A fourth-rounder, four fifth-rounders, a sixth and two sevenths. The total hits the house goal of 10 picks for the draft, even if the selections were bottom-heavy.
The big “get” Friday was Thomas, even if his was more like the absence of loss. Schneider said previously there were no current talks about an extension, but much time remains. Schneider also said earlier that Thomas’s representatives assured him that he would not hold out if a new deal wasn’t in hand by the start of training camp.
But first, the Seahawks have to decide if they can afford to give him a third contract at 29 after doing the same for SS Kam Chancellor, which backfired in its first season when he had what may be a career-ending neck injury.
In his final contract year at $10.4 million, Thomas will find himself the senior eminence on defense full of new faces, some of whom get hired Saturday.
The transition paused to keep Thomas, but remains relentless.