RENTON, Wash. — Seattle Seahawks general manager John Schneider knows there are tough financial decisions coming in the future with the contract situations of All-Pros Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas, not to mention guys like Russell Wilson and Russell Okung who will need to be addressed.
That's why in the midst of planning ahead for the upcoming offseason and NFL draft, Schneider is taking time to enjoy what Seattle has accomplished in reaching a Super Bowl just four seasons after he arrived.
"There's times where I'm like, 'you know what, just be in the moment, just have fun and let's enjoy this right now.'" Schneider said Friday. "You definitely have to take that time and enjoy it, and I want everybody to be so excited about what's going on, whether it's you guys, the fans, everybody in the building. The people upstairs are giddy, it's great. It's cool to see."
It's appropriate that Schneider take time to appreciate this because he did a lot of the work that went into creating the Seahawks' deep, talented roster. It's been a collaborative relationship with coach Pete Carroll and one that some wondered if it could be successful when the two were hired before the start of the 2010 season.
Four years later, Seattle has compiled a roster that in many regards is the envy of the league. It's young, it's talented and so far inexpensive. And it's about to play in the second Super Bowl in franchise history.
Yet there remains that thought in the back of Schneider's mind that he must continue to look forward to make sure Seattle has success beyond this year.
"I think we just have a ton of respect for the league and how hard it is to get to where we are right now," Schneider said. "More importantly, where we're at peace is that we know we're trying to get better every single day beyond this game because we want this to be a consistent championship-caliber team and not a team where the fans don't feel like we cruise in, cruise out for one year. Where there is a solid base and we have to make tough decisions every year."
Schneider rarely talks during the season, usually leaving it to Carroll to explain the state of the football operations. It's another aspect of the relationship they have developed which has worked so well.
When Carroll came to Seattle he wanted more control of the personnel than he had at his previous two NFL stops. And to do that, Carroll needed a general manager who was willing to give up some of the traditional control that position has held.
"I thought that this relationship would be the one that could be the issue that pushes us over the top if we did it right," Carroll said recently. "So we set out with the expectations that we would communicate impeccably and we would enhance each other's strengths impeccably and see how that would factor in where we're going. So I would start right there that that's the most important aspect of what's going on and I'm functioning as well as I can because of John and I hope that he is, too."
While it seems like Schneider has been golden with his moves — from drafting Wilson and Sherman in later rounds, to signing Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett on affordable deals last offseason — not every move Seattle has made was perfect. There have been missteps along the way.
But the successes, especially Seattle's achievements in the draft, have outweighed mistakes.
Schneider doesn't view the move to trade for Percy Harvin as a mistake. Schneider said he's disappointed that Harvin's first year with Seattle will be remembered for the hip injury that sidelined him for most of the season. But he was equally quick to remind that Harvin is healthy enough for the Super Bowl and that he's locked up for another five seasons.
"I'm sure it's been tough for him. I'm very happy for him now," Schneider said. "I think this is incredibly exciting for Percy and his family and his teammates and the staff and our fans that he has an opportunity to play in the biggest game of the year. But I feel bad for him that this has gone the way it's gone. But the best thing about it is that it's a six-year contract and he's a young man."