The Green Bay Packers have officially started interviewing candidates for their vacant general manager position.
As soon as the job opened, Seahawks GM John Schneider's name shot right to the top of the list. Maybe not the Packers' list, but the all-important speculation list.
By now, you've probably heard all about Schneider's connections to Wisconsin. He grew up six miles from Lambeau Field. During his junior year in college, he wrote a letter to Ron Wolf asking the Packers GM if he could volunteer in the organization as a scout. It led to an internship, and one year later he was working in the Packers' scouting department.
After two stints and 12 years in the Packers' organization, he left for the Seahawks GM job.
Schneider's current contract doesn't have an out clause to Green Bay, but contracts in sports -- like records -- are made to be broken. Don't for a minute think Seahawks owner Paul Allen won't allow Schneider to talk to the Packers about becoming their next GM.
Until Schneider comes out and says he's staying in Seattle, nothing's off the table.
Pete Carroll said earlier this week he's "convinced" Schneider isn't going anywhere.
The Packers have several in-house candidates, but none who have the proven success Schneider's earned in his eight years in Seattle. His tireless effort helped make him one of the best talent evaluators in the league. Schneider's detractors point toward the Seahawks facing a salary cap bubble. They were up against the cap all season long. Injuries to some of their higher-priced players forced Schneider to fill those spots on a tight budget. So tight, the team had to keep injured safety Kam Chancellor on the roster, because they had no room under the cap to add another player's salary.
All of the winning with young, inexpensive players finally caught up to the organization when it came time to reward their stars with big contracts.
The challenge for Schneider now is to trim salary and stay competitive.
This season's salary cap trouble was really the team's first financial crisis on Schneider's watch.
If you're the Packers, do you want a bean counter running the show or a guy who can build a Super Bowl winning roster in a short period of time? That's a no-brainer. Schneider not only built a winning roster but with a constant revolving door of talent at the VMAC, he's been able to sustain success.
The importance of a good general manager often gets overlooked, until he leaves the organization.
The Mariners know that all too well. Pat Gillick took over as GM in 2000. The Mariners finished with winning records in all four of his years, including the 116-win season of 2001. They haven't made the playoffs since.
The list of former Seahawks GMs doesn't exactly have any chart-toppers, but they've had a virtual rock star for eight years.
That beats a one-hit wonder every time.
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