John Schneider had just dialed Rashaad Penny with the life-altering news.
The running back was so shocked the Seahawks had drafted him he couldn't speak. So Schneider messed with the San Diego State dynamo who thought he was getting picked in the next round the next day, or later.
"You want to get selected here, or you want us to trade back?" Seattle's general manager in jest said to break Penny's silence over the phone.
"Oh, I want to get selected now!" Penny finally said, with an excited, boy-ish tone.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The News Tribune
Trading in the draft is what Schneider and the Seahawks do. Schneider and coach Pete Carroll have already made nine trades in the last 12 months affecting this draft alone.
Their deal with Schneider's former Green Bay Packers Thursday to move down nine spots in the first round of this NFL draft and still select Penny to be their newest running back and kick returner was Seattle's 55th involving a draft choice in Schneider's and Carroll's nine years running the Seahawks.
Will Friday's second day of the draft bring trade 56? Is it a priority for the Seahawks move up into the second round where they currently lack a selection, or from the 76th spot they got from the Packers on Thursday to higher than 12th in Friday's third round?
“Always," Schneider said.
"We’re constantly working at it. We had a number of things going on right down here at the end. We have an awesome, awesome staff in there and everybody has their responsibilities. They have their teams and we’ve been doing it together for several years so people can go from this team to that team to that team. The room is very well organized in terms of where we have several different boards. I’m very visual so we can see what’s going on over here and what’s going on with different teams over here.”
Yes, trades are indeed "always" in play for Schneider. He was fielding at least one offer from another team to deal away Penny minutes after the Seahawks drafted him Thursday night. Schneider, a career personnel guy back to his days as a college intern for the Packers, said that was a first for him.
"Pretty cool," the GM said.
The pick they added from the Packers in the third round fills some of the gaping void the Seahawks had this draft between picks 18 and 120, Seattle's fourth-round choice. Being 12th in the round three puts Seattle squarely in the running to go defense as it needs to.
Specifically, it puts the team in the running to make NFL history and the people's choice — draft Central Florida linebacker Shaquem Griffin to thrill an entire fan base — and absolutely the Seahawks' starting right cornerback, his twin brother Shaquill.
But the Seahawks have more-pressing needs at pass rusher and cornerback, in particular. If the right guy remains available in round two — Colorado cornerback Isaiah Oliver remains my second-round trade pick for Seattle, or Boston College edge rusher Harold Landry, who has some medical concerns, or Ohio State defensive end Sam Hubbard —i t's not only possible but almost by now expected Seattle will trade up.
And, no, it's not going to take trading Earl Thomas to do it.
It seems somebody, either with the Seahawks or Thomas' camp, wants to keep alive the talk of Seattle possibly trading its three-time All-Pro and six-time Pro Bowl safety, particularly to his home-state Dallas Cowboys, even though the first round has past. Seattle wouldn't mind someone stepping up its offer more toward the moon the team's been asking for Thomas, as they should.
A second-round pick alone — Dallas has the 18th pick in Friday's round two — a two or a three or even future twos would not be worth the Seahawks dealing Thomas. Not while he's still in his 20s. We're talking about a future Hall of Famer at free safety who remains vital to what Seattle does on defense and thus in 2018.
Plus, and again, for emphasis: any acquiring team would have to strike an agreement on a new contract for Thomas, whose Seahawks deal ends after this year. He's said he wants the top money at his position in the league; $13 million per year with $40 million guaranteed is that bar Kansas City set with Eric Berry last year.
There are more realistic scenarios for the Seahawks to move up Friday, and those are early, just after the draft resumes at 4 p.m. Cleveland has two of the top three picks, and three selections in all, in round two. The Indianapolis Colts have two picks in the second round, including the fourth and fifth selections. New England also has two picks in round two.
You can bet your cell-phone bill Schneider and the Seahawks are going to be dialing those teams and more to possibly deal again on Friday.
They always do.
"We definitely think about that stuff all the time," Schneider said. "It’s like you’re moving through this thing constantly toeing those. They’re just rounds and honestly, they’re just numbers all the way through. You don’t really think about how I need to select this person in this round."
"There’s phone calls and phones ringing and phones going and choices and all of that," Carroll said of every Seahawks draft day. "And John has done a fantastic job over the years. Like he said, his guys are so grooved at it, they’re so tight and connected that they can handle it all...
"We’re cranked up and ready to go for (Friday). We’re going to do everything we can (Friday), too. We’re going to do everything we can (Friday) and compete at every turn.
"It’s just the way that we’re structured.”