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Seahawks GM John Schneider, potential Ted Thompson successor, agrees to extension

Talented general manager John Schneider agreed to a five-year extension to remain with the Seahawks, potentially preventing him from returning to the Packers when Ted Thompson retires.

Seattle Seahawks Victory Parade Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

In the time since Ted Thompson turned 62, the age at which his mentor Ron Wolf retired, the identity of the next Green Bay Packers general manager have become a hot topic. Like Wolf, Thompson could walk away earlier than many anticipate. As such, a new executive could take the reins of the NFC powerhouse in the not-too-distant future.

Many insiders have pegged the Packers' former director of football operations, John Schneider, as a leading candidate to take over when Thompson retires. Perhaps that remains a possibility, though Schneider agreed to an extension with the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday that reportedly runs through the 2021 season.

Schneider, a Wisconsin native, began his scouting career with the Packers in 1993. He subsequently worked for the Seahawks in 2000 under Thompson for a year. The two reconnected again in Green Bay when the latter became the Packers' general manager in 2005. Schneider made his most recent departure before the 2010 season when the Seahawks offered him their top football executive position.

Though never confirmed, reports indicated that Schneider might have an out clause written into his Seahawks contract that allows him to leave should the Packers GM position become available. Furthermore, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Bob McGinn wrote in 2014: "It's considered almost a foregone conclusion among his colleagues and friends that Schneider regards the Packers as his dream job."

Even if the Packers clause existed before, the Seahawks and Schneider may have scrapped it as part of the new extension. The team certainly doesn't wish to lose one of the most talented football minds in the game, a fact made clear by his reported new $3.75 million annual salary. Still, if Schneider made sure to set up an exit plan during previous contract negotiations, he may well have done so again to preserve the chance of replacing Thompson in Green Bay.

The Packers have alternatives should Schneider remain in Seattle. Eliot Wolf, Ron's 34-year-old son, currently serves as Green Bay's director of football operations. Wolf's promotion earlier this offseason appeared to indicate the team's desire to keep him in the mix for general-manager consideration when Thompson retires. Director of player personnel Brian Gutekunst, promoted alongside Wolf, could also factor into the equation. Two other former Packers front-office executives, Reggie McKenzie and John Dorsey, became general managers with the Oakland Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs respectively and may also garner consideration if their contracts allow.

Jason B. Hirschhorn is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and covers the NFL for Sports on Earth and SB Nation. He also serves as the senior writer and editor for Acme Packing Company, a Green Bay Packers blog.