Pete Carroll Being Out As Seahawks Coach Flips The Entire NFL Offseason On Its Head

Pete Carroll
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

At least it seemed like the writing was on the wall for Mike Vrabel in Tennessee. Pete Carroll no longer being the Seattle Seahawks head coach? Now that is something I didn’t expect to see for at least another few years if the team struggled.

Welp. Looks like former Seahawks defensive coordinator/current Cowboys DC Dan Quinn has the job waiting for him if he wants it once Dallas’ playoff run is over.

Among all the incumbent coaches who could/should/figure to be on the move, Carroll’s pivot to an executive type role and stepping away from the sidelines has the potential to create the greatest ripple effect. Vrabel is widely expected to replace Bill Belichick in New England. There are multiple reports that I referenced regarding Vrabel to the Patriots yesterday.

The one below is perhaps the juiciest of all:

Who knows what you’re getting out of Belichick these days? His defense is still good, but he can’t evaluate offensive personnel or field a competent unit on that side of the ball to save his life. Ever since Tom Brady left his side, it’s been bad.

Not many things truly shock me in sports. For instance, some people are outraged that the Bears are keeping Matt Eberflus as their head coach. His defense did play much better once the Montez Sweat trade happened. Offensive coordinator Luke Getsy and basically his entire staff got cleaned out. Not a surprise. Whether it’s Justin Fields or another quarterback moving forward, that group in Chicago could not run it back in 2024 as things stood.

Speaking of quarterbacks, do we really think the Seahawks are rolling with Geno Smith and/or Drew Lock next season? You’d almost be better off luring ‘Drew Luck out of retirement.

If Carroll were still the head coach, my take is it’d be damn near certain that Geno would be the guy. Now? I have no clue. Seattle holds the 16th pick in the draft. Thanks to a couple killer draft classes in recent years, it’s a young, ascending roster that reaped the benefits from the legendary Russell Wilson trade.

Geno was a great story as last season’s Comeback Player of the Year. Sure looked like he regressed a good deal with another year in the same system and the addition of first-round pick Jaxon Smith-Njigba. That doesn’t bode well for his future.

Given the Patriots’ rampant conservatism and penchant for trading back in the draft, I could see them not being enthused about giving up multiple premium assets to move up a spot or two from the third overall pick. Do they really want QB3 from the 2024 draft, or could the Seahawks tempt them with an offer like this: Geno, the 16th pick, 2025 first- and second-rounders and a 2026 second-rounder.

Now that Carroll isn’t having final say on major decisions, there’s no telling what Seattle might do in the draft, free agency, or how his irreplaceable presence on the sidelines might impact the entire offensive strategy. Carroll loves to run the ball and be conservative. Me? I’d be the exact opposite with a wide receiver trio starring JSN, DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett.

Nevertheless, you can’t take away what Carroll accomplished during his tenure. It was amazing overall. That Legion of Boom secondary and the early part of Wilson’s career were an electric factory that powered the Emerald City through the perpetual pain of losing the SuperSonics.

Maybe he could still resonate with modern players, but Carroll’s departure isn’t so out of left field when you consider that he’s a defensive guy, and his defenses have finished 26th and 30th respectively in the past two years as far as total yards allowed. That ain’t gonna cut it. So maybe you bake that into the calculus of a future decision on Geno, whose contract is easy to get out of in each of the next two seasons.

Here’s another potentially crazy twist: What if Carroll has a change of heart about this advisory role? What if he wants to coach again? Whether it’s this offseason or next, he could easily jump back into the hiring cycle and be one of the most coveted candidates. We’ve already got Vrabel, Jim Harbaugh and probably soon Belichick floating around out there.

You can’t convince me whatsoever that THIS GUY is burned out or tired of coaching.

This is such a fascinating crossroads for the Seahawks. They’ll be hard-pressed to find a head coach who can compete with the likes of the 49ers’ Kyle Shanahan and the Rams’ Sean McVay in the NFC West. Quinn once led Atlanta to a Super Bowl berth with Shanahan as his OC, so at least he’d have as good a plan as anyone to try to stop San Francisco twice a year.

But like damn. Pete Carroll, no longer the Seahawks coach? Stunning doesn’t even begin to describe it. This is such a massive domino to fall that I don’t think we’re even ready for what comes next in Seattle. A tough, painful decision for the organization I’m sure, yet when you really look at it, this is a chance for them to launch into a whole new exciting era. I’m here for it. I would implore the franchise, though, to talk to Ben Johnson and give him strong consideration before coming back to Quinn just because he’s been there before.

PS: I already have a favorite Bananaland fantasy of Carroll swapping places with Lincoln Riley. College football’s offensive guru comes to the NFL to join a division with Shanny and McVay, while Carroll goes back to USC and crushes it.

Whatever you do, Pete, thanks for the memories and some absolutely captivating Seahawks football for all these years.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock