Pete Carroll does not talk about the “D word” — as he called it at one point last offseason. But “dynasty” certainly is on his mind — even if it is buried way in the back, behind Cover-3 schemes and ways to dominate turnover margin.
What do you think his motto, Win Forever, means? Principle No. 1 of that mantra: To do things better than they have ever been done before.
The Seahawks are still working toward that goal — obviously much closer to achieving it on defense than on offense — and beating the Patriots on Sunday would be a huge step in that direction, making the Hawks the ninth repeat champ.
No team has ever won three straight Super Bowls, but the Hawks are in good position to make a run at it. Carroll knows it.
Six key defenders are signed through at least 2017, and the team already has begun negotiations with cornerback Byron Maxwell on a new contract (but would he really forgo free agency?). Linebacker Bobby Wagner almost certainly will get one, too, this year or next. And general manager John Schneider definitely will pay quarterback Russell Wilson top dollar this offseason.
“John has spent a tremendous amount of effort in long view, in looking down the road to see how we can continue to maintain the core of our club at the high level and with the guys that we have built it around,” Carroll said. “We’re in the process of doing that, and I think it should be pretty obvious that we reward our own guys. Those are the guys not only that we’ve sighted early that we thought were going to be good but we’ve been able to develop and really kind of guarantee where we’re going with them.
“There is a fine balance in there, and we saw the Ravens a couple years ago had to have a big change in their football team because of the financial aspect of that,” Carroll said, referencing how the Ravens lost a bunch of top free agents in 2013 after they won the Super Bowl that February.
“We don’t anticipate that,” Carroll said. “We think we’re structured in a way that we can hold on. That’s being optimistic and looking for the good stuff here — that’s how we’re seeing it.
“It brings us to very difficult decisions come the offseason. We’ll always have those — every team does. We’re hoping that being able to see and trust in what we’ve seen from our players now we’ll be able to maintain that nucleus of the club that will allow us to keep the identity and keep the focus.”
Carroll mentioned Marshawn Lynch as one of the core players, which may or may not have been lip service. Who knows if Lynch will want to remain part of it? And who knows what it might cost to keep him in the fold (even though he is signed through next season)?
“There are so many of these guys that have become such big aspects of our team that we are working to keep them together and we’re going to try to do that in the best way possible,” Carroll said.
He seemed to hint that Wilson might be willing to take a little hometown discount, as Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril did.
“I know Russell wants to play on a really good team, too … so I’m sure that’s part of his conscious as we go through this,” Carroll said. “We’ll figure it out in time. It’s going to be a big challenge. However, we do have a plan and John is … doing a wonderful job of carrying it out right now.”
Schneider said Wilson’s pending megadeal “presents challenges, there is no question. … It’s a huge piece of our puzzle, obviously, moving forward. We have a lot of different models that we work with, so we just have to figure out where that is going to go.”
Schneider said the Hawks might not “dip into free agency like you may want to here and there or compensate somebody else that you want to compensate that is already on your team, but just the fact that we’re going to continue to keep drafting players and playing young players should help us compensate for (Wilson’s contract).”
With Wilson and their top six or seven defenders under contract for at least three more seasons, the Hawks will do nothing but get better.
Repeating as Super Bowl champs Sunday would be the next step toward the “D word” — or, in Carroll speak, doing it better than anyone has ever done it before.