Are we entering the final four years of the Pete Carroll/Russell Wilson era? Or just the next four?
The recent death of Seahawks legend Chuck Knox brings to mind the future of Carroll, coming shortly after Wilson’s destiny was a hot topic in the wake of another record-setting QB deal.
Seattle’s coach and QB are signed for two more years, and the pessimist’s view says Carroll’s age and Wilson’s price could mean both are gone by 2022. But the Positive Petes out there would point out that Carroll is spry enough to coach 10 more years and Wilson has said he wants to play in Seattle for 20.
Either way, four looks like the magic number right now.
Carroll already is four years older than Knox was when he retired from coaching, but he seems nowhere close to quitting himself. Carroll is just one win behind Knox (80) for second place in franchise history and should pass both Knox and franchise leader Mike Holmgren (86) next season — and then blow away their totals over the following two or three seasons.
Next year, Carroll will become the fifth-oldest NFL coach ever. If he were to sign for two more years, that would give him and Wilson four more years to try to win another Super Bowl (or two). And it would take Carroll to age 70 — only George Halas and Marv Levy coached NFL teams at an older age (72).
Carroll used to talk about doing it better than it has ever been done; he’s been way off that mark these days, so maybe he will just do it at an older age than it has ever been done.
He’s been very good — one of 23 coaches to make two Super Bowls and one of 32 to win — but certainly not better than anyone ever. If he had not blown Super Bowl XLIX, he would have become the 14th coach with at least two Super Bowl titles. (Instead, he helped further solidify Bill Belichick’s status as the best coach in the Super Bowl era, if not ever.)
Carroll seems intent on trying to put together a second contending window and doing it right this time — trying to get into the two-win club and then join the Rushmore of three-time Super Bowl winners (Belichick 5, Chuck Noll 4, Joe Gibbs 3, Bill Walsh 3).
He should have his Super Bowl QB for at least the next four years. Wilson is signed for two more; but, even in the unlikely event a long-term deal is not reached, the Hawks could use the franchise tag on him in 2020 and 2021.
Last week, contract expert Joel Corry told 710 ESPN’s John Clayton that the team and Wilson could end up in a franchise-tag showdown that could see Wilson leave in 2022. That mimicked a PFT report that Wilson’s agent is preparing him for the franchise tag.
If Wilson wants to be the NFL’s highest-paid player or wants a fully guaranteed deal, the Seahawks might indeed be forced to tag him. In 2020, that would cost $30.3 million vs. the salary cap. In 2021, it would be $36.4 million.
On the off chance the Hawks can’t get another extension done, they could afford the tag in those years. But they certainly would not use it a third straight time. Assuming the rules stayed the same in a new CBA (starting in 2021), a third tag would cost $52.4 million (the mandated 44 percent raise).
Depending on Wilson’s negotiations next offseason, Carroll could re-up for just two more years — matching the worst-case tenure for Wilson in Seattle. That also happens to be the length of time John Schneider is signed. So, that would give the trio four more years to win another Super Bowl — and, if they didn’t, Paul Allen could re-evaluate his team leaders in 2022.
Wilson seems likely to be here much longer than just four more years. He has stated his desire to play in Seattle his entire career, and it is hard to see him and the Seahawks not coming to terms — especially when so many other teams have managed to re-sign their star QBs. As we have said, it’s just a question of details.
It’s also completely possible that Carroll plans to coach well into the next decade — setting new bars for Seattle coaching wins and the NFL’s oldest coach while aiming to join those elite Super Bowl coaching clubs.
For now, we are confident the Carroll/Wilson era will go another four years. It’s just a question of whether it’s the final four or merely the next four.