When Seahawks general manager John Schneider announced that coach Pete Carroll had signed a new three-year contract taking him through the 2016 season, some people viewed the brevity of the deal as a sign that Carroll is planning to leave the Seahawks in 2017.
Why would anyone think that?
Carroll has made it clear he wants to establish a legacy as an NFL coach, saying he wants to "do something really special with this opportunity here" in Seattle. Since bringing the city its first Super Bowl title in February, he has repeatedly said they are just getting started and that he plans to "do it better than it's ever been done before."
On Friday, he told reporters, "… We don’t want to just get a ring. There is a lot more to be done. It was a wonderful accomplishment and all, but there is so much more ahead of us. It takes more time. To do something really unique and special, it's going to take some time and this is what this commitment does for us. John and I will be together for a long time, and we’re thrilled about that.”
It was a no-brainer that Carroll would sign an extension and get a raise over the reported $7 million a year he made on the five-year contract he signed in 2010. The fact that it is a three-year deal means only that he and Schneider are tied to the team for the same length of time and will be able to command raises again if they continue to perform at the same peak level they have so far.
"I didn't care (about length)," he told 710 ESPN on Friday. "Whatever they thought was the right thing was good for me. It doesn't matter to me. I'm going to coach the same way. … I think it's a good solid statement that we're here together and we're going to go for it."
Money is not an obstacle for owner Paul Allen, who can afford to pay them both top dollar. And why would they want to go anywhere else if everything continues to work so well in Seattle?
Carroll has made it quite clear that he wants to create a dynasty the same way he did at USC, and he will stay in Seattle long enough to do it. The 62-year-old has the energy of a 42-year-old, and the prediction here is that he will make it to 2020 in Seattle. That would give him the time needed to establish a legacy beyond the one he already owns as the best coach in Seahawks history.
He wants to match or exceed the accomplishments of dynastic coaches such as Chuck Noll, Bill Walsh and Bill Belichick. The former two achieved their success before free agency and the salary cap, which meant they had time to build and maintain their squads. So Carroll's historic competition really is Belichick, who has dominated his division and conference for more than a decade during the free agency era. Carroll surely wants to rival that achievement.
As Carroll said, "There is no reason that (either he or Schneider) think that we did this one time and that was it and that was our shot. We think that we’re right in the middle of a great opportunity here. Our young players, the great leaders that we have on the team -- from Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman, Russell Wilson, Max Unger and all of these wonderful guys that have bought into our program and carry our message for us -- give us an opportunity to extend this challenge to come back and play great football again and be a leading organization and be something really unique and special. I’m just thrilled to be part of it."
The length of the deal means Carroll will be up for a new extension again in two years, but that is largely irrelevant. Carroll shows no signs of wanting to leave Seattle or quit coaching.
"I think you can lose energy to fight," he said, "(but) I'm full of a bunch of that juice right now. I've got no problem, so I'm just going to keep going as long as we're having fun and doing good things and we're making good progress."
MORE HAWK TALK
**Rumor has it that OT Russell Okung might have had surgery on the ailing toe that kept him out for eight games last season. He was spotted wearing a walking boot recently. The Hawks might be interested in extending him before his deal expires in 2016, but they probably would like to see him stay healthy for a full season (he has played in just 45 of 64 possible games). It would not be surprising to see the Hawks draft a guy who can start at left tackle, just in case they decide they cannot count on Okung.
**It is looking more and more like WR Sidney Rice could return to Seattle. The Hawks reportedly are the only team interested at this point. He will want a team before the draft to avoid getting locked out of a spot, especially with a very deep receiver class this year. It's easy to see him signing a cheap, incentive-laden contract the week before the draft.
**The Hawks also could bring back LB O'Brien Schofield and FB Michael Robinson – their only two unsigned free agents. TE Kellen Davis is the most recent free agent to leave, joining Walter Thurmond with the New York Giants. Schofield's deal with the Giants was voided when he failed their physical, and it's easy to see him back in Seattle for another season. He would be good insurance again.
**The Hawks' free agency scorecard looks like this: Lost eight, kept six (plus three restricted free agents), added four. The latest addition was long snapper Jorgen Hus, who reportedly came on the recommendation of punter Jon Ryan.