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Pete Carroll Tries to Secure Job as Seahawks Head Coach, While Staff Members Are Welcome to Pursue Other Opportunities

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After 14 seasons with Pete Carroll at the helm, the Seahawks are starting over. They are kicking Carroll to an advisory role. With this not being Carroll’s call, it is fair to label it a firing.

Lending further toward this split not being entirely amicable, Carroll said Wednesday he “competed pretty hard to be the coach” in 2024. The Seahawks are nevertheless moving on. Although the Seahawks have 10- and nine-year HC runs in their history (Mike Holmgren, Chuck Knox), Carroll is the longest-tenured HC in franchise annals by a wide margin.

Carroll, 72, said Monday he was expecting to be back with the Seahawks for a 15th season. Acknowledging he is “about as old as you can get in this business,” Carroll said today (via NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero) he did not foresee this outcome when he last met with the team. Carroll also does not know what his role with the organization will be yet, The Athletic’s Michael-Shawn Dugar tweets.

Given Carroll’s accomplishments, it is unsurprising ownership did not opt for a straight-up firing. A similar scenario is unfolding in New England with Bill Belichick — Carroll’s Patriots successor back in 2000 — though Carroll is not a lock to coach again. An NFL HC for 18 years (between stints with the Jets, Pats and Hawks), the Super Bowl winner/gum enthusiast did not slam the door on coaching somewhere else but acknowledged it is too early for such rumors. Based on his push to keep the gig he held for 14 years, Carroll still believes he can coach effectively.

The Seahawks are coming off their second straight 9-8 season, though this one veered toward disappointing due to the resources poured into the roster. Seattle re-signed Geno Smith on a three-year, $75MM deal, made two more first-round picks (Devon Witherspoon, Jaxon Smith-Njigba) and made two big-ticket D-line investments by giving Dre’Mont Jones a $17MM-AAV contract and making a buyer’s trade for Leonard Williams. Carroll’s defense ranked 30th in yards allowed, following a 26th-place ranking in 2022.

Although Carroll is seemingly set to play a role in Seattle’s front office, he will not have a say in who replaces him. GM John Schneider will lead the way on that front. Carroll said the chance for Schneider to pick a head coach became the biggest factor in his decision to accept this move to an advisory position, per Dugar and the Seattle Times’ Bob Condotta.

Schneider, 52, has ridden shotgun alongside Carroll throughout their time in Seattle. The GM arrived during the same 2010 offseason as Carroll, though the latter held final say. It is not known if the Seahawks will give Schneider full autonomy, or if both the GM and HC would separately report to Jody Allen, but the successful GM has been in place longer than all but one pure GM in the NFL. Only the Saints’ Mickey Loomis, hired in 2002, has served in his role longer than Schneider, who obviously played a major role in assembling Seattle’s Super Bowl XLVIII and XLIX rosters. The 15th-year GM is signed through 2027.

This change will almost definitely lead to major staff adjustments. The Seahawks will let Carroll’s assistants speak to other teams about jobs, with CBS Sports’ Jonathan Jones noting the next HC will not be required to retain any staffers. Shane Waldron has completed three seasons as Seahawks OC, while Clint Hurtt has been in the DC role for two years.

Teams can block lateral moves for contracted coaches, so long as they do not involving a team wanting to interview a non-play-calling coordinator for a play-calling position. The Panthers did so earlier today, preventing an Ejiro Evero Jaguars DC interview. The Rams, however, made a similar good-faith gesture last year by letting Sean McVay‘s staffers explore other opportunities while he debated walking away.

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