By Danny O’Neil
The most significant thing about Pete Carroll’s contract extension isn’t the length nor the size nor is it even the timing of the announcement.
The most important facet of this deal is the complete and utter lack of suspense.
Carroll wasn’t going anywhere. This was as close to a multi-million dollar formality as you get in the NFL, which has everything to do with the way this job was structured upon Carroll’s hiring and stands in stark contrast to the last time the Seahawks extended their coach’s contract.
It wasn’t nearly so easy back in 2006 when Mike Holmgren was coming off three straight postseason berths and a Super Bowl appearance, but still had a latent desire to have a say over personnel. It took a month and a half of uncertainty before he decided to accept a two-year extension to remain Seattle’s coach and just the coach.
Carroll has his ideal job. It was the reason he cited for leaving USC in 2010, a position that was exactly what he wanted right down to the fact that he got to help hire the general manager he would work alongside.
Four seasons, three playoff berths and a Super Bowl victory later, there’s no way that he can move up. The only question is how long he can stay on top.
Money is part of this, too. Just not necessarily the biggest part. Carroll’s contract in 2010 was to pay him $35 million over five years, which already put him in the upper tier of coaching salaries. No word on the size of his next deal, but Paul Allen is the richest owner in the league, and a Super Bowl would seem to warrant a raise. Carroll’s contract extension was first reported by the league’s official website.
But money wasn’t really the issue for Seattle’s last coaching extension for Holmgren. The tension there regarded to power, Tim Ruskell having been hired a year earlier to serve as the president and general manager.
At the NFL’s owner meetings that offseason, Holmgren confessed to feeling an itch to make personnel decisions again, something that wasn’t going to happen in Seattle. At least not then.
Remember, Ruskell was riding high. The Seahawks reached the Super Bowl in Ruskell’s first season as GM, a year marked by the drafting of linebackers Lofa Tatupu and Leroy Hill as well as the free-agent signing of receiver Joe Jurevicius.
The Seahawks’ roster eroded considerably over Ruskell’s final four years to the point that Seattle turned to Holmgren in hope he could return to the franchise in 2009. When the two sides couldn’t agree on a contract, Seattle decided for a hard reset in its football operations.
Starting over in Seattle started with the hiring of Pete Carroll, and the way that job was structured in the beginning made his contract extension so very straightforward.
He has the job he wants, written exactly to his specifications.