NFL insider breaks down potential Seahawks futures of Carroll, Wilson

Dec 15, 2021, 4:06 PM
Seahawks Russell Wilson, Pete Carroll...
Head coach Pete Carroll reacts as Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks comes off the field following a turnover against the San Francisco 49ers. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

After a 12-win season and NFC West title in 2020, the Seahawks appeared ready for another big season in 2021.

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That hasn’t been the case, though.

After starting the year with a road win over the Indianapolis Colts, the Seahawks lost back-to-back games against the Tennessee Titans and Minnesota Vikings. And after getting back to .500 with a road win over the San Francisco 49ers in Week 4, the Seahawks lost to the Los Angeles Rams in Week 5 while also losing star quarterback Russell Wilson to a finger injury. With that loss, the Seahawks fell under .500 at 2-3 and haven’t been at or over .500 since.

Wilson returned after a three-game absence in which Seattle went 1-2, but the Seahawks went 0-3 in Wilson’s first three games back. That was Wilson’s first three-game losing streak in his 10-year NFL career.

Since that losing streak, the Seahawks have won back-to-back games and Wilson has played much better. Now, Seattle is 5-8 with four games left on the schedule.

But with the team’s overall poor year, questions about the future of Wilson and key figures within the organization have naturally started to start being asked. That’s especially the case as Wilson made media waves last offseason when it was reported he’d consider waiving his no-trade clause to four teams.

Now, questions regarding Wilson’s future along with the future of Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll are starting to swirl within NFL circles.

Someone who’s locked into the league as a whole is ESPN NFL insider Jeremy Fowler. He joined Mike Salk on 710 ESPN Seattle’s Mike Salk Show Tuesday morning to discuss what could happen to the Seahawks moving forward when it comes to Carroll and Wilson.

With Carroll, Fowler said it’s a situation where the 12-year Seahawks head coach has “a great deal of influence and power” within the organization and will be able to have some say in terms of his future.

“Based on his experience and his success, I just don’t think it’d be a situation where (ownership tells him), ‘Hey, you’re fired,'” Fowler told Salk. “Even (after) this year, or next year or whenever. I just don’t see that.”

“If something were to happen – and again, that might be a moot point – but if something does happen, I think he would either resign or retire or have a footprint on what goes down,” Fowler later added. “I just don’t think it would be a cold, calculated decision like you see with some of these firings around the league … Ownership has a great deal respect for Pete, and I think that there would be some constructive conversations about the future with whatever happens.”

Fowler said this season going so poorly for the Seahawks has “shaken everybody at their core” in part because Carroll hasn’t coached a team like this in a very long time.

In terms of what’s next, Fowler said a rebuild is possible, but that largely depends on what happen with Wilson and whether he wants to stay with the Seahawks. That could also impact whether or not Carroll is still running the team going forward.

“If they do end up trading Russell and he wants out and they get draft picks and have to kind of redo this thing, the team will be faced with a decision on whether they want a new face and new ideas to execute that, or is Pete at (70 years old) ready for a rebuild?” Fowler said. “I think those are just some questions that are being asked around the league.”

Fowler did make it clear, though, that Wilson and Carroll are on good terms overall.

“By all accounts from what I’ve heard, Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson still have a very good relationship,” he said. “I think there are philosophical differences as to how to build an offense and how to attack, and I think that’s going to come to a head eventually.”

While Fowler said it’s possible the Seahawks rebuild or move on from one or both of Wilson and Carroll, he also said the team is in good shape to keep things largely the same heading into 2022.  That’s because, in Fowler’s eyes, Seattle has a top quarterback, playmakers on offense and defense, and the team has been derailed largely because of injuries on offense this season.

“This is a 12-win team last year that, on paper (before the 2021 season), I thought the roster was better this year than last year,” Fowler said. “That’s why I’m honestly a little shocked at how things have gone. I’ll be real honest, I don’t think they’re that far off.”

What is ownership looking at?

At the end of the day, the direction for the Seahawks comes down to one person – team owner Jody Allen.

Allen reportedly isn’t happy with how the Seahawks have performed this season and doesn’t view the 2021 struggles as a one-time issue. But it’s unclear whether or not she’ll direct any changes when it comes to Carroll, Wilson or general manager John Schneider.

So what will Allen be looking for during the Seahawks’ final four games of the 2021 season?

“I think you’re just looking for inspired football,” Fowler said. “You’re looking for something to build on. You’re looking at what are we going to have next year and how much of this late season push translates to that? And can you contend?”

Fowler said Allen and other key figures in the organization will also consider whether anyone has “an appetite” to do anything resembling a rebuild or a “transitional phase.”

“In the NFL, rebuilding is relative. You can rebuild in a year, just because of the parity,” he said. “… Maybe it’s a situation where if you just can add a few more pieces or even take maybe the Patriots route and spend more than you typically have or want to (in the offseason), you can be right back at it in 2022. So she’s looking, I’m sure, at just what can we do to contend, and do we have the pieces in place to do that? But a lot is going to depend on the quarterback.”

Listen to the full discussion at this link or in the player below.

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