JOHN CLAYTON

Clayton: NFL coach moves further open Seahawks’ window of opportunity

Jan 27, 2022, 3:20 PM
Seahawks Aaron Rodgers...
Aaron Rodgers' OC in Green Bay is leaving to become Denver's head coach. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Even though the Seahawks aren’t involved, the new head coaches being hired in the NFL are breaking in a way that helps Seattle.

Wyman and Bob: Which free agent must the Seahawks re-sign?

Denver got Green Bay offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett. Chicago hired Indianapolis defensive coordinator Matt Eberfus. Miami is trying to go for Bills OC Brian Daboll. Jacksonville is expected to hire Buccaneers OC Byron Leftwich. There were nine openings, but things are starting to close.

So how does this relate to the Seahawks?

Just like the divisional round of the playoffs and news of the weekend spelled a more wide-open NFC next season, so do some of these coaching hires.

Related: Seahawks’ chances of bouncing back in 2022 just got better

What’s most interesting for Seattle is the Hackett hire in Denver. That points even more to the idea that the Broncos have the best chance of landing Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers likes Hackett and isn’t happy in Green Bay, and being eliminated in the divisional round hurt the chances of him staying even more.

The Packers are $40 million over the salary cap and still need to see if they can pay or put a franchise tag on wide receiver Davante Adams. That could put them in a rebuilding mode, and Rodgers wants no part of a rebuilding mode. That means he will likely push for a trade out of Green Bay.

That would totally change – and weaken – the NFC North. Chicago and Minnesota have had coach and general manager changes. The Packers won’t be the Packers without Rodgers, and if Rodgers moves to an AFC team, it only helps the Seahawks. It would make their path to returning to the playoffs easier.

The NFC West is still tough with the Seahawks the only team in the division not making the playoffs this year, and the Rams and 49ers are meeting this weekend in the NFC Championship. But elsewhere in the conference, it’s only good news. The New Orleans Saints are now without Sean Payton, who stepped down as head coach to get into television. Tom Brady is 50-50 about playing football next year, so Tampa Bay may need to start over with a new QB.

For the Seahawks, they have to get a defensive coordinator and then add to their roster, but their window of opportunity may be opening.

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