Pete Carroll on trying to convince Wilson to stay, what’s next for Seahawks at QB
A new era of Seahawks football is officially underway after Seattle’s trade of star quarterback Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos for three players and five draft picks.
For the first time since 2011, the Seahawks will have a quarterback other than Wilson under center come Week 1. And for the first time since 2010, the Seahawks have a top 10 draft pick thanks to the deal with Denver. Simply put, this is not a normal offseason for Seattle.
Head coach Pete Carroll is obviously playing a key role in what’s next for the Seahawks, and he joined Seattle Sports’ Mike Salk Show Tuesday morning to discuss the trade, what Seattle’s quarterback position may look like come the start of the season and much more.
While many Seahawks fans are not so optimistic about the team moving forward after parting ways with the franchise quarterback, Carroll made it clear that he, the coaching staff and the front office are very excited about building the team.
“It’s the challenge, it’s the excitement, it’s the newness, it’s the sense of the return to the core of where we began putting things together when we really were wide open and really aggressive and all (that),” Carroll said. “As time goes (on) and you get kind of connected to the salary cap and the cash cap and all that, you get slowed down a little bit. You don’t have as much freedom and all that. So we feel feel the freedom of the draft picks, we feel the freedom of the financial situation, and the excitement of putting our team together again.”
You can listen to the full conversation in the podcast here. Below, we’ll break down some of the biggest takeaways from the interview.
So how exactly did the process of trading Wilson to the Broncos look to Carroll?
“It started two years ago when kind of the word went around that maybe something was brewing. It was just a long conversation,” he said. “And the majority of my conversation was trying to be in the real world of what was possible and what could possibly happen and why would you send spend a bunch of energy in a direction where there was no place for it to go?”
Carroll said it was “a very complicated situation” because the Seahawks, Broncos and Wilson all had “input” into the deal and it being finalized.
“So it was very difficult. And it took a long time to get to the point where it was even where we would start to entertain the thought of it,” Carroll said. “… It was really amicable.”
Did Carroll try and convince Wilson to stay?
Just days before the trade was first reported, Carroll told reporters at the recent NFL Scouting Combine that he had no intention of trading Wilson. That was what Carroll had been saying for roughly a year after Wilson opened the door to him being traded last offseason.
So, with Wilson this offseason wanting out, Salk asked Carroll if he tried to convince his 10-year starting quarterback to return to the Seahawks for 2022.
“There was so much compelling reasoning why he would stay because of all the history and all the time spent (with the Seahawks). That was exactly where I was coming from, just to use the logic of it,” Carroll said. “When you’ve built a relationship over a long period of time, there’s great benefits to that in moving forward and well beyond your career and stuff. Those are all parts of the conversation. What I continue to say (is) I had no intention of making a move at all while guys were under contract and we were pleased with what was going on and all (that). So I fought for the logic of that for a good while until it wasn’t meaningful anymore to stick with that.”
What’s next for the Seahawks at QB?
With Wilson gone, the Seahawks have Drew Lock, who came to Seattle in the deal with Denver, on the roster as the current favorite to be the starter in 2022. But is that what will happen?
“We’re still working,” Carroll said. “We’re fielding all of the choices that are out there.”
There are still some trade options for starting-caliber quarterbacks like Baker Mayfield in Cleveland or Jimmy Garoppolo in San Francisco, but Carroll stumped for someone who’s been in the organization since 2019 but is currently a free agent: Geno Smith.
“I’d like to get Geno hooked up and get him back in (here). He showed us a good deal of command of our offense when he played last year and he has a terrific understanding of it so he’s out in front of the other guys that are involved in the competition in that regard,” Carroll said. “By the time he got a couple games under his belt after sitting for three or four years, he functioned in the Jacksonville game as well as you can function and he had a beautiful game there. And that looked like the culmination of his return, kind of. And unfortunately we didn’t get to capitalize to see what the next step would be because Russ came back and played. But (Smith), he popped the ball around, he was fast with the football and got it out and did some really cool things. So that’s the first thing.
“There’s some other options out there and we get a lot of calls about guys and stuff. So we’re always working it and we’ll see what comes next.”
As far as Lock goes, what do the Seahawks see in him given he struggled mightily each of the last two seasons in Denver?
“It goes all the way back to our (draft) evaluation of him,” Carroll said.
Both Carroll and general manager John Schneider told reporters last week that they were very high on Lock as a prospect in the 2019 NFL Draft. Lock would ultimately go to the Broncos in the second round.
Carroll said he likes Lock’s personality as well as his physical ability.
“Really personable, easy to communicate with, very clear and really accountable. He shows a real accountability and demonstrates that he’s not trying to hide from that, from anything, about how it didn’t go well (in Denver) and all that,” Carroll said. “He’s very clear about it, so I really appreciate that … And when you go back to our evaluations of him, he’s athletic, he’s got a great arm, he’s an all-around athlete, he’s a clear thinker, he’s smart, and he’s really competitive. We like his competitive nature, his resourcefulness and the playmaking that he’s had over the years.”
Carroll called Lock a “really good prospect to get.”
“Imagine if he was in the draft this year where we would go,” Carroll said. “… We need to see where he fits in, and I’m looking, as I commonly do, to what he did well and what he was really strong at, and we’re gonna find our ways to make sure that that comes to the front as opposed to some of the negative things.”