Seahawks Considered Top Landing Spot for Super Bowl-Winning Coach

Pete Carroll

Getty The Seahawks could make a run at Sean Payton if Pete Carroll retires.

The Seattle Seahawks could be looking at a new head coach entering next season.

According to Cody Benjamin of CBS Sports, the Seahawks could be a top potential landing spot for former New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton. The 58-year-old head coach recently signaled his interest in a return to coaching just six months after stepping away from his job leading the Saints’ sidelines.

“Ultimately, do I think I’ll get back in? Sure,” said Payton via USA Today. “There’s no way to predict who that club might be,” he said. “Usually, there are about six openings every year. If there’s a right fit somewhere, that ultimately will depend on several factors.”

Although Pete Carroll is under contract through the 2025 season, the 70-year-old head coach — Carroll is the oldest head coach in the league — could realistically retire following the conclusion of the 2022 season. In that scenario, Payton would emerge as a viable candidate for the Seahawks’ head coaching job.

“They aren’t firing Pete Carroll, even if 2022 is full of lumps,” says Benjamin. “But it’s possible Carroll, 71 in September, could walk away from the game if he posts his second straight losing season as Seattle kicks off its post-Russell Wilson regime. In that case, who better to shepherd the real rebuild than a proven program-builder like Payton? Even if quarterback remains a question mark going into 2023, Payton might be intrigued at the thought of possessing four premium picks in the first two rounds of the 2024 draft — an opportunity to handpick core pieces to pair with big names like DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett and rookie tackle Charles Cross.”

Why the Seahawks Could Appeal to Payton

While the Seahawks look primed for a rebuilding season with Drew Lock or Geno Smith under center, 2023 could be a different story. Seattle possesses two extra early picks due to the Russell Wilson trade with the Denver Broncos and the franchise clearly has some nice building blocks in DK Metcalf and Rashaad Penny.

This wouldn’t be the first time Payton rebuilt a program into a contender. He did the same thing for the Saints back in 2006 when he took over a franchise that had gone 3-13 in the previous season and had won just one playoff game in their 39-year history up to that point.

Furthermore, while the defensive unit has some holes — the Seahawks are lacking a dominant pass rusher and playmaker at cornerback — Seattle could emerge as a contender again in 2023 with the right quarterback. Whether acquiring a quarterback happens via trade or drafting one remains to be seen, but the point remains that Seattle isn’t that far off from being a playoff team again.

It’s worth mentioning that it was only two seasons ago that the Seahawks won the NFC West with a 12-4 record.

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Report: Payton Interested in Cowboys, Dolphins and Chargers

Based upon a report from Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald, the top three teams currently being mentioned as teams of interest for Payton are the Miami Dolphins, Dallas Cowboys and Los Angeles Chargers.

“The source – emphasizing that Payton would never lobby for a filled job – said Miami is among the teams that would interest him, and he knows that first-hand,” said Jackson. “But the associate said he could also see Dallas and the Chargers among other teams that would interest Payton should their jobs become open.”

Barring a disastrous first season, it’s hard to envision to Dolphins firing Mike McDaniel. Meanwhile, Brandon Staley is entering just his second season with the Chargers.

If the Seahawks were to make a play for Payton, the Cowboys would likely represent their biggest challenge to hiring the former Super Bowl-winning coach. Considering Seattle is only a couple of pieces away from being a playoff team again, the Seahawks could emerge as a dark-horse candidate for Payton.

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