Many fans of the Seattle Seahawks were ecstatic when new reports emerged late Monday that the team was planning on parting ways with defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr after four seasons in control of the defense. The unanswered question, of course, then became who Pete Carroll would choose as his next defensive coordinator, and fans were quick to drop the names of their favorites for the position.
The most commonly seen names so far have been Brian Flores, Kris Richard, Vic Fangio and, perhaps most often Dan Quinn. However, dreaming that Quinn might return to the Pacific Northwest in order to reprise his role as the next defensive coordinator of the Seahawks ignores one simple fact: He’s still under contract to be the defensive coordinator of the Dallas Cowboys.
Coaches like Flores and Fangio would certainly be available, because after having been fired by the Miami Dolphins and the Denver Broncos, respectively, they have no contractual obligations going forward. Kris Richard, who is the defensive backs coach for the New Orleans Saints, is available because teams cannot prohibit a coach from interviewing for a position with another team that would represent a promotion. So, as a position coach, Richard needs no approval whatsoever from the Saints in order to interview for or be offered a position that would be a promotion, in his situation meaning either defensive coordinator or head coach.
The same cannot be said for Quinn, who as noted is still contractually tied to the Dallas Cowboys as their defensive coordinator. Since he is a coordinator, the only available promotion for Quinn would be into a head coaching role, and that is not currently a position that is open in Seattle. So, the Hawks could request that the Cowboys release Quinn from his contract in order to take on the same role with the Seahawks, but after helping the Dallas defense improve from 29.6 points allowed per game in 2020 (28th) to 21.1 points per game in 2021 (7th), it seems doubtful Jerry Jones would be willing to just let Quinn leave.
That means that in order for the Hawks to bring in Quinn, they’d need to trade for him, and the simple fact is the team does not possess a whole lot of draft capital after sending their most valuable draft pick in more than a decade to the New York Jets as part of the Jamal Adams trade. Thus, the options for Seattle to bring back Quinn to run Carroll’s defense would involve giving up the limited draft capital the team possesses while still looking at a roster that is set to see three of five regular starters on the offensive line, the leading rusher, the top two tight ends, both starting cornerbacks, the starting free safety and half of the starting defensive line hit free agency. Meaning, the Hawks need all the draft capital they can get this offseason in order to plug holes while avoiding a 2018-style bargain basement free agency shopping spree.
For those who have forgotten, the fruits of 2018 free agency for the Seahawks included Brandon Marshall, Byron Maxwell, Sebastian Janikowski, Dontae Johnson, Shamar Stephen, Tom Johnson, D.J. Fluker, Jaron Brown, Barkevious Mingo, Ed Dickson and J.R. Sweezy was brought back during training camp. So, for those who would prefer to avoid a March free agency news cycle of such signings, the best option is likely for the Hawks to hold on to the draft picks it currently holds and not offer to send some of them to Jerry Jones in exchange for Quinn.
Short version of a lot of words, Dan Quinn isn’t going to be the Seahawks defensive coordinator in 2022, so fans might as well stopping putting his name out there.