Yes, in the wake of Russell Wilson’s injury, Pete Carroll and the Seahawks reached out to Cam Newton.
And, yes, the Seahawks could still explore options at the quarterback position for as long as Wilson is out.
But Carroll sent a strong signal when he talked to the media Monday afternoon that the Seahawks are satisfied going forward for now with Geno Smith while Wilson is on injured reserve.
Asked if the Seahawks have talked to Newton, Carroll said: “We’re doing everything we can with everybody that’s available, always. And so I talked to him a couple times, just trying to see what was going on his world and all that. We’re wide open and continuing to compete with that and there was nothing to be done then. And you know we’re really counting on Geno to do the job. And that’s how the conversation went with him, too, we were counting on Geno to do the job and all that. So we’ll see. We’ll see what happens. I don’t know. I don’t know what’s going to happen next.”
Newton, the first overall pick in the 2011 draft and the 2015 NFL MVP, has been a free agent since being released by the Patriots at the end of the preseason. Newton had not been vaccinated at the time of his release but he said in a video released on his YouTube channel over the weekend that he is now vaccinated and wants to continue to play.
Newton also said in his video that he has been getting offers but that the situation “has to be right.”
And with Wilson possibly due back as early as a Nov. 14 game at Green Bay, both the Seahawks and Newton may be deciding that trying to be a quick fill-in for Wilson isn’t the right fit at the moment, especially with Seattle having the ability to turn to Smith, who has been with the Seahawks since 2019.
A report from CBSSports.com over the weekend stated that the most realistic return date for Wilson is a Nov. 21 home game against Arizona, which would mean missing three more games.
But Carroll said Monday he would not rule out Wilson being back as soon as the rules allow, which would be for the Green Bay game.
“I know Russell, and if it’s possible, it’s going to happen,” Carroll said. “… I don’t put anything beyond his capability.”
Wilson did an extensive workout at Heinz Field before Sunday night’s game with Carroll saying he went through roughly 200 plays, calling signals and making adjustments (he did so by himself and with no equipment).
“I don’t know if you guys saw him last night in the way he was preparing to go after it,” Carroll said. “He is not going to miss a trick.”
What also may have Seattle content to stay with its quarterback situation as it is for now is both the way Smith played against the Steelers and the way the Seahawks retooled their offense in the second half.
Seattle ran for a season-high 144 yards on 27 carries against the Steelers with 126 coming on 22 carries after halftime.
That followed a second quarter in which Seattle gained just nine yards on 10 plays — all called passes, as the Seahawks fell behind 14-0 at halftime.
Carroll said the team made “a commitment’’ at halftime to get back to running the ball.
Seattle’s ability to run it — with Alex Collins getting 79 yards on 13 carries in the third quarter alone — showed Carroll how the Seahawks are going to have to play while Wilson is out.
“I’s a really significant step for us, I think, particularly as Geno now is getting his feet on the ground,” Carroll said. “It’s really important that we do a really nice job here and so we’re gonna continue to stay with it. … It was a good, good turn for us.”
The improved running game also seemed to aid Smith in the second half as he completed 15 of 18 passes for 146 yards and led four scoring drives. The game ended in a thud for Smith with his fumble that gave the Steelers possession at the 16 and the chance to kick the game-winning field goal.
But overall, Carroll said he was pleased with the play of Smith.
On his weekly radio show on 710 ESPN Seattle, Carroll said Smith “was competing his tail off. He was calm. He was poised. He was in control. He handled everything really well throughout the whole thing and he was so upset that it comes down and he loses the football right there at the end.”
While Collins took some big hits in the game and also battled cramps and did not play in the overtime Carroll said he may be back for Monday night’s game with the Saints.
And Carroll said again Rashaad Penny will be back, giving Seattle needed depth at running back with Chris Carson out, especially with Carroll’s stated hope that Seattle will continue to emphasize the run over the next few weeks.
So that could mean the Seahawks stay with the status quo for now at QB.
Seattle brought in Blake Bortles for a tryout last week but did not sign him, instead re-signing Danny Etling to the practice squad as a third QB behind Smith and Jake Luton.
Luton was elevated to the 53 for Sunday’s game to serve as Smith’s backup but did not play.
Seattle can elevate Luton again this week against the Saints before he would have to go on the 53-man roster.
Newton started 15 games in 2020 for New England after playing from 2011-19 with the Panthers. The Patriots were 7-8 in his starts, one of which was a 35-30 loss to the Seahawks in Seattle in which Newton was stopped short of the goal line on a run from the 1-yard-line on the final play of the game. Newton threw eight TDs in 368 attempts last year, a career-low 2.2 touchdown percentage. But after a strong start to his season — including throwing for a season-high 397 yards against the Seahawks — he missed a Week Four game against Kansas City after testing positive for COVID-19 and the Patriots lost the next three games after his return en route to finishing 7-9 on the season.