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Whisenhunt owes Carroll a thank you

Now that the Pete Carroll hiring in Seattle is official it’s time for Ken Whisenhunt to get to the nearest Hallmark store and purchase that $4 ‘Thank You’ card.

Because no one in the NFL will benefit more from Carroll’s hiring than Whisenhunt himself.

Carroll signed a 5-year contract for a mind boggling $33 million dollars. The Cardinals head coach is making $2.5 million a year on a four-year contract with a fifth year team option. Carroll went 33-31 in four seasons when he did coach in the NFL with New England and the New York Jets.

Whisenhunt, who is in his third season as head coach of Arizona, took the Cardinals to the Super Bowl last season and has a chance to take them back again this season.

Whisenhunt has one-year left on his deal not counting the option year and you have to believe that the Carroll signing just cost Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill a lot more money.

The original thought was that Whisenhunt would accept a contract of double the salary — somewhere in the neighborhood of a four-year deal for $20 million dollars. Now you have to wonder if that will be enough. Is Whisenhunt worth more than Carroll? Shoud he at least get equal value? Could the price tag for Whisenhunt now be at $6 million or more per season?

Whisenhunt and his agent will certainly use the Carroll contract to their advantage in contract negotiations that should and are expected to take place after this season is over. The Cardinals can justify a new deal because Whisenhunt will be entering the final year of his contract although there is a team option for a fifth season. And they really are caught between a rock and a hard place.

They absolutely can not afford to upset or insult the most successful coach in franchise history. They are going to have no choice but to pay the man to keep him happy and make sure that he doesn’t play the current contract out and then flee to the highest bidder. Make no mistake that Whisenhunt would be the hottest coaching candidate available should he ever hit free agency.

So while Whisenhunt will match wits with Carroll two times next year and it will make things more interesting in the NFC West, for now he certainly owes the man a debt of gratitude. Because Seattle and its owner Paul Allen clearly “showed Carroll the money” and Whisenhunt knows darn well that he is going to benefit from it.