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The Seahawks and Ravens defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald agreed to a deal making him Seattle's next head coach. The team confirmed the hiring later in the day.
According to multiple reports, Macdonald is receiving a six-year contract.
As ESPN.com's Brady Henderson reported, Macdonald brings a reputation as one of the league's brightest defensive minds, having led the Ravens to No. 1 in points allowed, sacks, and takeaways in 2023, his second season as Baltimore's coordinator.
In replacing 72-year-old Pete Carroll with 36-year-old Macdonald, the Seahawks are going from the NFL's oldest head coach to its youngest.
Macdonald interviewed with six teams about their vacancies: Seattle, the Atlanta Falcons, the Carolina Panthers, the Tennessee Titans, the Los Angeles Chargers, and the Washington Commanders.
Macdonald started as a Ravens coaching intern in 2014. He worked his way up Baltimore's coaching ladder for seven years before leaving to become the University of Michigan's defensive coordinator for one season. Head coach John Harbaugh then brought him back to Baltimore in 2022, where he again thrived working with Harbaugh and his staff, building a versatile scheme and calling plays.
Over Macdonald's two seasons in that role, Baltimore has allowed the second-fewest points (17.5) and the sixth-fewest yards (312.8) per game. In 2023, the Ravens became the first team in NFL history to lead the league in fewest points allowed (16.5), most sacks (60), and most takeaways (tied for first at 31) in the same season.
Asked about Macdonald shortly before today's hiring, Ravens Pro Bowl DB Kyle Hamilton told NFL Network's Cameron Wolfe, "He's super cerebral. Probably the smartest guy in the building. Don't tell him I said that... whatever is coming in his future, he deserves it."
Now we know what that future holds.
NFL.com's Nick Shook noted that Macdonald will aim to bring his defensive expertise and leadership skills into a new partnership with general manager John Schneider, who was retained following Carroll's departure and will continue to oversee the personnel side of the Seahawks' operation; this time with a younger coach alongside him.
"With Schneider's fingerprints already all over a young and talented defense in Seattle," Shook added, "Macdonald will have the tools to craft another winner."
Fantasy Impact in Seattle
Macdonald's defense shut down some of the best offenses in the league in the regular season, such as San Francisco and Miami, in back-to-back weeks, then continued that in the postseason. The Ravens defense only gave up three points to the Houston Texans and 17 to the Kansas City Chiefs.
But what about the offense?
That's to be determined as Macdonald assembles his staff. After moving on from Carroll, the Seahawks permitted their assistants to interview for other jobs. Several have already been hired elsewhere, including offensive coordinator Shane Waldron (hired as the Chicago Bears offensive coordinator) and defensive coordinator Clint Hurtt (to become the Philadelphia Eagles defensive line coach).
According to SI.com's Corbin Smith, there are three names to keep an eye on as offensive coordinator under Macdonald: Current Giants OC Mike Kafka with assistant head coach title (he had two interviews for the Seattle head coaching job), Ravens QBs coach Tee Martin, and Ravens offensive quality control coach Danny Breyer.
The Seahawks also have to decide this winter whether to proceed with Geno Smith as their starting quarterback in 2024. Smith's $12.7 million base salary for this season will become fully guaranteed on Feb. 16 if he's still on their roster.
Fantasy Impact in Baltimore
As the Ravens' success under Macdonald suggests, replacing him won't be easy. Harbaugh has some strong in-house candidates, including assistant head coach/defensive line coach Anthony Weaver, secondary coach Chris Hewitt, defensive backs coach Dennard Wilson, and inside linebackers coach Zach Orr. All have interviewed elsewhere for defensive coordinator or head coach openings (Weaver with Washington). ESPN's Adam Schefter immediately singled out Wilson as a prime candidate.
As for Batimore's offense, anything, like a less-potent defense, that puts the onus on Lamar Jackson and that unit to produce more points would be an outcome fantasy managers can get behind.