To Carroll, that's the free-agent side of things, something that has nothing to do with what happens on the field. This explains why Carroll has already declared an open competition at quarterback in training camp, with Flynn set to receive the same number of reps as incumbent Tarvaris Jackson and rookie Russell Wilson.
In Around the League's conversation with the coach, we brought up the widely held belief -- despite Carroll's public insistence otherwise -- that Flynn is the favorite to win the job on account of the $10 million in guaranteed money coming his way. Carroll dismissed the notion.
"It has nothing to do with it. And I've said that from the start; I came into the league saying I don't care how much you guys are getting paid, it's who plays the best," Carroll said. "That's free agency, you know? That's what that is. That's what it cost to get him in the free-agent market, but on the field, he ain't carrying around any money in his pocket."
Viewing your quarterback battle as a meritocracy makes sense at the collegiate level, where Carroll thrived during an extended run of excellence at USC. But as we wondered last week, won't the Seahawks have failed, on some level, if Flynn ends up being a richly-compensated backup?
"You have to go out there and play and he's doing it, he's really challenging for the job," Carroll said. "If he gets it, it will be because he earned it on the field."
It's Carroll's job to find the best starting lineup for Week 1, so you can understand his thinking on a base level. But you don't have to be a football insider to guess which horse Seattle's front office is pulling for in this race.