At the opening of Seahawks OTAs on Tuesday, Carroll told reporters that All-Pro safety Earl Thomas would handle punt-return duties if the season started today. Carroll added that Percy Harvin, Richard Sherman and Bryan Walters were also potential options to replace Tate, who was back on every punt but one in 2013.
Using Thomas is a risky proposition given the vital role he plays in Seattle's celebrated defensive scheme. There's also the financial side of things: Thomas signed a four-year, $40 million contract extension this offseason, making him one of the team's most expensive commodities.
Carroll's wording is important here: Thomas would get the nod if the season started today, which, you're probably aware, it does not. The Seahawks have months to identify another option to handle the role.
They probably will.