The Seahawks enjoyed a surprising level of success this season, with their transition to Geno Smith under center leading to a postseason berth and massively boosting the veteran’s free-agent value. Both parties have already begun the process of negotiating a new contract that will keep him in Seattle.
Head coach Pete Carroll confirmed that “preliminary talks” have been held between the Seahawks and Smith. The latter won out the team’s preseason QB competition (something he was not expected to do) and wound up playing every snap of the season en route to a Pro Bowl nod and multiple franchise passing records. His performance in Seattle’s wild-card loss to San Francisco – in which he committed two turnovers – did not dissuade the team from attempting to keep him in 2023 and beyond.
“He had an excellent game for us in that game,” Carroll said, via Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times. “And even though the turnovers happened… he played really well just to show you again that he’s on it and we got our guy. We need to hopefully work things out so he’s with us… There’s business to be done there, of course. But there’s really no lid to what we can do. The sky’s the limit. That, along with returning him with his leadership factor that he had, he’s a big deal to us, and I just couldn’t be more tickled by the way the whole thing turned out and how he handled it. And really as we look to the future, he’s a big part of why we look to the future more promisingly.”
Smith played out the 2022 season on a one-year, $3.5M contract; incentives allowed him to double his earnings for the year. He will significantly outpace that figure on a new contract of any kind this offseason, though his uninspiring stint as a starter with the Jets, and the years spent strictly as a backup that followed, make the 32-year-old an interesting case study. Seattle also has the option of using the franchise tag to keep in him place on a one-year deal (or at least extend the window to continue negotiations into July).
Talks between the sides come against the backdrop of backup Drew Lock also heading into free agency. The former Broncos' second-rounder was expected to win the summer QB competition but wound up sitting the entire campaign due to Smith’s success. Carroll doubled down on his compliments of Lock, repeating that he hopes to have the 26-year-old back in the Emerald City next year.
By virtue of the Russell Wilson trade, however, Seattle owns the fifth overall pick in the upcoming draft. That could provide the team with an opportunity to land a long-term answer at the position, something which may be less likely now than it would have seemed before the campaign. Carroll nevertheless called this year’s class of passers “extraordinary” and acknowledged the rarity of having the draft capital the team currently does as it relates to drafting franchise QBs.
Regardless of the Seahawks’ plans down the road, their ability to keep Smith under contract for at least 2023 is shaping up to be their top offseason priority. Their success in the negotiations to come will likely dictate their other moves in free agency and the draft.
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