Curtis Allen: Talking through a Geno Smith extension

November 24th, 2022 | Written by Rob Staton

This is a guest article by Curtis Allen…

With Geno Smith giving the Seahawks ten games of fantastic play so far this season, he has made a major step from being a stopgap providing a handful of good games to something more. It is now time to start seriously considering his future with the team beyond this season.

Right at the outset, I would encourage you to read this piece with an open mind and a sober perspective. There are many variables to this situation and the Seahawks have several options. They also have many complex factors to consider.

I would never claim to have all the answers and I seriously doubt NFL General Managers have clear answers at this point either. Survey ten of them on Geno Smith’s prospects for 2023 and you probably wouldn’t get a consensus opinion on how his situation will work out.

What we can do is work through some of the potential options the Seahawks have available to them.

Let’s tackle the hardest question first.

What Will Geno Smith’s Market Value Be?

That is a real challenge. In the modern NFL that is crazy for quarterbacks, Smith’s surge from career backup to star player in his ninth season is not completely without precedent but it is so rare it makes it hard to predict what he will command as a free agent with only one good season to his name at age 32.

Looking at what is out there and gauging for an increase in the 2023 salary cap number, I believe Geno Smith can expect to get a contract between $25 – $32 million per season with about 40-45% of it guaranteed. How did I come up with that range?

There are currently five quarterbacks in the neighborhood of that contract (Tannehill, Ryan, Wentz, Goff, and Cousins). They constitute the lower end of starting quarterbacks that are established on veteran contracts.

Yes, it is easy to look at those players, compare Smith’s numbers this year to theirs and reason that he has been outplaying most of them and therefore deserves more than they are getting. That certainly will be Smith’s agent’s argument.

But two key factors keep his value in check: his body of work and his age.

Smith entered 2022 with a career 58.8% completion percentage and more interceptions than touchdowns. Six full years of little to no activity on the field and only seventeen games as a starter in 2022 make it extremely difficult to project enough success in the next three to four seasons to leverage a contract offer that vaults him into a range of the top 10-15 quarterback salaries.

As for Wentz, Goff, Ryan and even Tannehill — those players are arguments against giving Smith a large contract just as much as they are for him.

Wentz and Goff are the beneficiaries of being extended earlier than they should have in an attempt to get ahead of the exploding market.

The Eagles, Colts and Commanders played ‘hot potato’ with Wentz’ awful contract and he’s currently struggling to get ahead of Taylor Heinicke in Washington.

We know all about Goff. The Rams bought out his fifth-year option early and regretted it. They traded two first-round picks and ate $22 million to get him off their roster and bring Matthew Stafford in. The Lions designed a system around his limitations and have had some success on offense this year. Yet as defenses have adjusted, he has regressed back to being just Jared Goff.

Ryan was the same age that Geno Smith will be next year when he signed his last extension. He had an MVP trophy and a Super Bowl appearance on his resume and had an excellent season in 2018 — but has struggled to keep his pace of play up since then. The Falcons ate $42 million of dead cap and only got a third-round pick in his trade to the Colts.

Tannehill has been battling injuries and has yet to really work through the Titans trading away most of their star wide receivers.

Cousins is the best of the lot but we can all agree he has yet to really elevate the Vikings. He also masterfully played himself into a higher tier of pay with the franchise tag game. You could make a case that his $35 million contract is his ceiling.

So, you see the landscape is littered with expensive contracts that players are not living up to.

However, those players above had two things when they signed their contract extensions that Geno Smith does not: a solid, sustained body of work and all but Ryan were at an age that allowed teams to project a reasonable degree of athletic ability without decline over the course of the contract.

Giving Smith a contract that tops those players at age 33 after seventeen games would be a real shot in the dark. Most owners and general managers would want to leverage their risk by not offering any more than what those quarterbacks are currently making. The length of the deal is a real factor at Smith’s age as well.

Of course, there is always the outlier. The one franchise that outbids everyone and blows the market up (looking at you, Cleveland). I can accept the possibility that some owner or general manager may be so enamored with Geno they may bid against themselves and offer such an uncomfortably high price that the Seahawks may need to just thank Geno for a fantastic season and walk away.

The Seahawks will enter this process with a set range that is reasonable for them and stick to it. In my view, a $25-$32 million AAV contract is that appropriate range for talks.

It may be that – as Rob has suggested – the Seahawks ask Geno Smith to shop the market and bring the best offer back to them in order to see what they can do. Let the market come to them instead of trying to chase it. The factors I mentioned make that a logical plan.

That is a scary proposition for many fans. The thought of bringing back Drew Lock, another veteran or a draft pick and planning for them to be as successful as Smith has been is not a comfortable prospect. Having been pleasantly surprised by this most unexpected season, fans have rightly expressed a ‘let’s keep a good thing going’ groundswell of positivity that naturally extends to wanting to keep Smith on the roster.

Other than negotiating an extension before the new league year begins, there is only one way to do that.

Is the Franchise Tag a Real Option?

The 2023 tag for quarterbacks is projected to be about $31.5 million. That is within the window I mentioned for an agreeable yearly range. Can the Seahawks make that work?

Yes they can. But should they?

It would be fraught with peril.

First off, it would take a significant amount of the Seahawks’ salary cap off the market, at a time where they will need to fill some holes on the roster.

The Seahawks have about $53.8 million of cap space in 2023 currently as projected by OTC. Franchising Smith would take that available number down to $22.3 million. The Seahawks’ large number of draft picks in 2023 makes their rookie pool larger – OTC is projecting about $14 million.

That leaves about $8.3 million left to fill the last 8-10 roster spots and leaves zero cap cushion to tender restricted free agents, fill the practice squad and cover injured players or any incentive money that needs to be counted against the cap.

The Seahawks would need to be very creative to make the franchise tag work. That mostly means cutting and replacing expensive players with cheaper models and hoping the drop-off in play is not commensurate. They would need a very deft touch to make it work for them. They could do it — but it would mean playing closer to the razor’s edge than they have traditionally been comfortable with.

Secondly, the franchise tag brings implications with it. It is fully guaranteed money. It sets the bar for extension negotiations. $31.5 million guaranteed is the starting point. A second tag nets him a 20% raise to $37.8 million fully guaranteed. A request for a $65-70 million guarantee in this year’s negotiations could be put on the table. Again, that may be a bridge too far for the Seahawks.

There is a factor with the tag where his age comes into play again. Players that are franchise tagged typically have a long career ahead of them. Smith might not. Imagine you are a 33-year-old player with $11 million in career NFL earnings (Smith’s number according to OTC). And now you have a chance to earn nearly triple that in just one season – fully guaranteed.

Smith might be truly tempted to not want to negotiate a long-term extension. To take that one season tag and bet on himself. If he has a second very good season on his resume, his bargaining position in the free agent market is vastly strengthened. If he does not, he has in one year boosted his career money from $11 million to $42 million and that is awfully hard to be disappointed about.

You cannot project how placing the tag on Smith will precisely work out. Smith has not been a player the Seahawks have easily re-signed each year. He keeps his own counsel and how he would react after a life-changing season is anything but predictable. The Seahawks could tag him thinking they could get an extension done by July to lower the 2023 cap hit and find themselves stuck.

The risks appear to outweigh the benefits at this moment.

Is it worth the gamble of infringing upon your roster-building freedom to tag him with a fully guaranteed contract for one year of play? It vastly limits your options and makes the margin of error very, very thin.

Not tagging Smith is a gamble. But it is a gamble that the Seahawks are well-advised to strongly consider.

An Extension that Could Work for Both Sides

What would the Seahawks’ goals be in signing Geno to an extension?

Continuity would be a great benefit — and one that they could negotiate on as something that is mutually beneficial.

The upside for Smith staying is just as high as the Seahawks keeping him – he would get to work with two All-Pro quality wide receivers, three solid tight ends, a brilliant running back with fresh legs in Ken Walker and have his back guarded by bookend tackles. All orchestrated by a coach and offensive coordinator that have proven themselves able and willing to maximize his skillset.

It is very hard to see Smith stepping onto another team and having all those factors available to him.

They also want to reward him for a fantastic 2022. The numbers he is delivering thus far, while making a paltry $3.5 million plus incentives, are phenomenal.

As an organization, the Seahawks have done well at awarding results. Signing him to a healthy extension would be a move that continues to underline to the young players that the team rewards strong play no matter where you were drafted or what your previous record of play was.

The public would also welcome the move – particularly in light of the breath of fresh air that Geno and Seahawks have blown through Seattle in the wake of the Russell Wilson trade.

On the flipside, the Seahawks would also need to address the elephant in the room – Geno’s age and the possibility that he had one magical season and could regress in 2023 and beyond.

That and the reality of the upcoming draft. The Seahawks will likely pick very high in 2023 and there are several enticing prospects. Reason and circumstance could dictate that this is their best shot at getting their quarterback of the future.

Both of those factors would strongly argue that the extension, while healthy, should have some potential outs for the Seahawks.

It would also be ideal if the contract includes a 2023 season that is friendly to the cap and allows the team the ability to keep adding necessary pieces.

With those things in mind, here is what I am proposing:

A three-year contract with about 40% guaranteed, with a roster bonus in March 2024.

Since the overall number range is too unknown to absolutely pinpoint it at this time, I used my proposed range of $25 million – $32 million per season and drew up contracts for the high and low numbers:

As you can see, this rewards Geno with a first-year payout of $19-25 million (signing bonus plus guaranteed 2023 salary). He immediately nearly triples his career earnings.

It gives him the security of further guaranteed money in future years, at $12.5-15.5 million in salary.

He gets his franchise tag amount guaranteed and a chunk of money up front, gets to play for an organization that has demonstrated it is invested in his success and the Seahawks get continuity and flexibility.

It provides the Seahawks with room on the 2023 cap, with a cap hit between of $9-11 million. They have room to both add and cut players as they see fit in a critical offseason.

They also now have the option of letting the draft come to them if they like. Instead of desperately paying a king’s ransom for the #1 or #2 pick to fill their quarterback-shaped roster hole, they can either let a premium quarterback fall to them or ignore quarterbacks completely and take the most dynamic player on their board and stock their roster for years to come.

It also provides flexibility for the Seahawks at the quarterback position itself. If they do draft a quarterback in 2023, they can redshirt him and have him ready to take the reins in 2024. It also offers some protection should Smith turn back into a pumpkin in 2023.

Exploring the Benefit of the Roster Bonus

Teams often use the roster bonus as a tool to force both sides back to the table.

Players like it because it can give them either another chunk of change in addition to their signing bonus or their freedom to explore the market.

Teams enjoy the way to gauge player performance and either be free of an underperforming player, or keep the player and have some cap flexibility in their back pocket to free up some cap money. It also gives the team some security, as it further incentivizes good play. A healthy roster bonus can be quite the carrot to keep a player focused.

For both sides, it could be much more than a decision deadline to pay the bonus or not. It could spur a total reworking of the entire contract and provide further benefits, security and flexibility for both sides.

A roster bonus of $18-24 million due in March lets both sides see where they are after a year. The Seahawks then have options.

*If the Seahawks for any reason want to go in another direction, they can cut or trade him before the bonus is due

As you can see, if the Seahawks decide to trade Smith before the roster bonus deadline, there is some dead cap to eat: $10-14 million. The cap savings are very real though: $21-29 million.

A best-case scenario could be spun where the Seahawks draft a top quarterback in 2023 and Smith has a terrific season on the field. The draft pick is ready to start in 2024, the Seahawks offer Smith to a trade partner for a nice draft pick, open up a handsome chunk of cap space and the team trading for Smith gets two years of a solid quarterback for a very reasonable cap hit (the roster bonus and contract could also be reworked by the new team, or the Hawks could pay a chunk of the bonus in exchange for more or better picks in trade).

If the worst happens and need to cut him, you can see it will be costly but there will still be significant cap savings.

If the relationship is still mutually beneficial and they want to continue together after 2023, they can either leave the bonus as is or the Seahawks can have language in the contract that allows them to convert it to a signing bonus and spread the cap hit between 2024 and 2025:

If they split the roster bonus up, they have a very reasonable $22-$31 million cap hit in 2024 for the quarterback position.

And as you can see, if after 2024 they decide to part ways, they can cut Smith and gain $25.5-$31.5 million of cap room.

What About the Dead Cap Money in This Deal?

That is a real concern. However, the contract as constructed gives both the team and the player more than one chance to rework it — with options to ease the cap burden.

But just as is, it would appear that I have set up this contract in every way to accrue dead cap money that is significant somewhere along the line.

I have. That is simply the price you pay for having an excellent quarterback with low early cap hits, a workable amount of risk and some flexibility.

The truth is, if the Seahawks have another great draft, they can afford to spend a little bit of money in this way. They will have rookie contracts with low salaries all over the field contributing greatly and can afford some cap space that is not productive.

Another perspective: The Seahawks have managed to seamlessly go from Russell Wilson to Geno Smith without missing a beat and in some real ways, they’re even better. All without the complete tank job of a rebuilding year.

If they play their cards right they could put themselves in a position to keep progressing with Smith or to find his predecessor and keep the transition far less painful than your standard rebuild would be. Or do both!

With the ever-increasing salary cap and the chance to do something incredibly rare, it is worth the risk. If they were to pull it off, this era could create a very special place among the historically great Seahawks teams. A hit of $15-25 million in dead cap charges would crumble and blow away into the dust of history.

75 Responses to “Curtis Allen: Talking through a Geno Smith extension”

  1. Steve Nelsen says:

    This is by far the best-written most well thought out piece on a Geno contract extension that I have seen.

  2. Roy Batty says:

    It’s that pesky Broncos pick that has me wondering what may happen. When the regular season ends they will know if they have a shot at their preferred QB, if they are even thinking they need to draft a QB with that high a pick.

    Worst case scenario is that they might have to settle on a game wrecker like Carter, if he doesn’t go #1. Oh the horror.

    It’s very strange to be in the middle of a good season with the Hawks and still be amped about April 27th.

  3. Joshua Smith says:

    Thanks Curtis!
    I’m really curious how other GMs/Coaches see Geno. The way Russ (And Geno for that matter) is playing might scare some into thinking Petes system makes QBs look better than they are…
    They (other GM) sign Geno for 30m a year and he comes out flat in a new system just like Russ did. But with Russ at least Den can argue that his body of work justified the contract. NO ONE legitimately thought Wilson would look this awful.
    A GM giving Geno a huge contract after one good season (possibly in a offense that covers his weaknesses and accentuates his strengths) would risk looking extremely foolish, publicly, to a lot of folks.. When GMs sign a 33 year old QB they expect immediate results and don’t want to wait a year or two for them to “learn the system”. The Broncos can only hope that this is Russ’s issue and he comes back to form next season. Russ’s historic “form” is probowl caliber. Geno’s historic form is an “ok” back up QB…
    I’ve rambled enough.
    Good day all! 🌞🌈

  4. DriveByPoster says:

    Nice article, cha. It’s a fascinating situation, isn’t it!

    Geno’s previous attitude, i.e. not just signing the first bit of paper that is shoved under his nose but waiting the process out, suggests to me that he will be looking for the biggest payday ha can get, with no particular loyalty to his current team. After all, they haven’t really shown him any have they! So, looking at it from his point of view for a moment, I don’t think he will be happy with the ‘test the market & give us a chance to match it’ approach. I don’t see why, just looking at it from a purely financial perspective, he would put the Seahawks in such a privileged position.

    If it were me I would be tempted to decline & counter with the line that they should make me an offer &, if it’s better than anyone else, I’ll sign. That still leaves him with the option to come back to them for a counter-offer if he wants to, but it puts him in control of the process rather than ceding it to the Seahawks. Unless the ‘hawks are happy to move forward with Drew Lock (which they might be), then they are unlikely to say no to that. It might be a risky approach for him to take as it’s possible that he doesn’t get any offers from elsewhere, but I think Geno will bet on himself to get a good deal. Of course, this is pure speculation based on no real knowledge of Geno as a person.

    On a ligher note…
    //they could put themselves in a position to keep progressing with Smith or to find his predecessor//
    I think the Broncos would be very grateful if they could find Geno’s predecessor. He was last seen getting on a bus headed for Denver but doesn’t seem to have arrived yet!
    😀

    • Paul says:

      Plus, this may well be Geno’s best shot at a huge payday. Anyway, it’s hard to blame these guys for wanting the best deal they can get.

  5. Denver Hawker says:

    Nice write up Curtis.

    I’ve really enjoyed roster/draft planning each week as the circumstances change- usually I avoid that to see how the chips fall.

    That said, that Bronco pick probably is a big variable. Top 5 vs 10-15 is razor thin in the W-L column. If Geno finishes out this way and hawks have no chance at the top QBs in the draft- I have to think Geno has more leverage.

    Also, I wonder if Geno is old enough (wise) to recognize the chemistry and 2012 vibes building- if so, he very well could be content to accept a hometown discount recognizing that squeezing the Hawks ultimately hurts him and his teammates. I haven’t really seen it in the NFL often but he doesn’t strike me as overly entitled.

    • Joshua Smith says:

      At the same time I would not blame him for chasing the money. This is most assuredly his last opportunity at a big payday and he has put himself in a good position to cash in.
      If he had already made 40-50m through his career I could see him taking a little less to finish his career strong in Seattle.
      But Cha just noted he hasnt made a ton of money (relatively speaking) in 10 yrs.
      He should go after the big time cash if he’s offered.

      I guess it just depends on his motivations… But how many mid level QBs do you remember from 20 years ago? Unless he wins a SB or two I can’t imagine he’s too worried about his NFL legacy

  6. MJ says:

    Excellent breakdown on Geno’s contract situation, it ties in with Rob’s question to Pete in London and is critical to their off-season plans in the draft and free agency. This is the only place where you’ll get that level of insight specific to the Hawks. Thanks for your work and Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

  7. Trevor says:

    Nice writeup Curtis and well thought out.

    Love the idea of letting the market set Geno’s value because I would be shocked if any team steps up with a mega offer $30 mil + for multiple years. There have been several veteran QBs who have turned one good year or stretch into big contracts Nick Foles immediately comes to mind and also the mid-range veterans you mentioned in the article. None of those deals have worked out particularly well for the teams. Given Geno’s age and history prior to 2022 it would be a huge sell for a GM to make to an owner and certainly one that gets someone fired if it does not work out.

    What teams would realistically be in the Geno market? Perhaps Washington or Indy but who else?

    • cha says:

      Thanks Trevor.

      What teams would realistically be in the Geno market?

      QB is the hardest one to gauge before the season is over. As head coaches get fired, the ground shifts in the QB market.

    • Cambs says:

      The Jets make a lot of sense on paper. What a story that would be.

      Curtis, this is a fantastic breakdown, thank you.

      • Peter says:

        Great story on paper for sure.

        I get the sense Geno hates that town and that media.

        There are tons of weird advantages to playing in Seattle namely you don’t have to hear it from the media for right and sometimes wrong.

  8. Hawksorhiking? says:

    Great write up! I hope they don’t try to lowball him too much if they do offer him a contract to start the bidding. It’s definitely pissed off a few players over the years. I also think letting the market come to them is the smart play, albeit with its own risks.

  9. AlaskaHawk says:

    Great analysis Curtis. I love looking at dollars and think you have some reasonable ones.

    I don’t know that his age is that big an issue. At this point we are talking about three more years of performance which shouldn’t be that hard to achieve considering he isn’t going to run that often. Best thing for longevity is to throw the ball quickly like Brady does in 2.4 seconds. That doesn’t fit the long ball strategy but as long as he has some short routes to pass to.

    Considering his long career without getting much money, I think the key to his contract will be the guaranteed money. This is the only way that he has a guaranteed pay day despite his age, performance, or injuries. So I believe that will be the biggest discussion point of any contract he receives.

    • cha says:

      I think the key to his contract will be the guaranteed money. This is the only way that he has a guaranteed pay day despite his age, performance, or injuries. So I believe that will be the biggest discussion point of any contract he receives.

      Always is.

      I personally get tickled when some slightly above-average player signs a 5 year $120 million contract and the league’s collective heads explodes. Then 24 hours later we find out that only like $27 million of it is actually guaranteed.

    • cha says:

      I don’t know that his age is that big an issue.

      It may not be a deal-breaker but it’s a real concern to factor in for sure.

      There are 7 NFL starters older than Geno right now:

      Brady
      Rodgers
      Ryan
      Cousins
      Stafford
      Tannehill
      RW

      Eight if you count Andy Dalton as a starter.

      A healthy portion of those guys are really struggling with health and skill decline.

      An argument could be made for all of them that their best years are behind them.

      Any team that isn’t building some decline into their projection of what Geno can do for them and work that into a contract proposal will very likely pay a price on the cap and on the field that is less than ideal.

  10. Gaux Hawks says:

    C’mon Sam Darnold, Go Panthers!

    Big opportunities for the Browns, Bears and Steelers to grab wins too…

    Maybe even the Lions can pull off an upset…

    Big holiday weekend for our draft pick…

    Go Hawks!

  11. 12th chuck says:

    Thanks to yourself and Rob, your both above and beyond quality content this year. When its all said and done, I just hope the front office has the patience to not bid against themselves as they have over the last few years.

  12. Palatypus says:

    Thank you, Curtis, and happy Thanksgiving.

    This is weird. So when I was at Senior Bowl practice there was this really attractive lady mingling with all of us football nerds in the bleachers. I knew she was a reporter for someone. But I just couldn’t figure it out. It just dawned on me while watching Buffalo at Detroit.

    Tracy Wolfson.

  13. Ashish says:

    Very technical indept article even NFL GM will appreciate the details included here.

    My vote will be to wait for season to end if Geno’s asking price is more we can lean on Lock who now have a year on his belt to learn the offense importance of protecting the ball etc.

    If Geno is not signed for next year we will know to draft a QB no need to pay Geno more and spoil roster balance $$ wise. Russ 9 time pro bowler is struggling in new offense so other team will not give big contract to Geno so we can wait and see.

    Thanks Cha for sharing JS article after reading i was at peace on Adams trade hope he will fix it next year.

  14. Romeo A57 says:

    Thanks CHA, I may be in the minority but I need to see more from Geno before I would commit to paying him $30 Million per year. He has been ineffective for much of the games against the better Defenses in the Denver, Tampa and San Francisco games. The Seahawks need to be very careful here. I am in the Geno will turn into a Pumpkin camp.

    • cha says:

      He has been ineffective for much of the games against the better Defenses in the Denver, Tampa and San Francisco games

      I personally am comfortable with giving him partial credit for good halves in both the Denver and Tampa games and writing off the SF game as a bad week for the whole team.

    • Peter says:

      I’m not in the turn into a pumpkin camp.

      I’m also not in the mvp camp.

      I think Geno has been immensely efficient. A hobbled detroit is maybe the only time I saw Geno getting after it.

      Not trying to argue with his fans but the second quarter (of the season,) “explosion,” coincided with Walker getting up to full speed and grabbing a seasons worth of TD’s in five games.

      From a pay geno standpoint assuming Waldron is still here next year I think Seattle would do right by giving him a fair chunk of cash and trying their best to have another great draft.

  15. Blitzy the Clown says:

    Just about to get into this humdinger of an article (thanks cha!) but had ask first…

    What the hell is going on in Detroit?

    Happy thanksgiving SDB!

  16. Big Mike says:

    Thank you so much for the article Curtis. I think when all is said and done and after some posturing on both sides he will eventually sign in the 27 million range because it benefits both sides for him to stay.

  17. JimQ says:

    Just a reminder to VOTE:
    For those who want to show some fan support for some of our “stars” or near “stars”.
    https://www.nfl.com/pro-bowl-games/vote/

  18. Canadian Hawk says:

    Wonderful write up Curtis.

    Well thought out and easy to understand.

    I hope we keep Geno.
    He’s certainly earned the paycheck that’s coming his way.

    Any merit to signing him mid-season or wait till after the draft?

  19. Pran says:

    I believe it’s playoffs and how he performs in playoffs will decide Geno’s market value. Without playoffs it will be 20-25 per year on a 1-2 yrs deal at best is the ceiling.

    • Peter says:

      Seattle feels likely to get to the playoffs.

      I still have the nfc east sending two teams. I guess if Seatlle really stumbles and Washington or the Giants pick it up the east could send three teams.

      I’m kind of leaning to Geno’s contract being easier to stomach than a few weeks back.

      Houston and Carolina feel like locks for QB’s in the draft. Lions possibly but they have trade capital and probably native draft positioning to get the third rated qb.

      Jets need a qb but their record will probably put them at find a free agent level talent.

      Indy with Irsay and the veterans I think he might be the person who most likely would do one of those multiple firsts over several years draft moves.

      There’s some weird teams to be sure like the Saints that pursue Geno I just don’t see a lot of teams throwing a ton of cash at him. Not cause he’s bad. Just finding a free agent qb has rarely changed a teams fortunes.

  20. Hoggs41 says:

    They could also give him the transition tag which would be $28m. I really only see three teams that they could be competing against us and that is Indy, New Orleans and Washington and I dont see any of them giving him $25-$30m. My gut tells me it will be 2 years $45m with $25m in year 1. If you give him a $10m signing bonus it allows you to get out of it with only $5m in dead money. Teams can use the Case Keenum deal and see these guys might only be valuable to there current team and not bite.

  21. James P says:

    I’m not a big cap guy in any way but I just wanted to highlight how lucky we are to get these sorts of articles from you cha. Fantastic writing and helps bring some life and clarity to what can be a dry and confusing topic. This stuff is top drawer.

  22. Andy J says:

    Loved this write up! Big thanks.

    Question: what teams do you actually think would be willing to offer Geno a big contract???? My impression is that most teams are locked-in to their QB1. Or pining on young rookie talent. I still think there is a good probability that the market undervalues him. Really hoping the Hawks get a steal.

    I see this as an entirely reasonable, and defendable, contract / approach. I am a bit worried about dead money. The 2-3 year contracts Seahawks give out to mid-tier talent has handicapped them in the past. They gotta switch things up! But if there is a time to do it, 2024-2025 is it. And there is the possibility of a trade.

    I also want to push back on the Geno hype:
    – leading the league in dropped INTs (I’ve seen it, you’ve seen it, the date don’t lie… there is some major luck involved in Geno’s success)
    – hasn’t lead a game-winning drive yet (I refuse to believe in a QB until he performs at the highest level under the most intense pressure). Geno still needs a defining game / moment. So far when those moments have arrived, he ended up on the losing side.
    – the ending of the season and playoffs is, thus, going to play a BIG part in Geno’s evaluation. horse-cart situation here. if the season ends with a whimper and not a bang are we going to feel the same way??
    – Geno doesn’t have the highest ceiling. Game managers might be replaceable.

    I do think a 2-3 year rental for Geno would be wise. I think he could actually be better next year with a full offseason to be the dude. It provides a lot, a llllllllllllot, of draft flexibility. I love his leadership. This team is Viking. The team will play for him!

    • Andy J says:

      *vibing lolz

    • AlaskaHawk says:

      I’ve been checking off the things I would like in a quarterback and Geno has met most of them.

      One thing missing has been that killer instinct in the 4 th quarter. He has shown it in one game about 2-3 weeks ago, I forget which one. Also still has a tendency to freeze up when he is caught in a hard pass rush. I’m hoping that he will improve in these areas, just as he has improved in other areas such as pass completions.

      Overall he has shown the ability to throw a variety of passes with good timing. I think Geno is most successful if the Seahawks can resist long developing plays and use the short passing game in combination with hard running. That’s on play calling and coaching and not on the quarterback.

      So let’s see if he has more fourth quarter drives to finish the season. Of course a win over the 49ers would be a big resume builder and probably add millions to his contract offers.

  23. Sean-O says:

    Great breakdown!

    It will be fascinating to see what ends up happening. Pete is so complimentary when it comes to Geno (and Lock). But business is business. I’m sure SEA has a number in mind & hopefully has some flexibility with it.

    If for some reason Geno ends up somewhere else in ’23, there are some interesting names out there. No one high-end but some decent, solid options potentially. These are some of the guys scheduled to be UFA’s (that could be a little more budget-friendly) :

    Baker Mayfield
    Sam Darnold
    Jimmy Garoppolo
    Daniel Jones
    Mason Rudolph
    Jacoby Brissett
    Taylor Heinicke
    Andy Dalton
    Gardner Minshew

    Let’s use Minshew as an example, would we be ok with him as the starter in SEA at like 30-50% of the cost of Geno? Maybe a Minshew/Lock combo? SEA may able to get them both under contract for like 50-65% of Geno makes in ’23. I might honestly be ok with those options.

    • Steve Nelsen says:

      “Would we be OK with him (Minshew) at 30-50% of the cost of Geno?”

      I think this off-season QB competition showed us that familiarity with the system is a huge advantage. It would be a challenge for Minshew or any of the other “almost average” FA QBs to beat Drew Lock if Geno is gone next year. And until Lock shows he is capable of improving his decision-making projecting anything better than 7-10 with him as starter in 2023 is wishful thinking.

      The rest of the season (including playoffs) will determine Geno’s market. I hope he kills it and earns a nice 2-year deal near the top of cha’s projected range with a 3rd year to manage the cap hit.

    • Elmer says:

      At this point they might like Lock better than any of these. A mid-round draft choice might give them a rookie QB who could be an acceptable backup. Instinct tells me they are in a mindset of being very careful about spending money on a FA QB. And SF may want to keep Jimmy G.

    • Roy Batty says:

      I don’t see Jimmy G as being an affordable option. The way he’s been playing lately, and if he continues at that pace, he will command a good contract from someone.

      Minshew is the wild card. Who knows what teams will pay him? He’s a fan favorite around the league and has proven capable on the field. I don’t think he gets a leg up on Lock from Pete, though.

      The rest are a HARD pass. Not a single one would be able to match what Geno has done this year, so I doubt John and Pete will be willing to downgrade with Lock in the wings, already knowing the system.

      • Andy J says:

        Isn’t Tom Brady also a free-agent??? I keep reading contradictory information.

        And LAMAR JACKSON!!!

        & don’t forget Cooper Rush, at least as a hedge.

        And lot of chatter about Aaron Rodgers being a FA and coming to the Seahawks.

        I seriously wonder if a team other than the Seahawks are going to be clamoring for Geno as the future. I seriously wonder if the Seahawks might not be tempted by a potential upgrade or cost-savings.

  24. Romeo A57 says:

    I agree with Rob about waiting for the market set the price for Geno in the offseason. There are several teams that will be looking for a QB upgrade in the offseason. Many of them will not be in a position to draft one of the top QBs in the draft. I just can’t see many of these teams offering $30 Million per year for Geno to come, learn their system, and be productive. Let’s see how desperate someone is for a QB upgrade.

    How many of these teams have $30 Million to throw at Geno?

    Do the NY teams want to go through the Geno experiment again?

    Is Geno that much of an upgrade over Carr or Jimmy G?

    Would teams like GB or TB, after losing HOF QBs, want to bring Geno in a high-end bridge QB?

  25. TatupuTime says:

    Just an amazing comprehensive look at the Geno situation. Head and shoulders above any other article I’ve seen on the topic. I find it pretty comforting seeing what look like very workable options for both Geno/Seahawks. I’m fully onboard the keep Geno train. Thanks Cha.

  26. samprassultanofswat says:

    Here is my take on Geno Smith. Geno Smith has been fantastic. Geno Smith is playing like Russell Wilson 2012-2011. Russell Wilson is playing like Geno Smith 2013-2011. They have reversed their stats. No doubt about it. Yes Smith is playing at a higher level. He does have a ton of talent around him. The offensive line has performed at a much higher level this year. Compared to years past. The Seahawks have Tyler Lockette and D.k. Metcalf. A nice variety of Tight Ends. A rookie of the year candidate at running back. Folks this offense is LOADED. The question is how well would Geno Smith perform with another team? For example the Jets. Patience is running extremely short at the Meadowlands( Jets/Giant). Or another team. Will he have the same success some where else. Well. Russell Wilson is NOT doing all that well in Denver.

    We will see.

  27. AlaskaHawk says:

    I like Skinner, safety with Boose State, but first big hit and they are reviewing for targeting. He’s out.

    • Roy Batty says:

      In the preferred three safety scheme they run, they have to have a hard hitting safety. TE’s aren’t small and RB’s don’t go down easily. Gimme a brutal hitter that roams the field to make receivers think twice about catching one over the middle. Proper coaching would instill the proper technique.

      • AlaskaHawk says:

        Your assuming he isn’t getting proper coaching now. I think his coach has been talking to him about it all year long. Hopefully he can be retrained in the pros.

  28. Blitzy the Clown says:

    Smith has not been a player the Seahawks have easily re-signed each year. He keeps his own counsel

    This is a very underreported aspect of the situation cha. You’re sharp to highlight here.

    I think Geno’s pretty smart. He may not show it (“they wrote me off. I ain’t write back though”) and maybe savvy is a better descriptor. Either way, I don’t think this will be an easy negotiation in the sense that both parties will have the same ideas about what his next contract should look like.

    This will take time but as your article shows, it’s doable in a way that makes sense for everyone.

    • Robert M says:

      I wouldn’t underestimate Geno’s intelligence due to the grammar of ” I ain’t write back.” It’s a pretty clever play on words, and one that might not resonate as well if cleaned up: “They wrote me off, but I haven’t written back”. A quick search didn’t find any other citations, so he either came up with it himself or had the good sense to jump on it wherever he heard it.

  29. Blitzy the Clown says:

    Pretty thrilling match so far

    USA! USA!

  30. Ukhawk says:

    Awesome article, Curtis !

    Most important position and Geno is playing well. Getting him at 15% of the cap or less would be a relative bargain.

    My only question is when do they get a contract done? Post season, pre draft?

    • cha says:

      Geno was able to wait the past few off-seasons to see if a possible starting job popped up. It didn’t matter if he was not signed until April or May, the money was so low it was going to be there either way.

      Now it does matter. His best shot to get real money and to choose his destination is to be active in the market as early as possible.

      As for the Seahawks they need an answer before the draft.

  31. 805Hawk says:

    Not that I think it will play massively into his contract situation, but don’t forget that Geno may very well get a game or two off next year. He got a DUI, driving 96 in a 60, berated and threatened the cop, refused the breathalyzer, and had to be strapped down to get a blood draw even with the team security official trying to calm him down. I guess the case hasn’t been charged yet due to the blood analysis taking 10 months on average because of the backlog.

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