Seahawks Labeled a Sleeper Team to Land $150 Million 4-Time All-Pro QB

Pete Carroll John Schneider

Getty Seahawks general manager John Schneider (left) and head coach Pete Carroll appear to have won the Russell Wilson trade.

The Seattle Seahawks and Geno Smith have verbally pledged their commitment to each other, but things could get more complicated as the business details get ironed out in free agency. Sports Illustrated’s Peter King wonders if the Seahawks could emerge as a contender to trade for Aaron Rodgers given the team’s bevy of draft picks.

“The possibilities are delicious. Rodgers to the Jets, maybe re-teaming with ex-Pack aide Nathaniel Hackett, who has interviewed for the New York offensive coordinator job,” King wrote on January 23, 2023. “Or Rodgers to the Patriots, which seems very Belichickian, to perhaps give Mac Jones two learning seasons in the shadows. Or Rodgers to Vegas, if Tom Brady doesn’t beat him there. Or Rodgers to Seattle, which is seventh in cap room in 2023 and has four picks in the draft’s top 55. You could think of 10 more.”

It is an intriguing thought from the NFL insider, but would the Seahawks be willing to part with significant draft capital to trade for a 39-year-old quarterback? Let’s explore why the Seahawks acquiring Rodgers is filled with complications.

There Is a ‘Real Possibility’ the Packers Trade Rodgers, Says Schefter

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that there is a “real possibility” that Rodgers is traded this offseason as the Packers could turn the offense over to Jordan Love. The challenge for the Seahawks is that Green Bay is likely to trade Rodgers outside the NFC, per Schefter.

“This will be the third straight offseason in which Aaron Rodgers’ future is the subject of much speculation, but make no mistake, both sides are fully aware that a trade is a very real scenario this offseason for Aaron Rodgers,” Schefter explained during a January 21 edition of “NFL Countdown.” “The Packers are expected to move on from certain players, which Aaron Rodgers probably will not like. The issue here will be the $110 million left on his contract and which team could afford it. But there is a real possibility that at some point this offseason Aaron Rodgers is going to be traded.”

The Seahawks Have a Price for Smith the Team Is Unwilling to Exceed

The Seahawks just got out of the big money quarterback business by trading away Russell Wilson last offseason. Yet, after Geno Smith’s Pro Bowl season, Seattle is going to have to pay up to retain the veteran. The question the Seahawks face is how Smith’s new financial details compare not only to the available veteran quarterbacks, but to the signal-callers available in the upcoming draft.

Spotrac projects that Smith’s market value is a two-year, $78.6 million contract, putting him in the territory of Rodgers and other expensive quarterbacks. Yet, Smith could find it challenging to land a mega-deal elsewhere with other quarterbacks like Derek Carr available this offseason.

During a January 19 interview with Seattle Sports’ “Wyman and Bob,” Seahawks general manager John Schneider admitted there is a number the team is not willing to go past in order to re-sign Smith. The veteran quarterback has also indicated he is willing to give Seattle a bit of a discount, but time will tell if the quarterback maintains this stance once negotiations heat up.

Rodgers Will Be 43 During the Final Season of His $150 Million Contract

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As for Rodgers, the star quarterback’s base salary for 2023 is just $1.1 million, but it is a bit deceiving. A good portion of Rodgers’ three-year, $150 million contract is structured in bonuses. The former MVP’s deal runs through the 2026 season when Rodgers will be 43 years old.

“For the team acquiring Rodgers they would be on the hook for the salary for the year,” Over the Cap’s Jason Fitzgerald detailed on October 24. “The cap charge would be $59,515,000 if they do not exercise his option and $15.79 million if they were to exercise the option. Rodgers has an injury guarantee of $49.25 million for 2024 but that does not become fully guaranteed until 5 days after the 2023 Super Bowl. If Rodgers was cut after 2023 it would cost the team $43.725 million on the 2024 cap. If he retired they could split that as $14.575 million in 2024 and $29.15 million in 2025 using a similar June 2nd date as mentioned above in the retirement option.”

Seattle landing Rodgers is a long shot, but it brings up a larger question of whether the team should explore alternative options if Smith’s next contract put him in elite quarterback territory. The good news is the Seahawks hold the No. 5 pick if Smith’s price proves to be beyond Seattle’s comfort level.