New Projection Emerges for Potential Geno Smith-Seahawks Contract

Geno Smith

Getty Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith is expected to be a free agent at the end of the 2022 season.

Quarterback Geno Smith has been terrific for the Seattle Seahawks in his first season as a starter in nearly a decade. He leads the NFL with a 72.8% completion percentage with 17 touchdowns versus only 4 interceptions.

The next challenge for Smith to meet is to earn a playoff spot for the first time. But another question already emerging around Smith is whether or not the Seahawks will sign him to a contract that keeps him in Seattle beyond 2022.

ESPN’s Brady Henderson said while appearing as a guest on Brock and Salk on Seattle Sports 710AM on November 18 that even if the Seahawks signed Smith to a contract this week, it’s not going to come cheaply.

“I’m going to say $33 million per year [to sign Smith],” Henderson said. “I’m not entirely pulling that number out of nowhere, it is loosely based on the franchise tag.

Projecting Smith’s Next Contract

Paying the 32-year-old veteran quarterback $33 million per season sounds like a lot. That’s the reaction host Mike Salk had to Henderson’s initial estimate.

But that projection made sense based on Henderson’s analysis.

“When we hear conversations about potential negotiations like this we think of teams using the franchise tag as leverage against the player, but that can also sort of work the other way around here,” Henderson said. “When you are a player at a certain level, and I think Geno Smith is definitely at that level where the franchise tag could come into play because he’s good enough to warrant that kind of pay day, he can always say, countering to whatever offer the Seahawks make.”

“If it’s not what he likes, he can say, ‘No, I’m just going to play on the franchise tag.'”

Using Overthecap as his source, Henderson guessed that Smith would make $34.5 million if he played on the franchise tag two years in a row. He then lowered the per year contract average for Smith to $33 million if the Seahawks offered Smith the deal before the end of the season.

If Smith continues to play well, his value will only keep going up.

Smith to Take Hometown Discount to Stay in Seattle?

Salk didn’t even have to ask Henderson about whether Smith might take less to remain with the Seahawks. It wouldn’t be too out of the ordinary for Smith to consider a bargain contract from Seattle’s perspective to ensure he stays with the team that appears to fit him perfect.

But Henderson doesn’t anticipate that happening.

“I don’t see him giving the Seahawks a huge home-team discount, if any, and I think he’s going to use the franchise tag numbers as sort of a starting point,” said Henderson.

Henderson explained that Smith hasn’t made a lot of money for an NFL quarterback since he’s served as a backup for most of his career. Given that fact, Henderson guessed Smith will likely want as much financial security as possible with his next deal.

Other Quarterbacks Making At Least $33 Million Per Season

Salk was pretty resistance to offering Smith a contract that paid him $33 million per year after Henderson explained that could be the offer it takes to keep the quarterback in Seattle.

But Henderson didn’t hesitate. He immediately said he’d sign Smith for $33 million per season.

Based on what other signal callers are making in 2022, it’s not hard to agree with Henderson.

There are 11 quarterbacks who have a contract with an average annual value north of $33 million according to Spotrac. Some of the league’s best signal callers — Aaron Rodgers, Patrick Mahomes, and Josh Allen — are in that group, as expected.

But there are some surprises. Derek Carr, Kirk Cousins and Jared Goff all have a contract with an average annual value of at least $33.5 million. So does Russell Wilson, Kyler Murray, Deshaun Watson, Dak Prescott and Matthew Stafford.

How Smith ends the 2022 season will ultimately determine his true value going forward. But Smith is on pace to finish the campaign with more wins and touchdown passes than several of the quarterbacks make more than $33 million this year.

Read More