It’s probably safe to say that in his 10-year NFL career, Seattle Seahawks QB Geno Smith has rarely been ranked ahead of quarterback Tom Brady. Of course, not many quarterbacks have been ranked ahead of Brady on many lists, as he’s the most decorated signal-caller in NFL history.
But Smith was ahead of Brady on one list from Pro Football Focus on November 15 — 2023 NFL Free Agent Rankings.
PFF’s Brad Spielberger ranked Smith the No. 2 free agent for 2023. That was one spot ahead of the 45-year-old Brady.
“It’s not often you hear about the age-32, Year 10 breakout, but that’s exactly what we’re witnessing this season from Smith,” wrote Spielberger.
The only player Spielberger rated ahead of the 2022 Seahawks starting quarterback was Baltimore Ravens signal-caller Lamar Jackson.
Nothing ‘Fluky’ About Smith in 2022
It’s not at all usual what Smith is doing. As the PFF analyst indicated, he’s experiencing a breakout season at the age of 32 after playing in the league for almost a decade.
Or is it a career year that he won’t be able to repeat again?
Spielberger argued it’s the former.
“Nothing about what [Smith is] doing is fluky or excessively bolstered by things like play action, an outlier performance in unstable metrics like passing grade against pressure, or any other method you use to try to poke holes in his production this season,” he wrote. “Smith’s 85.9 overall grade and 89.1 passing grade from a clean pocket rank fourth.
“His 11 passing touchdowns on throws of 20-plus yards is three more than the next-best quarterback, and his 6.7% big-time throw rate ranks third.”
After 10 weeks, Smith leads the NFL with a 72.8 completion percentage. He posted a 57.5% completion percentage during his first two seasons with the New York Jets. Before this year, Smith had started just five games since his second year in 2014.
Smith has also been terrific at getting the ball downfield and avoiding costly mistakes this season. He’s averaged 7.8 yards per pass with 17 touchdowns and 4 interceptions.
At his current pace, Smith will post his first 4,000-yard passing season in 2022.
Seahawks to Sign Smith Before Free Agency?
It’s important to note that Spielberger’s rankings are contingent on the fact that the players on the list do not sign with their current teams ahead of free agency.
But a long-term deal appears to be a distinct possibility for Smith and the Seahawks.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported on November 13 that Seattle “hopes” Smith is its quarterback of the future.
“They have yet to make an offer to Smith, who’s set to be a free agent in 2023, to extend his contract, and those talks will happen after the season,” wrote Rapoport.
“But it appears Smith has done enough to convince the team that his star turn is real and spectacular.”
If Smith continues to play well, it will be interesting to see what kind of contract offer he receives from Seattle. It will be equally fascinating to watch what kind of interest he will garner should he reach the open market.
That will especially be true if Brady is on the market with him.