With Geno Smith potentially heading to free agency beginning on March 13, 2023, the Seattle Seahawks have made a decision that will likely keep the team’s Pro Bowl quarterback in the Pacific Northwest. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Seahawks plan to re-sign Smith this offseason.
“My understanding is the team wants that [feel-good story] to continue,” Rapoport explained on the January 14 edition of “NFL GameDay Morning” prior to kickoff of the Seahawks-49ers game. “I’m told Geno Smith will be back with Seattle in 2023. He is genuine. He is well-liked. He has played great. He’s also a free agent, so they’re going to try to work on a new deal.”
It is not just up to the Seahawks as Smith can potentially sign with another team. Yet, Seattle plans to use the franchise tag, if necessary, to prevent Smith from hitting the open market, per Rapoport. Seattle has until March 7 to use the franchise tag on Smith or any other player, less than one week before free agent negotiations can begin.
“There is also the franchise tag available, expect them to use that if it is necessary,” Rapoport added. “$30 million plus would be double what Geno has made in his career.”
Carroll on Smith’s Future: ‘We Got Work to Do’
Heavy Sports recently detailed how there are other teams like the Colts who could be a contender to land Smith. The franchise tag would not only be advantageous for preventing Smith from hitting free agency, but it would give the Seahawks one more year of seeing Smith as the team’s QB1 before inking the quarterback to a long-term deal. After the regular season concluded, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll left the door open for a potential quarterback change while also praising Smith.
“Well, we got work to do, but our system is really good,” Carroll noted during a January 8 postgame press conference. “System is really good, what we’re asking these guys to do. For him [Smith] to come in [as a] first year starter and in a five year [layoff] or whatever it is, to execute like he’s done all year long. Like, I think [he had] a 69.8% completion percentage for the season and all the touchdowns and all the plays he’s made. I think our quarterback position is great, but he’s gonna be a free agent. So, we got work to do.
“We never got a chance to see Drew [Lock], but I’ve seen a lot of him and I like what he does, too. So, I think our quarterback situation, if we can get ’em signed, is a great situation going forward. We know what we got.”
How Much Money Can Smith Command?
If the Seahawks do not use the franchise tag, it will be interesting to see what kind of deal Smith is able to land. Spotrac projects Smith’s market value to be a two-year, $78.6 million contract, well above his current $3.5 million salary.
Seattle would be wise to push for a shorter deal given the small sample size of Smith as a starter, while the Pro Bowler is likely to aim for a lucrative lengthy contract. The Seahawks have the franchise tag the team can use if they are unable to reach a long-term agreement with Smith.
Using the tag would give the Seahawks another season to see Smith as the team’s starting quarterback before making a decision to give the Pro Bowler a sizable deal. The franchise tag for 2023 is estimated to be $32.4 million, per Over the Cap.
If Seattle uses this designation, Smith could hit free agency in 2024, but the Seahawks also have the ability to use the franchise tag for a second straight season. All this sets up for an interesting offseason in Seattle, but all signs point to Smith returning to the Seahawks. The question is whether the team will utilize the franchise tag or if the two parties are able to reach a long-term agreement.