Seahawks’ Pete Carroll Fires Message on 2023 QB Class

Pete Carroll

Getty Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll shared how interested the organization could be in drafting a quarterback this year.

The Seattle Seahawks just signed Geno Smith to a three-year contract. So the team’s quarterback situation appears to be stable through the 2025 season.

But that doesn’t mean the Seahawks won’t consider drafting a signal caller this year. At least that’s the message head coach Pete Carroll expressed while appearing as a guest on The Rich Eisen Show on March 8.

“This is such a rare opportunity,” Carroll told Eisen when discussing having the No. 5 overall pick. “We’ve been in it for 13, 14 years. We’ve only had one other time where we’ve picked in the top 10.”

“In kind of a frustrating fashion, when you sit down there in the 20s or lower, you just don’t have a shot at guys like this. Now that we do [have a top 10 pick], it’s certainly top of mind, and we’re really going to watch how this happens.”

Based on that comment from Carroll, the Seahawks are clearly leaving open the possibility of re-signing Smith and drafting a quarterback in the top 5 in the same offseason.

Geno Smith’s Contract Based Heavily on Incentives

Carroll spoke at length about the opportunity that holding the No. 5 pick gives the organization with the 2023 quarterback class. But the way Smith’s contract is structured could play a role in Seattle’s opportunity as well.

NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported Smith’s contract is filled with more incentives than what’s normal for a contract worth a total of $105 million. Smith is guaranteed only $40 million with a base salary of $25 million on an annual basis. He could earn another $30 million in incentives.

The Athletic’s Michael-Shawn Dugar wrote that Smith’s 2023 cap hit could be below $20 million. On an average annual salary basis, Smith is set to be the 10th-highest paid quarterback, but he could be much closer to 15th after all the other contracts quarterbacks will sign this offseason.

Having Smith on a more team-friendly deal helps the Seahawks justify adding another quarterback on a rookie contract. ESPN’s Mel Kiper wrote the most obvious fit among the rookie quarterbacks for Seattle is Florida’s Anthony Richardson.

“Here’s a team that could afford to take a developmental quarterback with elite upside,” Kiper wrote on February 28. “Seattle has said it wants to bring back veteran Geno Smith, but what if the organization uses the franchise tag on Smith, plays him for a season and adds Richardson to take over in 2024?

The Seahawks didn’t use the franchise tag on Smith, instead, signing him to a contract through the 2025 season. If all goes well with Smith, he will remain on the Seattle roster for more than just one additional season, as Kiper proposed.

But the Seahawks could still draft Richardson with the plan of developing him slowly behind Smith.

Seahawks Delivering Smokescreen With QB Interest at No. 5?

It’s very difficult to see any scenario where Alabama’s Bryce Young and Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud don’t come off the draft board before the Seahawks’ choice at No. 5. It’s possible that Richardson and Kentucky quarterback Will Levis will be gone too.

But in case at least one of the quarterbacks is still available when the Seahawks pick at No. 5, it’s in Carroll and the organization’s best interest to appear interested.

The Las Vegas Raiders, Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers each hold a top 10 pick after Seattle and need a quarterback. It’s possible that any of those teams could look to make a trade with the Seahawks for the No. 5 pick if a signal caller they like is still available.

Carroll expressing that he may be interested in the quarterbacks for his own roster will only drive up the trade compensation.

Carroll’s interest in the 2023 quarterback does appear to be genuine. But general manager John Schenider working another trade to gain more draft capital to keep building the roster is certainly a possibility as well.

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