The Seattle Seahawks are expected sign a notable player to a $40 million deal.
As Mike Tanier of Football Outsiders points out, the Seahawks face a quarterback conundrum when it comes to Geno Smith. Due to Seattle’s surprising 6-3 start to the season — combined with Smith’s excellent play through nine games — the Seahawks will likely have to sign the 32-year-old quarterback to a new deal.
Despite Smith’s stellar start, Tanier views him as a “premium bridge” quarterback whom the Seahawks should avoid overpaying. Tanier predicts Seattle to re-sign the journeyman quarterback to a two-year, $40 million deal eerily similar to the one that the Denver Broncos gave to Case Keenum in 2017 (two years, $36 million).
“Pay Geno Smith! Specifically, pay him $40 million dollars over two years,” said Tanier. “That’s a smart price for Smith’s services in the wake of his unexpected breakout for the Seattle Seahawks. It’s more than the $36 million over two years that Case Keenum received when the Denver Broncos decided that his 22-touchdown 2017 season with the Minnesota Vikings was no fluke. (Spoiler alert…) It’s much more than the $28 million over two years that the Saints gave Jameis Winston this offseason. It’s top-of-the-scale for a former prospect turned scrapheap veteran turned possible one-year wonder.”
Seahawks Face Big Decision With Smith Contract
What type of deal to re-sign Smith to will be the biggest conundrum the Seahawks face entering the offseason. Assuming Smith keeps up anywhere close to his current level of play and leads Seattle to the playoffs, the Seahawks will obviously want to re-sign their starting quarterback.
Smith — who hadn’t served as a full-time starting quarterback since the 2014 season with the New York Jets — has been arguably the NFL’s biggest surprise this season. The veteran quarterback had to beat out Drew Lock just to earn the starting job after the Seahawks traded former franchise QB Russell Wilson to the Broncos.
The 10-year veteran has already set his career high with 15 touchdown passes — fourth-most in the league — against just four interceptions. He also has a 107.2 passer rating, the third-best mark in the league. He’s also sixth in the league in yards and completions.
His 73.1 percent completion rate is the highest in the league and the fifth-highest mark through a team’s first nine games in NFL history, as noted by Gregg Bell of The News Tribune.
There is little doubt that Smith has been one of the league’s top quarterbacks for the NFL’s most surprising team. But signing him to a big contract with a long-term commitment would be a decision the Seahawks may regret moving forward.
Outside of this season, Smith has never proven to be a viable starter in the league. In order to pay Smith something massive — $30 million-plus a year, for example — the Seahawks have to see more than just one season of excellent play at quarterback.
Seahawks Likely Draft a QB While Re-Signing Smith
Tanier proposes the more logical solution — Seattle re-signs Smith to a reasonable deal while also selecting a quarterback in the first round of the 2023 NFL draft.
“The Seahawks cannot afford to get too swept up in their own feel-good storyline,” says Tanier. “They need to think of Smith as a “premium bridge” quarterback. They need to strongly consider dipping into a rather deep 2023 quarterback draft class, perhaps with that first-rounder the Denver Broncos traded them. The best time to get a quarterback is when you don’t need one, right?”
Expect the Seahawks to give Smith — who has never earned more than $3.5 million in a season — a new contract. Just don’t expect it to be a massive one.