Geno Smith at the Pro Bowl: ‘It’s looking very good’ he re-signs with the Seahawks
Geno Smith and the Seahawks continue talks toward getting the Pro Bowl quarterback a new contract to stay in Seattle.
Smith says “it’s looking very good” that will sign a new deal that will keep him leading the Seahawks through the 2023 season and beyond.
“Yeah, we’ve had talks, and we are in the process of getting all that settled right now,” Smith said Friday on SiriusXM NFL Radio’s Pro Bowl Live program with hosts Amber Theoharis and former NFL player Kirk Morrison.
“It’s looking very good,” Smith told SiriusXM satellite radio of a new contract with Seattle. “We think we can get some things done, but obviously those things take time.
“This is the process that I hate about the NFL, because I just want to play football. But it’s a business, as well. So we’ve got to take care of business, and then we’ll get back to the football.”
Smith’s comments were scheduled to air nationally on SiriusXM late Friday afternoon from the league’s Pro Bowl all-star events in Las Vegas.
Smith said moments after the Seahawks’ season ended with a first-round playoff loss at San Francisco Jan. 14 he wanted to retire with the team.
“I want to finish my career in Seattle,” Smith said after his season of going from a seven-year NFL backup to a Pro Bowl selection and NFL leader in completion percentage as Russell Wilson’s replacement leading the Seahawks.
“I want to be here. The town, the city, the team, Coach (Pete) Carroll, the organization, they all embraced me. I was a guy who probably could have been out of the league. They embraced me.
“I want to re-pay them for that.”
Seahawks’ challenge with Smith’s deal
The Seahawks are estimated to have $31.34 million in cap room for 48 contracted players for 2023, per spotrac. That’s the sixth-most cap space in the league. They would need about $10 million of that for the 10 picks Seattle currently owns in April’s draft, including the fifth and 20th choices in round one.
The challenge for general manager John Schneider, top contract executive Matt Thomas and the Seahawks: re-sign Smith to his first multiyear contract since the rookie deal he signed with the New York Jets in 2013 at what the QB sees as fair value — while leaving enough buying power and cap space to improve the shoddy defensive front seven that doomed Smith and the team this past season.
"It's looking very good. We think we can get some things done."@Seahawks Quarterback Geno Smith discussed his 2022 season and his future in Seattle.#ProBowlGames | #Seahawks | #GoHawks pic.twitter.com/eSmlaKdLf2
— SiriusXM NFL Radio (@SiriusXMNFL) February 3, 2023
A contract Smith, 32, and his representatives from the Wasserman Media Group are likely using as a comparable to what he should get from Seattle is that of Ryan Tannehill with Tennessee. Tannehill is three years older than Smith. He is not what Smith is, not a Pro Bowl quarterback who just led his team to the playoffs.
Tannehill earns an average of $29.5 million from the Titans. His contract is the fifth-richest in the NFL in terms of annual salary.
If Seattle is to give Smith that kind of deal, it will seem to have to be for at least three years. That would be to spread the cap hits across multiple years at more team-friendly numbers that still would allow Seattle to shop for defense in free agency.
The market opens March 15.
There’s some urgency for the Seahawks to get a deal done before that date. After it, Smith will be able to gauge what his worth is on the open market, for the first time in his 10-year NFL career. One of the about dozen teams seeking a quarterback across the league could be tempted to offer Smith more than Seattle can afford.
The Seahawks have the option from Feb. 21 to March 7 of applying the one-per-year franchise tag to Smith to keep him with the team for 2023. But that would be at a prohibitive salary-cap number of $32.4 million, a cost the team would not be able to prorate across future years. That move then would force the Seahawks to cut multiple veteran players to get space to sign help for the defense.
The Seahawks could use the tag on Smith to buy time to sign him to that multiyear deal, if they think they are close to an agreement on one. Teams using a franchise tag on a player have until a league deadline of mid-July to continue negotiating and sign him to a longer-term contract. If a deal can’t be struck by then, the tag number applies to the team’s salary cap for that season.
Seattle has used the franchise tag only twice in the 13 years Carroll and Schneider have run the team: on kicker Olindo Mare one month into the new coach’s and general manager’s tenures with the Seahawks, in 2010, and with defensive end Frank Clark in 2019. The team used the time it bought with the tag to trade Clark to Kansas City, when the pass rusher’s contract demands exceeded what Seattle was willing to pay.
Signs remain the Seahawks will avoid the tag they would rather not use and re-sign Smith. Soon, they hope.
Schneider has spent some of the weeks since the Seahawks loss at the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC wild-card playoffs on Seattle’s sports-radio stations. He’s been assessing his team’s 2022 season and process for re-signing Smith, who broke four Seahawks passing records and made the Pro Bowl in his first season replacing Wilson.
Afternoon host Ian Furness of KJR radio asked Schneider last week: Do you expect to get Smith re-signed?
“Yeah. Yeah, we do,” Schneider said.
That echoed what Carroll has said since Seattle’s season ended at San Francisco Jan. 14.
Geno Smith has T-shirts
Morrison ended Smith’s appearance on SiriusXM Friday by asking something else some Seahawks fans may want to know: When and where can one get a T-shirt with Smith’s “They wrote me off, but I ain’t write back” that he said on national television immediately after his opening-game win over Wilson and Denver in September — then applied with the U.S. Patent and Trademark office to trademark and sell?
“Hey, trust me. We got ‘em. They’ll be up on the website soon,” Smith said, not specifying but perhaps referring to www.7sundayheroes.org, the online home of his foundation, if not a new site for his own branding.
“We got all it trademarked, so we will have it on the website.”
“They wrote me off, I ain’t write back though.”
Geno Smith with a message pic.twitter.com/R1EaKpW3Dt
— ESPN (@espn) September 13, 2022