The big question of the Seahawks offseason has an answer. According to multiple reports, quarterback Geno Smith is returning to Seattle on a three-year deal.
Tom Pelissero of NFL Network tweeted Monday afternoon that the Seahawks and Smith are finalizing a multi-year contract. Dov Kleiman, another NFL reporter, tweeted that the deal is worth $105 million over three years.
Smith, 32, is coming off a resurgent 2022 season where he led the Seahawks to a 9-8 record and surprise postseason appearance, earning his first Pro Bowl honor along the way. He was also named NFL Comeback Player of the Year after leading all quarterbacks in pass completion percentage (69.8%) in what was his first year as a full-time starter since he was with the New York Jets in 2014.
Seattle’s successful season came as a shock around the league as it was the Seahawks’ first after trading franchise QB Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos. While Wilson and the Broncos fizzled, his former backup Smith took charge in Seattle and became one of the biggest stories of the 2022 NFL season.
GENO TO DK FOR 50 YARDS. @Seahawks take the lead!— NFL (@NFL) January 14, 2023
📺: #SEAvsSF on FOX
📱: Stream on NFL+ https://t.co/96NMtTe9OX pic.twitter.com/tNti6PQzGR
Smith spent the 2019-21 seasons backing up Wilson, appearing in one game in 2020 and four in place of an injured Wilson in the middle of the 2021 season. He performed admirably that year, leading Seattle to a win in one of his three starts, but it was far from a sure thing that he would step in as Wilson’s replacement following the Seahawks’ trade with Denver last March.
Smith won the starting job ahead of the 2022 season after his main competition, Drew Lock, fell behind after needing to miss time due to a COVID-19 diagnosis in the preseason. Not only did Smith lead the Seahawks to a Week 1 win over Wilson’s Broncos, but he never looked back and spent much of the year near the top of the NFL leaderboards in several statistical categories.
When the 2022 season ended, Smith had thrown for 4,282 yards, 30 touchdowns and 11 interceptions on 399 of 572 passing. He was fourth in the league in passing touchdowns, eighth in passing yards, 10th in passing yards per game (251.9), fifth in quarterback rating (100.9) and tied for sixth with a 60.8 QBR.
Smith is a rare case of a quarterback who entered the NFL with high hopes, was humbled early in his career, and came out the other side to become a Pro Bowler. He was taken 39th overall in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Jets and started all 16 games his rookie season, but by 2015 had lost New York’s starting job. After four seasons with the Jets, he spent a year each with the Chargers and Giants before landing in Seattle.
Despite Smith’s huge 2022 season, there was a big question about his future with the Seahawks, who own the No. 5 and No. 20 overall picks in the first round of April’s NFL Draft and could conceivably use of of those selections on their potential QB of the future. While that remains a possibility, the reported deal at least shows that the Seahawks believe they can build around Smith for the time being. It also rules out the possibility of Seattle using the franchise tag on Smith, who was set to hit free agency next week, to retain his services.
With the reported new contract, Smith is set to get a significant pay raise from the one-year, $3.5 million deal he signed with the Seahawks last offseason.
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