Seahawks HC Mike Macdonald Names Geno Smith Starting QB

Throughout the 2024 offseason, signs have pointed to Geno Smith remaining atop the Seahawks’ quarterback depth chart for at least one more year. New head coach Mike Macdonald offered a firm endorsement of the veteran on Saturday.

Seattle lost backup Drew Lock to the Giants in a move which – unlike what Seahawks general manager GM John Schneider indicated – sets him up for another QB2 role. To fill the vacancy, the team traded for 2022 Commanders draftee Sam Howell. The latter served as Washington’s starter last season, but the team’s new front office and coaching staff is prepared to draft a replacement next month. Howell’s upside led some to believe he could challenge for the No. 1 role, but Macdonald said that will not be the case for now.

When asked if he anticipates a competition during an interview with NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, Macdonald said, “l don’t. I’ve talked to Geno about it. Very confident in Geno. Geno’s going to be our starter. Sam knows he’s going to be our backup, but Sam is a great young player, and he’s got a really bright future that we believe in.”

Seattle had a window of opportunity to trade Smith given the timing of bonuses in his contract. The team allowed his base salary to become fully guaranteed, however, and converted a roster bonus into a signing bonus in moves which suggested the 33-year-old would carry on as the starter. Smith has held that role for the past two seasons, and he earned Comeback Player of the Year honors after delivering a Pro Bowl performance in 2022.

Smith experienced a statistical downturn last year, (although his league-leading five game-winning drives produced another Pro Bowl invite), and after falling short of the postseason the Seahawks have undergone a massive change with Pete Carroll no longer on the sidelines. Macdonald will be tasked with overseeing a step forward on defense, but the Seahawks’ passing attack in particular will be worth watching on the other side of the ball. Smith will work with the first-team offense during the offseason as Macdonald begins his head coaching career.

Two years remain on Smith’s contract – the $75MM pact he secured after his successful run in 2022. Howell’s rookie contract also runs through 2025, so the Seahawks will have time to sort out their QB arrangement moving forward. While the latter projects as having higher upside given his age and play during parts of last season, it will be the former at the helm when the offseason program and, later, training camp begins.

View Comments (7)