Drew Lock

NFL Contract Details: Giants, Danna, Wright

Here are some details on contracts recently signed around the NFL:

  • Drew Lock, QB (Giants): One year, $5MM. Opposed to initial thoughts, the announced value of $5MM is pretty true to the actual value of Lock’s new deal, if not a bit underreported. According to Dan Duggan of The Athletic, the contract will have a guaranteed value of $4.95MM with only a $50K workout bonus not being guaranteed. As the projected starter for spring ball, Lock will almost certainly collect that workout bonus. In addition, Lock will be able to earn up to $3MM in incentives. $1MM can come from playing time ($250K for 40-49 percent of the team’s offensive snaps, $250K for 50-59 percent, $250 for 60-69 percent, and $250 for 70+ percent); $1MM can come from personal performance with a minimum of 224 pass attempts ($250K for 92.5 passer rating, $250K for a completion percentage of at least 65, $250K for 15 touchdown passes and an 88 passer rating, $250K for 2,000 passing yards and an 88 passer rating); and $1MM can come from playing time and team performance ($500K for 55-69 percent of the team’s offensive snaps and a playoff berth, $500K for 70+ percent and a playoff berth).
  • Isaiah McKenzie, WR (Giants): One year, $1.38MM. Per Duggan, McKenzie’s new contract has a guaranteed amount consisting of a $75K signing bonus, a much lower signing bonus than other New York receivers on veteran minimum deals. He can make an additional $92.5K in per game active roster bonuses for the year.
  • Jordan Phillips, DT (Giants): One year, $1.8MM. Duggan also gave us details on Phillips’ new deal, reporting a guaranteed amount of $430K in the form of a signing bonus. Phillips can earn an additional $100K in a workout bonus and $50K in per game active roster bonuses.
  • Mike Danna, DE (Chiefs): Three years, $24MM. The $13MM of guaranteed money that was originally reported is comprised of a $6.5MM signing bonus, the entirety of Danna’s 2024 base salary of $2.25MM, and $4.25MM of his 2025 base salary (worth a total of $5.24MM). Danna can earn a workout bonus of $250K in each of year of the deal and will receive per game active roster bonuses in the second and third years of the deal that can total up to $510K per year.
  • Brock Wright, TE (Lions): Three years, $12MM. The Lions matched the 49ers’ offer sheet for Wright and signed him to a new deal that includes a guaranteed amount of $4.6MM. That amount consists of a $3.55MM signing bonus and Wright’s 2024 base salary of $1.06MM. Next year, Wright can earn a potential option bonus of $2.23MM and workout bonuses of $50K apiece in the second and third years of the deal. Also, in those back two years, Wright can earn $255K in $15K per game active roster bonuses in 2025 and $340K in $20K per game active roster bonuses in 2026. The contract also includes a potential out after the second year that would allow Detroit to avoid a $4.85MM cap hit with only $2.13MM of dead cap.

Latest On Giants’ QB Situation

After the Giants poked around at the likes of Russell Wilson and landed on Drew Lock, there was some speculation that the organization could be looking to manufacture a QB competition. Seahawks GM John Schneider only fueled that fire earlier this week, telling Seattle Sports 710AM that the Giants lured Lock away from Seattle by selling the QB on the “opportunity to compete to be the starter.”

[RELATED: Giants To Sign QB Drew Lock]

Lock was quick to dismiss that notion. After inking his one-year deal with the Giants yesterday, the QB told reporters that it’s clearly been conveyed to him that Daniel Jones is the starter.

“Now, I need to come in and push Daniel to be the best that he can be,’’ Lock said (via Paul Schwartz of the New York Post). “I’ve had both sides of this. I’ve been the guy to push a starter, I’ve been the starter that’s being pushed by the backups. It’s about making that room the best it can be. If we can do that, the sky’s the limit for this team.’’

As Jeff Howe of The Athletic writes, it was likely Jones’ career-long injury issues and Brian Daboll‘s quarterback-friendly system that helped lure Lock to New York. Both Tyrod Taylor and Mitch Trubisky parlayed stints as Daboll’s QB2 into larger pay days, and Lock is surely hoping for the same outcome.

Lock could have an opportunity to start in 2024 as Jones continues to rehab a torn ACL that ended his 2023 season, but the new addition will simply be keeping the seat warm. That’s a big reason why the Giants didn’t end up adding Wilson to the mix; as Lowe reports, the Giants didn’t make the veteran QB “any promises about playing time.” The Giants also tried to retain Taylor, as Tony Pauline of Sportskeeda.com writes. Ultimately, Taylor was able to garner a higher offer from the Jets than what Lock settled for with the Giants.

While the Giants continue to give Jones a vote of confidence, that doesn’t mean the team is entirely comfortable with his future outlook. As Ralph Vacchiano of FOX Sports writes, Jones’ injury history has “shaken” the Giants’ faith in the franchise QB. The former first-round pick has only made it through one season unscathed, and that’s led the team to consider taking a quarterback in next month’s draft. Even after handing Jones a four-year, $160MM extension last offseason, the Giants have scouted many of the draft’s top quarterback prospects. If the organization does pull the trigger on a rookie signal-caller, that will only further cloud the team’s QB picture moving forward.

Giants To Sign QB Drew Lock

Tyrod Taylor decided late Monday night to join the Jets. While the Giants may have a multifaceted QB plan this offseason, they are in need of a backup in the short term. It looks like Drew Lock will fill that role.

The Giants are signing Lock, per NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, Mike Garafolo and Tom Pelissero. He is coming to New York on a one-year, $5MM accord, ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweets. The true value will check in south of $5MM, in all likelihood, with The Athletic’s Jeff Howe noting the contract can max out at that number. The former Broncos draftee spent the past two seasons as Geno Smith‘s backup in Seattle. With the Seahawks changing their coaching staff, Lock will land on a third NFL team.

A former Broncos second-round pick, Lock did not stick as Denver’s starter for too long. Proving erratic in the role in leading the NFL in interceptions during an injury-shortened 2020 season, the Mizzou alum returned to the bench once the Broncos signed Teddy Bridgewater in 2021. Lock has not worked as a regular starter since. But Lock did make a memorable cameo last season, leading the Seahawks to a win over the Eagles. That included a game-winning drive that culminated with a Lock toss to Jaxon Smith-Njigba.

Granted, the Eagles’ Sean Desai– and Matt Patricia-supervised defensive swoon made that performance look slightly less impressive than it was in the moment. But Lock is a five-year veteran who has handled a backup role for a bit. With Daniel Jones rehabbing an ACL tear, Lock appears set to take first-team reps in the Giants’ offseason program. His status as the backup for 2024 may hinge on how the Giants proceed with their first-round pick.

Taylor served as the Giants’ backup for the past two years, but after the team kept him on the bench to play Tommy DeVito, rumors emerged the veteran was likely to leave. GM Joe Schoen had confirmed the Giants would add a quarterback this offseason, and Lock is the Taylor replacement. This gives the Giants some insurance in case Jones cannot make it back by training camp, though that is the expectation. But how the Giants’ QB depth chart looks coming out of the draft looks represents the bigger storyline.

The Giants have been linked to exploring trade-up moves for a quarterback in Round 1, and while we are entering smokescreen season, a regime that did not draft Jones has a chance to add an upgrade — with J.J. McCarthy now on the radar as a target — and get off the Jones contract by 2025. Jones will be on the team in 2024, however, and if the Giants do not draft a QB early, a QB depth chart comprised of 2019 prospects will take shape.

Seahawks Plan On Retaining Geno Smith?

The Seahawks’ QB situation faces plenty of uncertainty entering the 2024 league year. Geno Smith is set to pass an important checkpoint on the way to retaining his starter’s role, however.

Smith was informed by the team on Thursday that he will remain on the roster through February 16, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports. That is important because Smith’s $12.7MM base salary will shift from an injury guarantee to being guaranteed in full tomorrow. As a result, today’s news greatens the chances of the 2022 Comeback Player of the Year staying in Seattle.

However, Smith also has a $9.6MM roster bonus which will not vest until March 18. The decision to retain Smith for the time being could therefore open up a window to explore a trade with an interested team before the new league year begins. As Schefter’s colleague Brady Henderson notes, Smith’s deal includes offset language which could allow the team to release him before March 18 if no trade partner is found. The 33-year-old’s future is thus still far from certain.

Smith enjoyed a career year in 2022, proving to be a bargain for Seattle and helping the tam reach the postseason. He parlayed that success into a three-year, $75MM deal which includes incentives and performance escalators. With $27.3MM guaranteed at signing, 2023 was still seen as a ‘prove-it’ season for him. Smith’s totals regressed, leading to speculation Seattle could move on from him and transition to Drew Lock under center. The latter has drawn praise from general manager John Schneider, who following the end of Pete Carroll‘s coaching tenure now has full say in roster decisions.

As Henderson notes, part of Schneider’s desire to trade Russell Wilson to the Broncos was the fact the Seahawks could acquire Lock as part of the return package. Lock is a pending UFA, however, and his play while filling in for an injured Smith during the season could help his chances of landing a more lucrative deal than the one-year, $4MM pact he played on last year and a starting gig in the process.

Neither Schneider nor new head coach Mike Macdonald have offered a firm endorsement of Smith or Lock. Still, today’s news points toward the former being in Seattle’s plans for the time being as he potentially moves closer to a third straight campaign in the starter’s role. Given his age and Lock’s contract status, though, it would come as little surprise if the Seahawks invested in a rookie passer this spring. The team currently holds three of the draft’s first 81 selections, including No. 16.

Latest On Geno Smith’s Future With Seahawks

According to ESPN’s Brady Henderson, it is not certain that quarterback Geno Smith will be back with the Seahawks in 2024. After all, longtime head coach Pete Carroll — who was one of Smith’s biggest champions and who frequently deflected blame away from the veteran passer — has been shifted to an advisory role. GM John Schneider now holds final say over personnel matters, and his evaluation of Smith’s performance is not as glowing as Carroll’s was.

“I think Geno had a good season,” Schneider said last month. “It was a little bit opposite of [2022]. He started out real strong last year and things dipped a little bit the second half. And then I thought this year he started out not quite as strong as last year and then finished in a real strong manner.”

Henderson, whose piece was published before Seattle hired Mike Macdonald as its new head coach, noted that Schneider would of course discuss Smith’s future with his new HC. At his introductory press conference, Macdonald offered praise for Smith, saying that he has “great respect” for him.

“We’ve played against Geno,” Macdonald added (via the team’s official website). “He’s a really good player. I’m pretty sure he’s at the Pro Bowl right now. We’re going to build around the quarterback. You’ve got to.”

At the risk of inferring meaning where there is none, Macdonald did not explicitly commit to Smith as the quarterback around whom the Seahawks would be building, and the team is still in search of a new offensive coordinator, who will also have input into the matter. That said, Henderson suggests Smith has a good chance to return as Seattle’s QB1.

If the team chooses to go in a different direction, Henderson believes a trade is more likely than a release. Smith’s $12.7MM salary for 2024, currently guaranteed for injury only, converts to a full guarantee on February 16. That is effectively the deadline to cut Smith, but not necessarily to trade him. He is not due his $9.6MM roster bonus until March 17 — the fifth day of the new league year — and by that time, the team will have had the chance to explore the quarterback options it might have in this year’s draft (to say nothing of getting some sort of trade compensation from an acquiring club).

As Schneider observed, Smith performed well down the stretch of the 2023 season, although he was unable to match the overall production of his breakout 2022 performance. In 2022, Smith led the league in completion percentage (69.8) and threw for 30 TDs against 11 interceptions, which amounted to a 100.9 quarterback rating and 62.8 QBR. In two fewer games in 2023, the former second-round pick of the Jets completed 64.7% of his passes for 20 touchdowns and nine picks, leading to a quarterback rating of 92.1 and a QBR of 59.5. If Macdonald & Co. can help Smith marry the first half of his 2022 campaign with the second half of his 2023 season, they may be on to something.

Although he is due to hit free agency in March, Drew Lock would be the most likely candidate to assume the QB1 job — at least in the short-term — if the Seahawks were to part ways with Smith. Schneider has long been high on the 27-year-old, who was a key part of the return in the 2022 blockbuster that sent Russell Wilson from Seattle to the Broncos, but as Henderson writes, Lock being retained as the starter would indicate that the ‘Hawks view 2024 as a retooling year, which is inconsistent with Schneider’s belief that his club is “on the cusp” of serious championship contention.

As Armando Salguero of Outkick.com wrote at the end of December, Lock views himself as a starter and will seek such an opportunity if he hits the open market. In two starts in relief of an injured Smith in 2023, Lock completed 68.8% of his passes for three TDs and two interceptions. He went 1-1 in those contests, with the one victory coming on an impressive late-game drive against the Eagles in Week 15.

Smith is under club control through 2025 and is due to carry a $31.2MM cap charge this year. Henderson suggests that, if the Seahawks move forward with Smith, they could look to convert some of his salary and/or roster bonus into a signing bonus to reduce that number.

Seahawks’ Geno Smith To Play In Week 15

6:58PM: With less than twenty minutes until kickoff, Smith has been nonexistent on the sidelines leading up to the game. Lock has been taking all starting reps in the pregame warmups, and all signs are pointing to Lock starting under center tonight. Smith will supposedly be available off the bench, but after not appearing in warmups at all, he likely will sit through tonight’s game.

5:53PM: Seattle faced the possibility of a second straight contest without Geno Smith, but that will not be the case. The Seahawks’ starting quarterback will suit up for tonight’s game against the Eagles, per a team announcement.

Seattle is dressing three quarterbacks tonight, so it remains to be seen if Smith will get the start. His availability has been a question mark throughout the week while recovering from the groin injury which left him sidelined for the previous contest. After extra work pregame to test out his mobility, though, he will at least be available in some capacity.

If Smith isn’t able to start tonight, Drew Lock will earn his second straight start of the year. Lock faced a tall task in replacement duty last week during the team’s trip to San Francisco. Still, he performed admirably, completing 22 of his 31 pass attempts for 269 yards and two touchdowns while tossing two interceptions. With Smith being limited in practice throughout the week, Lock has gotten a good amount of run with the starters this week and should be well-prepared to run the first-team offense, if necessary.

General manager John Schneider told the media today that “Smith surprised them with his ability to move in pre-game workouts” after Smith aggravated the injury in practice this week, per Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times. With the Seahawks currently sitting just outside a Wild Card playoff spot at 6-7, and a logjam of 7-7 teams ahead of them, each game is getting closer and closer to must-win territory, so Smith and Seattle have every reason to want him back in as soon as possible.

In the hours leading up to the game, though, only Lock and third-string quarterback Sean Mannion have been seen in warmups. It’s extremely rare to see a player not participate in pre-game warmups then go on and play, but nothing is impossible. The best guess without waiting for confirmation, is that Smith will be available off the bench in case of an emergency situation, but Lock will start the game with Mannion as his backup, officially.

Seahawks QB Geno Smith Out For Week 14

DECEMBER 10: Smith will indeed miss today’s divisional matchup. Lock is in line to start, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports. The 27-year-old will see No. 1 duties for the first time since 2021, the final year of his Broncos tenure.

Smith’s groin injury is one which is classified as having a two-week recovery timeline, ESPN’s Adam Schefter adds. As a result, it comes as little surprise that he will miss today’s contest. Seattle next has a Monday night game against the Eagles, and his ability to recover in time for that tilt will be worth watching in the coming days.

DECEMBER 8: Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith went into the team’s Thanksgiving matchup against the 49ers with a questionable designation as he dealt with a bruised elbow. Now, in this week’s rematch, Smith will once again come in questionable after tweaking his groin in practice yesterday, per Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times.

In the first game against their division rival, Smith struggled, perhaps due to the injury. Smith only completed 18 passes for 180 yards and an interception. The 49ers didn’t go easy on him as their defense tallied up 12 quarterback hits and six sacks. If another injury would deliver similar results, Seattle may think twice about putting him under center to start Sunday.

His newest ailment was a bit of a freak accident, as he tweaked his groin when he “stumbled over somebody.” Smith was held out of practice today in order to rest the groin, while head coach Pete Carroll remained vague about Smith’s chances of once again being able to play despite the questionable designation. It sounds like they’ll make their official decision during pregame warmups on Sunday.

If Smith can’t go, Drew Lock will be asked to step in and start in his place. Not only would this be Lock’s first start since he was a Bronco in 2021, but it would also be his first serious action at all since his time in Denver. Lock took the NFL by storm when, as a rookie, he stepped in as a starter after injuries to Joe Flacco and Brandon Allen. Lock would go 4-1 as a starter that year while throwing seven touchdowns to only three interceptions.

His first full season as a starter didn’t go nearly as well. In 13 starts, Lock’s completion percentage plummeted to 57 percent. He failed to match the efficiency of his rookie year as he threw only 16 touchdowns while leading the league with 15 interceptions. Lock lost the preseason starting battle to Teddy Bridgewater the following year, but started three games in injury relief, losing all three contests.

Since being traded to Seattle, Lock hasn’t seen any extensive action. As a Seahawk, he’s only appeared in two games, both coming this year. He came in during garbage time in the team’s win over the Giants and found a few drives as an injury replacement during the team’s loss to the Rams. Seattle is hoping that they can keep Lock’s usage low as they attempt to stay in the playoff race. They’ll hope that Smith will find no trouble in pregame warmups and be able to start with no limitations.

The concern is real, though. So much so that the Seahawks added quarterback Sean Mannion to their practice squad today. After Brett Rypien was signed off their practice squad by the Jets earlier this week, Mannion now stands as the only quarterback left to backup Lock, should Smith be unable to go. In order to make room on the practice squad for Mannion, Seattle released practice squad running back SaRodorick Thompson.

Bucs Considered Drew Lock In Free Agency

During the 2022 offseason, Drew Lock competed with Geno Smith for the Seahawks’ starting job. That months-long battle ended up swinging decisively for Smith, who has made one of the more surprising re-emergences in recent NFL history. But Lock showed enough for the Seahawks to keep him around for a second season.

Lock also made an impression on his 2022 quarterbacks coach. After hiring Dave Canales as offensive coordinator, the Buccaneers looked into Lock as a possible starter option, Jason Licht said (via ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler). The Bucs’ eventual solution as a cheap Tom Brady successor — Baker Mayfield — did not require more money to sign compared to Lock.

While Mayfield has shown early-season indications of a comeback, he is only attached to a one-year deal worth $4MM. Those are the terms Lock agreed to upon re-signing with Seattle, though Mayfield received more guaranteed money. Lock receiving only $1.75MM guaranteed is a moot point now, as both vested veterans’ $4MM salaries are locked in. But it does illustrate both where Mayfield’s value checked in after a rough 2022 and the Bucs’ limitations in the wake of Brady’s void-years bill hitting.

Brady’s three-year Tampa Bay tenure ending led to a $35.1MM dead-money hit due to the void years the Bucs tacked onto the legendary quarterback’s contract. Brady’s retirement pushed the Bucs into Saints-level cap territory, with the team more than $50MM over the 2023 salary ceiling in February. Although the Bucs carved out enough cap room — via cuts and restructures — to re-sign Jamel Dean and Lavonte David, they did not intend to venture into the QB market’s deeper waters. This ruled out a genuine pursuit of Derek Carr or Jimmy Garoppolo, but Fowler adds the Bucs did zero in on free agents due to a belief they were not in position to land a top QB prospect and that 2021 second-round pick Kyle Trask could not simply be handed the job. Jacoby Brissett and another Blaine Gabbert deal were in play for the Bucs.

A 2019 second-round pick, Lock has thrown six passes as a Seahawk. Smith’s early-30s return to relevancy relegated Lock, 26, to QB2 certainty. Lock has been a backup since the Broncos traded for Teddy Bridgewater in 2021. An uneven 2020 season cost Lock his shot as a potential long-term Denver starter, and the Broncos saw their fortunes crater when Lock needed to replace Bridgewater — who had suffered a second concussion — in December 2021. Losing narrowly to the Bengals after Bridgewater’s injury, the Broncos dropped their final three with Lock back at the helm and opted to include him in the blockbuster Russell Wilson trade.

As Lock remains Smith’s backup, Mayfield will attempt a Smith-like recovery. Although Mayfield has more early-career promise to hang his hat on compared to Smith, having piloted the Browns to their first playoff berth in 18 seasons, he ranked last in QBR in 2022 and did not draw much starter interest this offseason. The Ravens discussed a deal with Mayfield as a Lamar Jackson backup, but the former No. 1 overall pick signed with the Bucs and beat out Trask late in the preseason.

Through four games in Canales’ offense, Mayfield ranks sixth in QBR and is completing 69.6% of his passes while having thrown seven touchdowns to two interceptions. The trade to the Panthers was billed as Mayfield’s value-reestablishing opportunity, but his stock tumbled further in Carolina. Multiple ex-Panthers staffers viewed Mayfield’s July arrival — after Carolina and Cleveland haggled for months over terms of the trade — as a key reason for the struggles, Fowler adds.

That situation helped lead to Mayfield being in the Bucs’ price range. He will attempt to use this season as a path toward a lucrative Bucs extension or a Smith- or Garoppolo-like free agency accord in 2024.

Seahawks To Re-Sign QB Drew Lock

The Seahawks will have both members of their quarterback tandem from 2022 in place for next year. Seattle has agreed to terms on a one-year, $4MM deal with Drew Lock (Twitter link via NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo). Incentives bring the maximum value of the contract to $7.5MM.

Lock, 26, was acquired by the Seahawks last offseason as part of the package the Broncos sent them in the Russell Wilson trade. That gave him the opportunity to compete for the starting job with veteran Geno Smith, something most expected him to secure during training camp. Instead, the latter took hold of the No. 1 spot on the depth chart and held it all year.

Smith went on to have one of the most surprising campaigns of the 2022 season, earning Comeback Player of the Year Honors. His success helped propel the Seahawks to a playoff berth, but it also kept Lock on the bench for the entirety of the campaign. Lock didn’t see a snap in the regular or postseason, something which clouded his value ahead of free agency.

The former second-rounder underwhelmed as a starter in Denver, going 8-13 during his time in the Mile High City. His lack of development included a league-leading 15 interceptions in the 2020 season, and a career completion percentage of just 59.3%. That made him a logical inclusion in the Wilson trade, as a fresh start was considered necessary for him to restart his career.

Seattle represented a suitable home for the Missouri product, given the optimism expressed by the team about his ability to win the starting role. Head coach Pete Carroll repeatedly spoke highly of Lock during the offseason, as he has throughout the year about Smith as well. The latter is on the books with his new, incentive-laden deal, and Lock is now in place to continue as his understudy.

Seahawks HC Pete Carroll: Seattle Is “Totally Connected” To Collegiate QBs

Reports on contract talks between quarterback Geno Smith and the Seahawks have indicated that both sides are optimistic a deal will get done. However, the latest such report was a full month ago. With the March 7 deadline for teams to utilize a franchise or transition tag looming, it is unclear how much progress has been made in negotiations, or if Seattle will hit its breakout passer with a tag.

Deadlines can always spur action, so it would not be surprising to see a deal struck over the next 48 hours or so. The Seahawks, though, are carefully evaluating the top quarterbacks in this year’s class, and as they possess the No. 5 overall pick in the 2023 draft due to last offseason’s Russell Wilson trade (along with their own No. 20 overall selection), the club is well-positioned to select a high-profile signal-caller if it so chooses.

At the scouting combine in Indianapolis last week, head coach Pete Carroll told reporters, including Brady Henderson of ESPN.com, “[w]e are totally connected to the quarterbacks that are coming out. This is a really huge opportunity for us. It’s a rare opportunity. We’ve been drafting in the low 20s for such a long time; you just don’t get the chance with these guys. So we’re deeply involved with all that.”

When asked how much the Seahawks are studying this year’s quarterback class, GM John Schneider said, “a lot. Every year, honestly, we really look at it a lot. Like I said earlier, we haven’t picked fifth overall since we’ve been here. So yeah, I got out to see a lot of quarterbacks this year. It was pretty fun.” 

As Carroll and Schneider indicated, the ‘Hawks have typically had a native pick late in the first round during their tenure in Seattle, and the most coveted collegiate passers generally do not fall that far. So while Schneider acknowledged that he looks closely at every year’s quarterback class, his 2023 draft capital gives him an opportunity he has rarely had.

Of course, as Michael-Shawn Dugar of The Athletic posits, the comments made by Carroll and Schneider could be part of a ploy to get quarterback-needy teams to leapfrog the Seahawks in a trade-up maneuver, thereby increasing the chances that an elite non-QB like Alabama edge defender Will Anderson Jr. or Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter falls to them (subscription required). But Dugar does not believe that is the case. Even when Wilson was piloting the club to division titles and playoff runs, Schneider attended the pro days of quarterbacks like Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen, and he has regretted not selecting more QBs over his 13 drafts as Seattle’s GM.

To be clear, even if Schneider is serious about nabbing one of this year’s prized quarterback prospects, it does not mean that he will allow Smith to walk. Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap.com (via Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times) projects that a fair contract for Smith would be a two-year pact worth between $55MM-$60MM, and given that the 2023 Comeback Player of the Year will turn 33 in October, a two- or three-year accord sounds about right. Which means that Schneider could draft a top-flight quarterback and groom him behind Smith for a couple of years before turning over the reins, just as mentor Ted Thompson did when, as general manager of the Packers in 2005, he selected Aaron Rodgers and had him sit behind Brett Favre for several seasons.

Schneider recently said that contract discussions with Smith have been “positive,” but he did not indicate that an agreement was particularly close. And as Henderson writes in a separate piece, Schneider may not be inclined to use a tag on Smith (as our own Sam Robinson suggested last month, and as ESPN’s Dan Graziano wrote in a subscription-only piece today). If he doesn’t, and if no deal is reached by the time the legal tampering period opens on March 13, Smith would then be able to talk to other clubs, and the Seahawks would not have the right of first refusal.

Meanwhile, Seattle still wants to retain Drew Lock (ideally to reprise his 2022 role as Smith’s backup). Several experts that Henderson has consulted believe Lock will get no more than a one-year deal for the league minimum salary ($1.08MM), while others believe he will be able to command slightly more, but no higher than $3MM.