Drew Lock

Giants’ Offseason QB Pitch Highlighted Previous Backup Success

HBO’s Hard Knocks: Offseason continues to deliver nuggets of information and context that otherwise would not have been made available to the public. In the series’ most recent episode, we became privy to some details on the development of the Giants’ backup quarterback situation this offseason.

One area that the series shed light on was the departure of backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor. The show displayed that both general manager Joe Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll showed confidence that Taylor would re-sign with the team, while beat reporters like Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post and Dan Dugger of The Athletic were both under the impression that Taylor had no interest in staying with New York.

The team had turned to Taylor to start for an injured Daniel Jones in Week 6 of the 2023 season but saw Taylor exit with a rib injury three weeks later. Taylor would eventually return around Week 14, but the Giants made the decision to stick with undrafted rookie quarterback Tommy DeVito, who had gone 3-1 in four starts filling in for Jones and Taylor. Two weeks later, DeVito was benched in a second straight losing effort as Taylor retook the reins for the remainder of the season.

Dunleavy claimed that Taylor was “very disheartened by how last season played out after his injury,” leading to the assumption that the veteran was not interested in returning. Duggan echoed this sentiment, saying that he “got the sense that (Taylor) was ready to move on after how last season unfolded.” Taylor eventually signed with the Jets, opting to serve as the primary backup for another starter who spent most of last season on injured reserve.

Following the loss of Taylor, the team explored a number of options to replace him, clearly seeing a need for quality with Jones’ injury history. The series showed that veteran names like Sam Darnold and Joe Flacco were floated around the building before the team ultimately landed on Drew Lock as their target.

A couple of months ago, we touched on a rumor that Jones’ injury history was part of the pitch that lured Lock to New York, with the team pointing at the success that former backups like Taylor and Mitch Trubisky have had finding contracts following their time with the Giants. That was seemingly confirmed in this week’s episode, showing that, whereas other teams had tried to sell Lock a potentially unrealistic chance to start, New York touted their history of getting backup passers back on their feet.

Regardless of how they got there, both parties appear to be in a good place now. Lock stands a better chance at seeing the field in New York (based on Jones’ injury history), and the Giants now roster one of the league’s most promising young backups as their QB2.

Brian Daboll Addresses Giants’ QB Situation

Daniel Jones‘ progress on a return from a November ACL tear has not included 11-on-11 work at the team’s minicamp, but the sixth-year quarterback has long been expected to be back by training camp. When Jones returns, the starting job will be his once again.

Rumblings about Drew Lock potentially challenging Jones for the gig have come up at multiple points during the offseason. Seahawks GM John Schneider was responsible for once such instance, saying the Giants “basically sold him on the opportunity to compete to be the starter.” Brian Daboll became the latest to insist no QB competition will be on tap for training camp, indicating Jones — barring a setback on his nearly complete rehab journey — will be the Giants’ starter for a sixth season.

[RELATED: Daniel Jones Addresses Giants’ Offseason QB Pursuit]

We’ve talked about that. [Lock] understands his role,” Daboll said (via ESPN.com’s Jordan Raanan) of the team’s Jones-Lock QB depth chart. “He has been a true pro. He has definitely improved since he has gotten here. Good to get two more workdays here with the guys that he might not necessarily get as many reps with once we get to training camp.

The six-year mark provides an interesting line of demarcation for Giants starting quarterbacks. Kerry Collins and Fran Tarkenton‘s time as New York QB1s stopped after five seasons; Y.A. Tittle‘s tenure stopped at four. Over the past 75 years, Jones will join only Eli Manning, Phil Simms and Charlie Conerly as Big Blue passers to operate as primary starters for at least six seasons. The Giants have not seen a great return on their investment — from either the No. 6 overall pick in 2019 or 2023’s four-year, $160MM extension — but their decision-makers have continued to aim for another Jones opportunity.

A Jones-Lock depth chart appeared to be Plan B for the Giants, who submitted an offer to the Patriots that included Nos. 6 and 47 and the team’s 2025 first-round pick. The Pats cut off both the Giants and Vikings’ Drake Maye interest by drafting the North Carolina passer at No. 3. With next year’s QB class not generating the reviews this one did — albeit at this early juncture — the Giants reside in uncertain territory after passing on the likes of Michael Penix Jr., J.J. McCarthy and Bo Nix. By default, the team’s game plan remains Jones-centric.

Chosen 36 picks after Jones in 2019, Lock signed a one-year deal worth $5MM ($4.95MM guaranteed). Jones’ injury history is believed to have played a role in Lock’s decision to join the Giants, but the ex-Broncos and Seahawks passer does not yet look to have a path to playing time. Jones has missed 21 starts due to injury as a pro. A late-season situation could also come up in which the Giants opt to sit their starter to ensure he can pass a 2025 physical; Jones being unable to do so would put the Giants on the hook for an additional $12MM in injury guarantees for 2025.

Lock has made 23 career starts. The Broncos had hoped he would become a reliable option, but the team demoted him after a 2020 season in which he led the NFL in interceptions. Lock could not beat out Geno Smith for Seattle’s starting gig in 2022. As of now, he is set as New York’s QB2.

Barring a major injury, the Giants can move on from Jones (via a post-June 1 cut) next year and incur only $11.1MM in 2025 dead money. The Maye pursuit certainly points to the team having doubts about Jones’ future, with his injury history playing the lead role on that front. After Jones’ 2022 showing convinced the current Giants regime to buy back in after the team had declined his fifth-year option, the oft-doubted starter is set for another “prove it” season.

Latest On Giants’ Quarterback Situation

Offerings from Seahawks GM John Schneider and NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah this offseason have pointed to Drew Lock being part of an actual quarterback competition in New York. The organization’s stance has remained in the Daniel Jones camp, but the five-year starter submitted a poor showing in his abbreviated 2023 season.

Some pushback has emerged regarding the possibility Lock will be part of a true competition with Jones. Barring a spectacular development from Lock during the offseason program, ESPN.com’s Jordan Raanan views this as Jones’ job. The expectation remains that Jones will return to starter duties once he is cleared, The Athletic’s Charlotte Carroll adds.

[RELATED: Giants Deny Buyer’s Remorse On Daniel Jones]

Lock, who has entered just one of his five NFL seasons as a starter (2020), said the Giants did convey to him upon signing he would be Jones’ backup. Viewed at one point as the Seahawks’ most likely post-Russell Wilson starter, Lock lost a summer competition to Geno Smith in 2022. With Smith re-signing on a three-year, $75MM deal and Lock returning to Seattle on a one-year, $4MM accord, no competition occurred in 2023. Jones has never exactly competed for the New York QB1 gig, as his draft status and Eli Manning‘s age led to a September 2019 change. Jones’ career has been rocky, though, and his contract points to pressure being justifiably applied — even after the Giants passed on drafting a QB at No. 6.

Big Blue, of course, went through an exhaustive research project on this draft’s QB crop. And the team did make an aggressive offer — Nos. 6 and 47 and a 2025 first-rounder — for the Patriots’ No. 3 pick, with Drake Maye as the target in that proposed swap. The Giants did not view the Michael Penix Jr.J.J. McCarthyBo Nix contingent as a sufficient upgrade on Jones or Lock to pass on filling its wide receiver need in Round 1. Malik Nabers is now poised to help Jones (or Lock, potentially) this season.

Jones’ four-year, $160MM contract features language that could prompt the Giants to be careful with an injury-prone player, opening the door for Lock to see time down the stretch — certainly if the team is out of contention. A $12MM injury guarantee would kick in if Jones is unable to pass a physical by the start of the 2025 league year. Jones entered the 2022 and ’24 league years on the mend; his injury history affected the Giants’ pursuit of QBs in this draft class and influenced Lock to sign with the team. Even if Jones recovers from his ACL rehab in time for training camp — all parties’ long-held expectation — his 2025 guarantee offers a variable here. If Jones can pass a physical next March, the Giants can designate him a post-June 1 cut and incur less than $12MM in dead money.

The Giants and Jones engaged in a negotiation that went down to the wire in March 2023. The QB used the franchise tag deadline, which impacted Saquon Barkley‘s future with the team, as leverage en route to the $40MM-per-year deal that included $81MM guaranteed. During a process that featured Jones changing agents, his asking price was believed to have reached $47MM per year at one point. The Giants were not exactly thrilled their starter aimed to squeeze the team in negotiations, with SNY’s Connor Hughes noting the QB’s hardline stance rubbed some in the organization the wrong way.

It is obviously not uncommon for players to maximize leverage during talks; the most accomplished QB in the Giants’ division, Dak Prescott, did this three years ago to secure $40MM per year on a player-friendly structure. Prescott also used a franchise tag deadline as leverage, and while the Giants hoped Jones’ asking price would come in around $35MM per year, the QB knew the team prioritized him over Barkley. After a playoff win, Jones took full advantage.

A year later, Barkley — after turning down a Giants extension offer in July 2023 — is elsewhere and Jones faces another “prove it” year. Jones’ New York future certainly appears to hinge on how he performs this season — should he indeed be the starter and Lock the backup.

Drew Lock In Play To Win Giants’ Starting QB Job?

Giants GM Joe Schoen has repeatedly indicated Daniel Jones is on track to return by training camp and reprise his role as the team’s starting quarterback. The team also showed tremendous confidence in the rehabbing QB by using the No. 6 overall pick to draft Malik Nabers, doing so despite extensive work on this year’s passer class.

Jones’ resume doubles as an unusual one for a quarterback on track for a sixth year as a team’s starter, but the party line (and Jones’ contract) centers around that being the Giants’ path. However, more rumblings about a QB competition are coming out. NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah said during his Move the Sticks podcast (h/t the New York Post’s Ryan Dunleavy) Drew Lock holds a legitimate chance to win that starting job.

[RELATED: Giants Deny Daniel Jones Buyer’s Remorse]

The Giants thoroughly scouted this year’s QB class, being closely linked to both Drake Maye and J.J. McCarthy and hosting the likes of Bo Nix and Spencer Rattler on “30” visits along with the recent North Carolina and Michigan starters. The value did not align for the Giants at No. 6, with a clear line of demarcation forming between Maye and the next tier at the position. That led to the team offering the Patriots Nos. 6 and 47, along with a 2025 first-rounder for No. 3 overall. As it stands, the Giants remain a Jones-centric operation.

Yeah, for me, I said it in January after the season. Expectation was Daniel would be our starter and we brought Drew Lock in to be his backup and Tommy [DeVito] has been the backup,” Schoen said, via ESPN.com’s Jordan Raanan. “So that’s where we are and that’s how we’ll move forward this season. Daniel is still under contract for three more years. As it sits today, that is where we are.

Certainly not a ringing Jones endorsement, Schoen’s comments come after Seahawks GM John Schneider said the Giants dangled the carrot of giving Lock a chance to compete for the starting job. Lock could well vie for playing time when Jones is healthy, the New York Daily News’ Pat Leonard adds.

Schoen’s assessment also points to a second “prove it” year for the 2019 No. 6 overall pick. Jones, 26, responded well to such a challenge in 2022, piloting a moderately talented Giants team to a surprising divisional-round run. But he fared poorly before going down last season, doing so after receiving $81MM guaranteed at signing. That deal guarantees Jones’ $35.5MM base salary this season. After this year, the Giants can move on without too much in the way of dead money.

The Giants’ QB research project pitted this year’s class against Jones and Lock, and Jeremiah adds Maye provided the cutoff point. The team used Lock as a central comparison tool while evaluating this year’s class, per Jeremiah, who said the former second-round pick has a “really good shot” of winning the Giants’ job. Given the team’s 2023 commitment to Jones, it would be borderline shocking if Lock — who signed a one-year, $5MM deal in March — beat him out. On the whole, however, Jones has not given the Giants what they hoped for in an Eli Manning successor. And just about everything went wrong for the five-year starter last season.

A March report indicated the Giants’ QB search largely hinged on a lack of confidence Jones could stay healthy. Jones’ health history also is believed to have partially influenced Lock’s decision to sign with the Giants. Two neck injuries — one of which requiring a 2022 surgery — have hindered the scrutinized starter, and he will not be full-go until at least training camp. That will open the door to Lock offseason starter reps. Those could be important, if this is to become a genuine competition.

Chosen 36 spots after Jones in 2019, Lock lost a competition with Geno Smith in 2022 and did not threaten the latter’s job security last year. The former Broncos draftee has proven erratic when given extended run as a starter. Lock led the NFL in INTs during his last full-season starter run (2020), doing so despite only finishing 12 games. He also played the lead role in sinking the Broncos in 2021, starting the team’s final three games (all losses) after entering a Week 15 contest with the team at 7-6. Lock, 27, did play well in a start against the Eagles last year, leading a game-winning drive. Of course, the Eagles’ defense was on the brink of a full-on collapse at that point.

It would be interesting to see the Giants bail on Jones as their starter just as they have given him a No. 1-caliber wide receiver prospect; the team’s previous hopes at doing so failed miserably. But Jones has just one top-half QBR finish (2022) and one season with more than 15 TD passes (2019). He should be considered on the hot seat. The Giants also would owe an additional $12MM in injury guarantees if Jones is unable to pass a physical by the start of the 2025 league year.

Moving parts exist here, and while it would surprise if Lock received the call based on his past and the Giants’ Jones investment, this could be a storyline to monitor soon.

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.