Geno Smith

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.

Seahawks GM Addresses QB Geno Smith’s Future

9:26pm: The Seahawks may be ready to end the trade speculation. Schneider is believed to have informed Smith he will be on the roster on his current contract next season, Bleacher Report’s Jordan Schultz tweets. Similar assurances in the recent past have led to some course changes; this does come two years after Pete Carroll said at the Combine the intention was not to trade Wilson. That said, the Seahawks appear to be planning for a third season with Smith at the controls.

10:36am: Entering the offseason, questions were raised about the Seahawks’ commitment to quarterback Geno Smith. Despite the veteran’s multi-year extension signed in the wake of his impressive 2022 showing, the team had a path to releasing or trading him with minimal cap penalties.

However, the recent moves made by Seattle point in the direction of Smith being retained for at least one more campaign. His $12.7MM base salary has already become fully guaranteed, and the team agreed to a restructure last week. As a result of that move, Smith’s roster bonus was converted to a signing bonus, saving 2024 cap space and accelerating a payment which was due next month.

Many had pointed to March 18 (the time at which Smith’s roster bonus was due to vest) as a deadline for Seattle to work out a trade sending Smith elsewhere. With that option now off the table, the 2022 Comeback Player of the Year is on track to remain the Seahawks’ starter. New head coach Mike Macdonald declined to offer a firm commitment in that respect before the restructure, but general manager John Schneider‘s remarks downplayed the significance of the financial maneuvering.

“Other people made a bigger deal out of that than we did in the building,” the latter said, via Michael-Shawn Dugar of The Athletic (subscription required). “Is he gonna be here? Is he not gonna be here?’ He was going to be here. It’s a matter of when are we going to tell him we’re doing this with his roster bonus?”

Schneider added that Smith, 33, is atop Seattle’s depth chart “until he’s not.” Backup Drew Lock is a pending free agent, but he is expected to seek out a starting gig on the open market. Part of the Russell Wilson trade package, Lock made only a pair of starts during his Seattle tenure, something which could hinder his market. Schneider is believed to have played a central role in having the former second-rounder included in the Wilson deal, so a re-up could still be in the cards. On the other hand, Seattle taking the draft route is something Schneider also touched on.

The 14-year GM noted that the team’s track record of selecting only two passers in his tenure is “not something that we’re necessarily proud of,” leaving open the door to a draft addition this April. Seattle did homework on the top passers in last year’s class before ultimately selecting cornerback Devon Witherspoon fifth overall. The team still has first-round needs on defense which outweigh the urgency to draft a Smith successor, especially given his current financial situation. While Schneider declined to give the two-time Pro Bowler a full endorsement, his remarks point further toward stability under center for 2024.

Seahawks Restructure Geno Smith’s Deal

It’s been seeming increasingly likely that the Seahawks would hold on to Geno Smith for the 2024 campaign. Thanks to today’s cap machinations, the organization all but confirmed that notion.

[RELATED: Seahawks Plan On Retaining Geno Smith?]

According to ESPN’s Field Yates, the Seahawks have restructured Smith’s deal, converting $9.6MM of his roster bonus into a signing bonus. The move will save the Seahawks around $4.8MM in 2024 cap space, and Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times adds that the move reduces Smith’s cap hit from $31.2MM to $26.4MM. Smith’s $12.7MM base salary shifted from an injury guarantee to fully guaranteed last week, further increasing the chances that he’d be sticking around for at least 2024.

That $9.6MM roster bonus wasn’t set to vest until March 18, a deadline that could have bought the team some extra time to figure out a trade for the veteran QB. While the Seahawks compromised their flexibility by making today’s move, there were also benefits. Condotta notes that the restructuring allowed the front office to spread the cap hit across two seasons, and Smith obviously won’t complain about getting that money sooner.

Following his breakout 2022 campaign, the Seahawks signed Smith to a three-year, $75MM extension. Still, that contract was heavy on incentives and performance escalators, meaning the Seahawks effectively had the opportunity to take it year-by-year. Assuming the Seahawks don’t make an unexpected trade, the organization will likely face the same decision next year. As Jason Fitzgerald of writes, the Seahawks will now be left with $13.5MM in dead money if they cut Smith in 2025.

By carving out that extra $4.8MM in cap room, the Seahawks are now just about at the estimated cap for the 2024 campaign. The organization can still rework Smith’s base salary in an attempt to open more breathing room, but there’s less urgency on that front.

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 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 To Start Geno Smith In Week 16

Geno Smith was healthy enough to dress for Seattle’s win this past Monday, but he did not get the start. After consecutive games with Drew Lock under center, Smith is on track to return to the field.

Head coach Pete Carroll indicated after the Seahawks’ win against the Eagles that Smith was expected to get the start in Week 16 (h/t Michael-Shawn Dugar of The Athletic). To little surprise, the veteran is now off Seattle’s injury report altogether, putting him on track to re-take the top spot on the QB depth chart to close out the season while the team pushes for a wild-card spot.

The Seahawks’ chances in that regard were helped by the last-minute comeback Lock orchestrated, but Smith’s return will give Seattle’s offense a boost. Last season’s Comeback Player of the Year has not had the same success he enjoyed in 2022, but he profiles as having a higher ceiling than Lock. Smith’s performances dipped during Seattle’s recent losing streak, so it will be interesting to see if he is able to rebound when back on the field.

Smith’s 2022 Pro Bowl campaign earned him a signficant raise on a new Seahawks deal. That three-year, $75MM pact includes performance escalators and scheduled bonus payouts both before and after the beginning of the 2024 league year. As a result, a short window will exist following the current season in which the team could move on with a limited cap penalty in search of a younger option under center.

Smith’s statistics have fallen closer to his career averages in 2023 after he put up personal bests across the board last year. Many members of the team’s offense from the 2022 campaign are still in place, and the addition of first-round wideout Jaxon Smith-Njigba has created another option in the passing game. It would come as little surprise if Seattle were to eye a move to a new signal-caller in place of Smith, however, especially if his late-season performance match his other 2023 showings.

Sitting at 7-7, the Seahawks in the mix for an NFC wild-card berth, something which would duplicate the team’s achievement from last year. Smith will earn added praise if he can guide Seattle back to the postseason, though he could be playing for his long-term future in the Emerald City over the next few weeks.

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.

NFC West Rumors: McCaffrey, Smith, Lynch

In a recent deep dive on the value of NFL running backs by Dan Pompei of The Athletic, it was revealed that 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan reportedly liked running back Christian McCaffrey so much coming out of Stanford in 2017 that the team heavily considered taking him at No. 3 overall all in that year’s draft. That would’ve made McCaffrey the highest-drafted running back since Trent Richardson was selected third overall by the Browns in 2012.

Instead, of course, McCaffrey was selected five picks later by the Panthers. McCaffrey would immediately display his skill and versatility upon arrival in the NFL, being named a first-team All-Pro after leading the league in scrimmage yards (2,392) and touchdowns (19) in 2019. The following two years would be hampered with injury, limiting him to only 10 contests over that time, but it wouldn’t deter Shanahan from trading four draft picks for him in 2022, finally attaining the running back he so admired.

The 49ers, of course, selected McCaffrey’s college teammate, defensive end Solomon Thomas at No. 3 in 2017. Thomas failed to reach the heights of his draft stock, leading to his fifth-year option being declined. Unfortunately for Thomas, he would suffer a torn ACL two games into his contract year. Since leaving San Francisco in free agency, he has spent time with the Raiders and, his current team, the Jets.

Here are a few other rumors from around the NFC West:

  • Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith in playing this season on a shiny new contract that, at the original time of reporting, boasted an amount of $30MM to be earned through incentives. According to ESPN’s Brady Henderson, that doesn’t quite appear to be accurate. The supposed “incentives” have now been revealed to be escalators, which unlike incentives, are tied to non-guaranteed bonuses. For example, an incentive would pay Smith $30MM if he were to reach certain statistical benchmarks. In reality, with the escalator, Smith would need to reach those benchmarks and still be on the team’s roster by the fifth day of the new league year in order to boost his $9.6MM roster bonus to $24.6MM. There are a number of statistical benchmarks that Smith is not on track to reach (4,282 passing yards, 30 passing touchdowns, 69.755 percent completion rate, 100.874 passer rating), but he could still cash in on team benchmarks such as a playoff berth or a 10-win season.
  • When 49ers general manager John Lynch was given a multi-year extension alongside Shanahan back in September, the team executive was reportedly given an additional title, as well, to accompany the new contract, per Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports. In addition to his role as GM, Lynch will now also sport the title of president of football operations.

NFL Injury Rumors: Seahawks, Woods, Ward

The Seahawks already face a tall task tomorrow night as they host the 49ers in the last of the three Thanksgiving Day matchups. That challenge is only made more difficult by the fact that Seattle is dealing with multiple injuries to key players as quarterback Geno Smith and running back Kenneth Walker both head into tomorrow with injury designations.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported earlier today that Smith hadn’t been able to test his bruised elbow much at all yet in the short week. Smith spent today’s practice determining just how much he could throw in order to set expectations on his availability for tomorrow. Later on in the afternoon, NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo relayed that “all indications have (Smith) tracking to play” against the rival 49ers Thursday night.

In the case of Walker, head coach Pete Carroll told reporters that Walker suffered an “oblique strain that was legit,” per ESPN’s Adam Schefter. It sounds, based on Carroll’s press talks, that Walker is in danger of missing some time, but Schefter went on to report that the team doesn’t consider him to be an injured reserve candidate. Walker likely would’ve missed a week on regular rest, but with a short week, it would be extremely unlikely for Walker to make an appearance tomorrow, hence his doubtful game status.

In addition to Smith and Walker, the Seahawks will also be without rookie safety and special teams standout Jerrick Reed II, who reportedly tore his ACL and will miss the remainder of the season, according to Schefter. The sixth-round New Mexico product hasn’t been asked to do much on defense this year but is currently third on the team in special teams tackles.

Here are a few more injury rumors from around the league:

  • The Colts placed second-year tight end Jelani Woods on IR with a hamstring injury just prior to the start of the season in order to open up a roster spot for wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie. It became a given, at that point, that Woods would miss at least the team’s first four games, but to date, he has yet to make his 2023 debut. He’s eligible for activation from IR, but according to Joel A. Erickson of FOX59/CBS4, Woods experienced a setback in his rehabilitation with his opposite hamstring that will keep him from returning for now. Head coach Shane Steichen stated that he “does not know” if it will be a season-ending setback.
  • The Browns may sport one of the league’s best defenses this year, but their secondary is limping into Week 12 as all four starters hold questionable game statuses as of Wednesday. Safeties Grant Delpit and Juan Thornhill and cornerback Greg Newsome II all hold a decent chance of playing on Sunday, but cornerback Denzel Ward is dealing with a shoulder injury that may not only hold him out of this weekend’s game but perhaps beyond that, as well, according to Mary Kay Cabot of The team isn’t quite ready to rule Ward out yet, but they are bracing themselves for the idea that they will be without him for multiple games.
  • We have seen high ankle sprains claim the playing time of multiple players this season. Patriots offensive tackle Trent Brown sought out a second opinion on his ankle injury yesterday, per Mike Reiss of ESPN, and was diagnosed with both high- and low-ankle sprains, as well as an MCL sprain. Players have missed time with less, but Brown reportedly plans to play through the ankle and knee injuries.