The Seattle Seahawks ran the 49ers close, for half a game in the NFC Wildcard playoffs. While the 41-23 defeat to a division rival was a humbling experience but a playoff appearance was ahead of schedule for the Seattle rebuild. They were a team playing with house money.
Now they have a decision to make though, what should they do with Geno Smith?
Smith ended the season with 4282 yards, 30 TDs and 11 picks with a completion percentage a tick under 70%, leading the team to 9-8 record. But he is out of contract, having played on a 1 year $3.5M contract in 2022. He expects to earn far more than that as a 33-year-old in 2023. If Seattle won’t pay him, someone will.
If the Seahawks aren’t convinced, and don’t want to commit long term, they can franchise tag Smith for $32.4M or add more risk with a transition tag at $30.4M. If Seattle want him, he’ll be a Seahawk next year. However, they’ll be paying Smith roughly 10 times more than in 2022, significantly impacting their ability to build a team. The Seahawks have $45M in cap space for next season.
The complicating factor is that, despite making the playoffs, the Seahawks have a top 5 pick from the Broncos., putting them in position to draft Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud or Will Levis if they wanted to. That may be the best option, signing Smith on an incentive-laden deal for 2-3 years – or draft him if needed, and drafting a QB for the future. But the Seahawks do have a relatively talent-poor roster compared to their record, needing a Defensive Tackle, Linebacker, secondary support and a third receiver. Using a first round pick, and an early one at that, for a second quarterback is an expensive move to make. Not to mention the opportunity to trade back with a QB-needy team if draft buzz elevates them that much.
Seattle had a great year and can reap the rewards of the season and good front office work. These are good problems to have but there are big decisions to make for the future of the Seahawks in the coming weeks.
Image: San Diego Union Tribune