Seattle will host the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year once more.
The team announced that the Seahawks and Pro Bowl quarterback Geno Smith reached an agreement on a contract on Monday. The deal is for three years and $105 million and includes $52 million in the first year.
There had been optimism on both sides that a deal would be reached. They beat the Tuesday deadline for teams to apply for the franchise tag, which would have cost quarterbacks $32.416 million in 2023. They came to an agreement on Monday.
After playing the majority of the previous seven seasons as a backup, 32-year-old Smith was one of the biggest surprises of the 2022 NFL season, winning the league’s Comeback Player of the Year award and a spot in the Pro Bowl.
After Russell Wilson was traded to the Denver Broncos, he became the Seahawks’ starting quarterback, defeating Drew Lock, widely thought to be the favorite, and put together one of the most productive seasons in the franchise’s history. Smith led the league in completion percentage (69.8%), Total QBR (60.8), and touchdown passes (30) on a one-year, $3.5 million contract, leading the Seahawks to an unexpected playoff berth as the NFC’s seventh seed.
That is a significant increase from his 46 games of 43.6 QBR and 58.8 percent completion rate during the previous season.
Smith began each of the 17 regular season games as well as Seattle’s misfortune to the San Francisco 49ers in the wild-card round, didn’t miss a single snap and set the Seahawks’ single-season records for completion rate, completions (399) and passing yards (4,282), breaking marks that Wilson set in 16-game seasons.
Turnovers became an issue for Smith down the stretch. He admitted at one point that he was trying to do too much and threw seven of his 11 interceptions during the final seven games of the regular season.
Smith expressed his desire to “repay” the organization for welcoming him into the fold at a time when he “probably could have been out of the league” following the playoff defeat.
At the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis last week, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider said that re-signing Smith wouldn’t necessarily prevent Seattle from taking a quarterback early in the draft next month. The Seahawks have two second-round picks and the fifth and 20th picks in the draft.
However, for the time being, Smith will become the Seahawks’ sole quarterback with a 2023 contract. As his backup, they want to re-sign Lock, who is also set to become an unrestricted free agent.
Last season, Smith received an additional $3.5 million in incentives, bringing his total compensation for 2022 to $7 million. Over the course of ten NFL seasons, he has earned around $17.5 million.
Smith had served as Wilson’s backup in Seattle for the previous three seasons prior to 2022. Three months after he was arrested on suspicion of DUI, the Seahawks re-signed Smith. Prosecutors are awaiting the results of blood tests in that case, so Smith has not been charged yet.
Smith was drafted by the New York Jets in the second round in 2013 out of West Virginia. During his first two seasons, he struggled with turnovers. In the summer of 2015, he lost his starting job after being punched by a teammate in an infamous locker room altercation, landing on injured reserve with a broken jaw. After his rookie contract expired in 2017, he spent the 2017 season with the New York Giants, the 2018 season with the Chargers, and then signed with Seattle in 2019.
When Smith beat Wilson and the Broncos in Week 1 with two touchdown passes, it was the NFL’s longest gap between opening-day starts since 1971. Since Rich Gannon in 1999, he was the first quarterback to be selected to his first Pro Bowl in his 10th or later season.
In his career, Smith has thrown for 11,199 yards, 64 touchdowns, and 48 interceptions.