The Super Bowl is over, but the NFL quarterback carousel is just beginning. What does the future hold for all 32 NFL teams at the QB position? Now I'm going to give you an opportunity to spin this wheel right here. Let's spin the wheel and find out which teams we hit today. The Seattle Seahawks. Alright, let's connect with our pal Greg Bell.
It is a great job covering the Seahawks for the Tacoma News-Tribune as he joins us right now off the news from yesterday that Geno Smith has a $105 million deal over three years with the Seattle Seahawks coming off what is one of the craziest stories that you'll ever see in the history of the NFL with his redemption story a year ago. Greg, appreciate the time. How you been? I've been well. Thank you. How are you?
I'm doing fantastic. So it seemed like all along you knew that this deal was going to get done. When you go and do a deep dive on the numbers yesterday, what stands out to you here? The first thing is it's three years. It's not a four or five-year deal like they've done with Russell Wilson twice and franchise players, foundational players, Bobby Wagner, Earl Thomas, Cam Chandler. It's a three-year deal. And yes, he's 32 years old. He's a young 32.
As we know, he was on the bench for 14 for seven years. But the Seahawks didn't go max contract, pro-rated across five years, the Mexican pro-rated signing bonuses for cap purposes. They gave him a mostly front-loaded contract, which is only three years. And that, to me, keeps them in play to draft a quarterback with the fifth overall pick, a generational pick for Seattle that they're not used to having, obviously. And they are looking at the top quarterbacks in the draft.
They are making it known across the league that they are interested in them to attract trade offers from teams wanting to trade up to them that need quarterbacks like Carolina and Las Vegas and Atlanta that are drafting below them. But if the other thing that jumps out is the money, it gets reported all the time when news breaks on contracts at the max value of 105 million. I've gotten used to writing in this league up to 105 million because invariably, a portion of that are incentive bonuses that the player would have to max out to get the full max value of the deal.
And in this case, that's true with Geno Smith. It really boils down to a three-year, $75 million deal, averaging $25 million a year with $30 million in performance bonuses. And only if he maintains pro ball play and pro ball selections and becomes, by then, a four-time pro ball quarterback by the end of that third year would he make all 105 million. So it may end up short of that.
And it's, to me, a team-friendly deal both in length and, frankly, in cost. While $25 million sounds like a lot per year for a quarterback, it's below market value for his level of play just as last year. We'll see if his level of play can stay with it, of course, beyond 2022.
Yeah. What are your expectations for Geno for next year? Because he was remarkable this year. It was a storybook.
You couldn't even write the script in Hollywood. What are your expectations for him next season, Greg? Well, for him himself, he says he's going to be better and that he was shaking rust off for part of last season and that he can only be better next year with a full season having started for the first time in eight years. He needs a center, someone that they can have and play for multiple years, which they haven't had out here in Seattle since, really, they traded Max Unger in 2015 for Jimmy Cram and the Saints. They've got to fix the center position. And they need more consistent play in the interior of their offensive line. They're going to have a new starting right guard, probably Phil Haynes.
They've resigned for one year and $4 million, probably to release Gabe Jackson, who's now into his early 30s and taking up $6.6 million in caps. He alternated with Phil Haynes as a starting right guard last year, so that's probably one change they'll make. And they need a consistently healthy running game. Everyone knows that Kenneth Walker was a breakout rookie star with 1,000 yards. But he played most of December in January, injured ankle injuries, other injuries. He missed a few games.
Rashad Penny, of course, had a season-ending injury and surgery in early October. Geno Smith was a top of the league quarterback, maybe even we had it all pro for MVP level, until his injuries in the running game and the running game slowed down. So he needs a complete offense around him to maximize his talents in this offense. He's not a quarterback I don't see, and nothing in his career suggests that he's a quarterback that can win by himself without a running game and offensive line support. And then finally, they need a defense that is so much better than what they had last year, especially their front seven, which didn't rush the passer consistently and gave up tons of rushing yards.
For a while, they were allowing the most rushing yards in team history, 170-plus yards a game. They have to fix their defensive front seven, which pretty much subverted all the good that Geno Smith did last year. You talked about them potentially taking a quarterback at five. Do you think that's more to field trade-offers, or is that legit that it wouldn't surprise you if they end up taking Richardson, Levis, whoever's still available there with the fifth overall pick? Well, it wouldn't surprise me if they take a quarterback, because again, this is a pick they have not had since 2009, and they don't expect to have again for another decade or two. But they're not just going to take a quarterback. I think they really like the physical skill set of Anthony Richardson, and they may not take him at five. They could potentially trade down and say Carolina moves up from nine to five. Scott Spritter is a former assistant general manager and a good friend of John Schneider, the Seahawks GM, and he's a Seattle native.
He was in the Seahawks for 10 years. Sitter at the combine last week, I listened to him speak in Indianapolis when I was there, and he went out of his way to say basically we're open to move up and we're trying to move up to draft a quarterback. The issue is which ones will be left, and if Carolina does trade up to five, does that mean Bryce Young, C.J. Schoud, and potentially Richardson are off the board? If the Seahawks could get Richardson even in a perfect world, say at nine, Richardson wouldn't have to play right away. Now that they've re-signed Geno Smith, but only for three years, a rookie quarterback's contract would be longer than Geno Smith's and certainly much cheaper, and he wouldn't have to play right away, which is so rare obviously. A team drafting in the top ten or even top five especially have to play that quarterback right away because those teams stink, which is why they're drafting at five or nine or ten.
Not so with Seattle having just made the playoffs. That's the beauty of the Russell Wilson deal. Do you think there's any chance they trade up from five to go get one of those quarterbacks?
I don't see that. It would be so against what John Schneider has done here. Again, though, they've never been in the situation of a top five pick, but Schneider is in the business of cultivating picks by trading down and getting more. It would surprise everybody who's watched this regime for 13 years if they traded up higher in the top five to get a quarterback. If they did do it, though, that would suggest how much they value whatever quarterback they would take by doing that.
It would be so against the grain of what this regime's done. So, logically, if you think they're drafting a quarterback, it's going to be Richardson, you would say? Correct. Would they trade down and risk Richardson not being there at nine? Would Carolina be trading up to five to take Richardson, whose stock obviously is just skyrocketing at the combine? That's all anyone talked about when I was there last week was Anthony Richardson. He only has 13 starts in the college rank.
We all know that. Do you hand the keys over to, if you're Carolina or Las Vegas, to trade up for a guy who's had 13 career starts no matter what his physical talents are? The beauty of Seattle saying, yes, we'll do that, again, is that Richardson would not have to play right away with Geno Smith now under contract. Wrapping up with Greg Bell, does a great job covering the Seahawks. When you look at Pete Carroll, everyone counted him out, everyone was doubting him a year ago when Russ won it out and they allowed him to go to Denver in that trade. A year later, it is completely different where everyone's like, all right, Pete and the Seahawks won and Russ is declining and he had a horrible year and it's a disaster in Denver. I know Pete's won a Super Bowl in this league, but this past year had to be the most satisfying year of his career, right?
It was. This could not have gone any better. I guess the only way it would have gone better is if the Seahawks had won the Super Bowl and it stopped raining in Seattle. That's the only way this last 12 months could have been better out here for Seattle, for the Seahawks. They did not in their wildest dreams think that Russell Wilson was going to become the league's worst quarterback and the worst offense in Denver was going to go 5-12 and they were going to have the fifth overall pick.
That's not why they made that trade. They were giddy inside that Seahawks headquarters. With every loss, the Broncos were piling up. For a long time, they had the third overall pick. Until 10-1 in the last weekend of the season, they were picking third. How different it would be right now if they were sitting three, pretty much assured, especially if Chicago picks at one, pretty much assured at getting one of the two top quarterbacks, Stroud or Young, had Denver not won that last game.
At least fielding calls from every pro football team ever invented to trade up. So, having said all of that, plus the fact that Geno Smith broke three of Russell Wilson's passing records, plus the fact they went to the playoffs, which they didn't go to with Wilson the year before, plus the fact that the fifth overall pick on top of all that. It's incredible the way that trade has worked out for them, not financially, but draft picks. Four of the first 52 picks in this draft are because of that trade. Man, this team is coming off a playoff run. This was not intended.
This is so far above what they thought they were going to get. Well, not only that, if you had asked me when the deal was made, I would have thought that Drew Locke would have been starting. Not Geno Smith! Correct, and that was all to speak, Carroll. Carroll gauged correctly that the locker room loved Geno Smith, that he had earned a lot of respect as Russell Wilson's backup for three seasons, that he'd proven himself somewhat in the three starts he had to make for Wilson for season before in 2021 after Wilson broke his finger. Really, they gave Geno Smith the keys to the offense in April's minicamp. It wasn't a competition. They were about to give Drew Locke a start in the second preseason game, and then he got COVID and was out hard COVID for more than a week.
And that was it. That was just going to be his one chance, and he didn't get it, and that was the competition. Geno Smith pretty much took every snap minus one day of training camp, so that was all Pete Carroll's estimation from the start. And obviously, Smith backed up his coach's faith in him. At the end of the season, Smith mentioned, hey, I want to return to Seattle and repay the loyalty that Pete Carroll and the Seahawks gave me.
I could be out of the league right now. And he wanted to re-sign here, what the contract brings, and some of that is how the deal got done yesterday. Last thing I'll ask you, Greg Bell, wrapping up, the quarterback that used to cover Russell Wilson now is Sean Payton out in Denver. How do you think we're talking about Russell Wilson a year from now when we're having this conversation? I think you're going to see, knowing him as I do, and I know how much he's wanted to play with Sean Payton for years, even when he was here in Seattle, I think you're going to see a redemptive season from him. I think you're going to see him maybe be a little more on football, back to the fundamentals. We'll see if all the other trappings that come with Russell Wilson that I've covered for 10 years stay the same and consistent or even increase next year.
I would suspect not. I think you're going to see a new focus and certainly a new offense with Sean Payton. If he doesn't do it with Payton, he's probably not going to do it.
I think that he's not falling off a cliff where he's not going to ever do it again. He's now got the quarterback coach that he's wanted for years. He's admired him how Payton has worked with Drew Brees.
Drew Brees has been a mentor for Russell Wilson for a long time, and I know for a fact that Sean Payton has been an apple of Russell Wilson's eye for years, way before this deal came down. That covers the Seahawks for the Tacoma News Tribune. He, of course, is Greg Bell. You can follow him on Twitter at gbellseattle. Greg, thank you. Thank you. Have a good night.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-07 22:52:43 / 2023-03-07 22:58:41 / 6