Before continuing with this article please take a moment to give Geno Smith a round of applause. There is no need to stand, but do acknowledge that his entire life has changed with the contract that he signed with the Seattle Seahawks.
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Seahawks signed Smith to a three-year, $105 million deal. A deal that at face value sounds excellent for Smith, but anyone familiar with NFL contracts knows that in that league, the entirety of the deal is damn near always team friendly. Still, while this deal is good for the Seattle Seahawks, it also rewards Smith for his excellent 2022 season.
Per Rapoport, Smith can earn $52 million at the completion of the first calendar year of the contract.
Smith will most likely be the starting quarterback for the Seahawks in 2023 even though they have the fifth-overall pick in the upcoming NFL draft. With much of his money front-loaded, if a quarterback the Seahawks select in April is ready to play at some point in 2023, or even if it takes until Week 1 of 2024, they will be able to manage Smith’s contract. He will enter the upcoming season as the Seahawks’ starter, and make most of his money in year one.
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Even if this deal is a significant raise from the just under $4 million the Seahawks paid him for the 2022 season, Smith would likely have only agreed to this extension if it pays out close to that $52 million number even if he’s released before the one-year mark. Smith is about to make far more money in his NFL career than he likely believed was possible even last spring. Smith now doesn’t have to play the Chase Daniel game, signing low seven-figure contracts to be a coach in shoulder pads as a second-string quarterback.
With only one stellar season under his belt of course the Seahawks were going to entice Smith to forgo the franchise tag by offering him a large sum of money upfront. If the Seahawks franchised him following the 2023 season a 2024 franchise tag would have been brutal, especially if that season ended without a quarterback they were confident in to replace him. This three-year deal gives them great leeway to make a decision on a quarterback of the future, even if they decide to press on with the 30-plus-year-old Smith past next season.
Seahawks management most certainly deserves a sumptuous dinner and individual raises as a reward for how this contract was negotiated. Nearly half of it will be paid out after year one, and the completion of a full season appears to not guarantee that entire $52 million.
While the Seahawks got Smith to agree to a contract offer that worked out in their favor, at least it forever changed Smith’s wealth. Maybe they part ways next season, but if Smith plays well again there could be another starting quarterback salary in the near future.
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