Seahawks GM John Schneider: ‘We want Geno to come back’
If there was any doubt about what the Seahawks would prefer to do at the quarterback position in 2023, their general manager has put it to rest.
John Schneider, who just finished his 13th season as Seahawks GM, joined Seattle Sports’ Wyman and Bob for an exclusive interview on Thursday afternoon and addressed Seattle’s starting QB, Geno Smith, who is set to enter free agency this offseason.
“First and foremost, we want Geno to come back. I mean, there’s no question, right?” Schneider said.
Smith, 32, was a tremendous story for the Seahawks in 2022. He earned Seattle’s starting job out of the preseason, taking over for previous QB Russell Wilson, who was dealt to Denver in a blockbuster trade last March. Not only did Smith play well, he helped Seattle earn a surprise playoff berth, made the Pro Bowl, and is one of the favorites to win Comeback Player of the Year for shining in his first opportunity to be a full-time starter since 2014.
At the same time, Wilson struggled in Denver, making it seem like Schneider and the Hawks pulled off the heist of the year.
The question now becomes what Smith could earn on a new deal now with the one-year contract he signed last offseason up. Spotrac’s Michael Ginnitti estimated Wednesday to Wyman and Bob that Smith could get a two-year contract averaging $35 million per year.
Seattle gets the benefit of multiple avenues with the NFL’s franchise tag with Smith, and Schneider said he has been communicating with Smith and his representation on the options for the two sides.
“There’s a balance when you’re building a team, always, and Geno knows that,” Schneider said. “He’s been to a number of different teams and he’s seen it firsthand so he understands the process. We’ve had clear communication with his agency and Geno himself, so he knows where we stand. But I’m really proud of him, I’m really happy for him.”
Schneider made that last part clear as he shared some anecdotes from conversations with Smith during the QB’s time backing up Wilson in Seattle from 2019-21.
“Geno and I have had a number of discussions over the years about quarterbacks that have been around… (like) Rich Gannon – he came on a little bit later in his career,” Schneider said, referencing the former Raiders QB who won the 2002 NFL MVP in his age-35 season. “… Geno and I had talked and he was like, ‘Man, should I go play in the CFL? I mean, I know I can play.’ And he was always really confident.”
It may seem like ancient history now, but Smith wasn’t even named the Seahawks’ starting QB for 2022 until after Drew Lock, who he was competing against for the job, had to miss time due to COVID-19.
“With limited time in the offseason now, these guys (backup QBs) just don’t get the reps,” Schneider said. “The starter’s getting their reps, and (Smith) was splitting time with Drew (Lock) in the preseason and then Drew got COVID… And once Geno was named the starter, he took it even a notch higher. Whether that was leadership, confidence, whatever, he just did it. He did a great job and (quarterbacks coach) Dave Canales and (offensive coordinator) Shane (Waldron) were amazing with him.”
We will have more from Wyman and Bob’s conversation with Schneider in the coming days on SeattleSports.com. You can listen to it in full in the podcast below.