The Score’s Jordan Schultz: ‘Geno really wanted to stay’ with Seahawks

Mar 6, 2023, 6:32 PM | Updated: 6:35 pm
Seahawks Geno Smith Kenneth Walker III...
Seahawks QB Geno Smith and RB Kenneth Walker III celebrate a TD against Las Vegas on Nov. 27, 2022. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

After leading the Seahawks to a 9-8 record and surprise postseason appearance in 2022, Geno Smith is coming back to Seattle.

Video: Wyman & Bob react to Geno Smith’s Seahawks return

Smith and the Seahawks have agreed to terms on a contract extension, one that NFL insider Jordan Schultz of The Score reports will be worth $105 million over three years, including up to $52 million over the first calendar year of the contract. Smith was set to become a free agent next week, but the Seahawks also had the option of putting a franchise tag on him before Tuesday’s deadline in order to retain him for 2023.

Shortly after Schultz’s report, he joined Seattle Sports’ Wyman and Bob to break down the deal and share his insight on Smith and the Seahawks. You can listen to the full conversation in the player below. After that, read some of the things Schultz had to say.

Why the Seahawks are “betting” on Geno

At this point, what Seattle is betting on is not only Geno the player, but the person. And what I mean by that is when they brought him in as Russell Wilson’s backup, I think they were cautiously optimistic that he could potentially be a bridge guy. He has exceeded all expectations, and he’s done it because he’s been able to command a locker room. And when you talk to players – and I’ve had conversations with (Seahawks wide receiver) DK Metcalf and Geno about this, for example, (Seahawks tight end) Noah Fant – what is it about Geno that has allowed him to have success at such an early part as a starter? Because remember, he sat for eight years (as an NFL backup QB). And what you hear is, ‘It’s the preparation, the leadership.’ It’s all the things that you want out of your quarterback, out of your CEO, and I think that’s why he’ll be able to hit a lot of those if not all of those (incentives toward) $52 million (in the first full calendar year).

Geno “wanted to stay in Seattle”

One of the teams that stood out (as interested in Smith) was the Jets. I know they they kicked the tires on it, but Geno really wanted to stay in Seattle. And when I talked to him throughout the process, it was, ‘How do I find a way that both the Seahawks and me feel comfortable? Because ultimately, this is where I want to be.’ So I think other teams knew that. I know the Jets were interested and there were other bites. Obviously teams that need a quarterback checked in, but ultimately it was really the Seahawks that was the team he wanted to be at and I think the rest of the league knew that.

The deal

My interpretation was this was always about the number (dollar figure) that he that he felt like he needed, and especially when you consider that the (franchise) tag for quarterbacks was about $32.4 million, so he wanted a really respectable number. … I think Geno was realistic in terms of where he’s at… He also wanted to reward the Seahawks for betting on him. You know, this was a guy who a few years ago could have been out of the league, was a backup relegated to that status. So I think there was there was a sense of, ‘Yes, I want to be comfortable here, I am comfortable,’ but also he wanted to reward coach Pete (Carroll) and the organization for giving him an opportunity. … Negotiations really picked up during the combine the last week, the last four or five days, and ultimately this was about the number and probably about the time that they thought a deal will get done.

The benefit for both Geno and the Seahawks

Obviously on the heels of what happened with Russell Wilson, the divorce there, (the Seahawks are) wanting stability. I spent a lot of time with Geno, and I think one of the things that stood out for him was being grateful for having this opportunity. This was a guy who was a big recruit, had a great college career (at West Virginia), was a high (draft) pick, and things for whatever reason didn’t work out (early in his career). And one of the questions I asked him over the last year, and I’ve asked him this a few times, is ‘Would you change anything?’ Because obviously this was not the career arc you probably thought he would have coming out of college, and the answer was always a definitive ‘no’ because he felt like the opportunity for him to sit behind Eli Manning (with the Giants), to be in New York as a backup, to sit behind Russell – who he had a great relationship with – all those things put him in a position now where he feels like this is the best version of him and he’s only getting better. I think also the relationship with the players, a lot of guys already texted me on the team saying they’re so happy for him, and that’s what you want to see. Let’s just point down the road in Arizona where there’s not exactly all that love for a quarterback – we see Kyler Murray and some of the issues they’ve had there, right? And so when you reward a quarterback and you give him that kind of money, it’s great if he’s a good player or a great player, but it’s even better when you believe in the person, and I know Seattle does and I can tell you that it’s warranted having spent ample time with Geno. By the way, I talked to him about 20 minutes ago and his response was, ‘I’m ready to get to work.’ So I think that says it all.

Salk: Seahawks betting on Geno Smith, but it leads to a big question

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