BROCK AND SALK
Huard: What Seahawks’ draft QB options are after extending Geno
After a stellar 2022 campaign that earned Geno Smith his first career Pro Bowl nod, the veteran quarterback has a new deal from the Seahawks.
Salk: Seahawks betting on Geno Smith, but it leads to a big question
The contract was first reported as a three-year deal worth up to $105 million, but according to follow-up reports on Tuesday morning, it’s more of a three-year, $75 million deal with up to $30 million in incentives.
Regardless, Seattle has its quarterback for 2023 and potentially beyond. The Seahawks also have some of the best capital in next month’s draft as they hold the No. 5 pick and No. 20 in the first round, as well as two second-round selections.
So does Smith’s new contract mean the Seahawks can’t or won’t draft a quarterback early in the next month’s NFL Draft?
“I don’t think it precludes you from doing that if you genuinely love one of these guys,” former NFL quarterback Brock Huard said during Tuesday’s Brock and Salk on Seattle Sports.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll essentially confirmed that belief when he joined Brock and Salk later on during Tuesday’s show.
Pete Carroll explains why the Seahawks committed to Geno Smith
“That opportunity is absolutely there. We can do whatever we need to do, which is a whole other discussion of what’s really exciting,” Carroll said about potentially drafting a QB. “The coaches are working at it and the scouts are working at it to try to position this thing. When you’re at (pick) 5, this is different than we’re used to seeing now. This is really fun because you can pretty much predict what’s going to happen with four different choices (before you), so which one is it? We’re alive and all guns are blazing here.”
Currently, four quarterbacks are expected to be first-round picks, and all four may go in the top 10.
Alabama’s Bryce Young and Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud have led the way during most of the draft process, but Florida’s Anthony Richardson had a record-setting combine last week while Kentucky’s Will Levis also shined when throwing.
Richardson has more “star power” after his combine showing, but Levis has a really special arm, Huard said.
“Levis is a freakshow physically. I mean, he is muscled up and rocked up. He just isn’t as elite as a record breaker as Anthony Richardson was at the combine,” Huard said. “But if there was no Anthony Richardson (in this draft) and it was Will Levis, trust me, everybody would say, ‘My gosh, he’s an Adonis.’ And that ball rips out of his hands and he’s got an ease with which he throws it everywhere.”
Huard doesn’t think the Seahawks have a shot at drafting either Young or Stroud, and he also thinks Richardson could potentially be off the board by the time they pick.
“But if they love Will Levis, if you love (Tennessee’s) Hendon Hooker in the second round … if they love that guy, this Geno deal, in fact, on paper probably sets up pretty well to be able to (draft someone to learn under Smith),” Huard said.
Huard’s co-host Mike Salk noted that Smith is now the only quarterback on the Seahawks roster. Will his 2023 backup come in the form of a draft pick? And if so, how high do you go to get that guy?
“You’ve now spent at least some capital on Geno Smith. Do you want to give him every bit of help you can with a premier defensive player at No. 5 and another premier player at No. 20 and use your second-round picks on linebackers or a wide receiver?” he said. “I mean, you’ve got four picks in the top two rounds. Do you want to put as much talent as possible around Geno Smith? Or do you want to safeguard and build for your future and use one of those picks – a first-round pick even – on drafting his replacement?”
Huard noted that the Seahawks often sit out the “first wave” of free agency, but with some big name pass-rushers expected to hit the market like Leonard Floyd and Frank Clark, Seattle can go after them if they “kind of linger.” He also said that would happen before the draft, so free agency may be a bit of a tell regarding what the Seahawks will or will not do at quarterback in the draft given they also need to address their defense in a major way.
“I think in this case, you get your business done with your QB, we don’t have to reach, we don’t have to do anything crazy there, we’ve got someone we believe in that can get us to the playoffs,” Huard said. “But if we love someone at 5 and they’re sitting there? Awesome.”
Huard said the Seahawks could also try and manipulate the draft market by attending all the quarterbacks’ pro days in order to help make three QBs go in the first three to four picks. That would help Seattle land a top defensive player like Alabama edge rusher Will Anderson Jr. or Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter.
Huard said the “home run” pick at No. 5 would be Anderson, but that Carter would be a great selection there, too.
“That would be on March 7 where I would lean,” he said. “And I think this Geno deal makes me lean that much more there. I don’t fall in that camp of, ‘Oh my gosh, you never gonna draft at No. 5 again, you’re never gonna find a quarterback again.'”
Huard thinks that line of thinking was valid about 10 years ago because “franchise quarterbacks didn’t move.” That’s not the case anymore.
“I lean today a little bit more on the (side) of a Hendon Hooker in the second round or if it’s somebody else in the third,” he said. “You’re obviously going to draft a quarterback – you need another young guy in that room with Geno – but to me that does not have to be somebody at No. 5.”
Listen to the full conversation in the podcast at this link or in the player below.
Rost’s Seahawks Breakdown: What’s next after locking up Geno Smith