Pete Carroll explains why Seahawks committed to Geno, what it means

Mar 7, 2023, 11:02 AM | Updated: 6:48 pm

Seattle Seahawks Pete Carroll Geno Smith...

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and QB Geno Smith celebrate a win over Arizona on Oct. 16, 2022. (Photo by Tom Hauck/Getty Images)

(Photo by Tom Hauck/Getty Images)

The Seahawks made a big gamble last offseason when they traded Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos and then made longtime backup quarterback Geno Smith their starting quarterback. A year later, it couldn’t have gone much better for Seattle.

Rost’s Seahawks Breakdown: What’s next after locking up Geno Smith

Not only did the Seahawks make the playoffs in 2022, but they now have the No. 5 pick in next month’s draft thanks to the Broncos’ struggles while Smith was a Pro Bowler who set numerous Seattle franchise records. Due to his play and the fact that he was a pending free agent, Smith has a new three-year contract with Seattle that was made official on Monday.

Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll joined Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk on Tuesday morning to discuss Smith, the deal and what that means for the team in numerous ways. Check out the full conversation in the video below, and after that we’ll detail a bit of what Carroll had to say.

The process

“It was done really well. Everybody stayed really on point, communication was great, the focus was there to get something done. We got it done in timely fashion – we’re ahead of free agency, which we needed to do – and really, everybody’s thrilled about it,” Carroll said. “… It’s a good deal. A good deal for our club, and I think it sends a really good message, too, to everybody on the outside that this is a good place and things are going in the right direction. We’re fired up about it.”

Carroll said general manager John Schneider and the Seahawks’ front office were “on it” and that communication with Smith and his representatives were constant the whole offseason.

“In these kinds of negotiations, the spaces can really cause issues, you know?” Carroll said of  lapses in communication. “And both Geno’s representation and our guys just didn’t let that happen.”

Why commit to Geno?

“All of the confidence in the world he gave us by the way he handled himself. It’s not the physical part of it, it’s really the other side of it,” Carroll said. “His view, his perspective throughout was so clear and consistent, and he was so confident and he backed it up. He backed it up with his words, he backed it up with his actions, and his teammates know. Every aspect of it, it just worked out really, really well. And this was hard for him. It was a huge challenge, the challenge of a lifetime, and he came through. And to see him handling it so well, we marveled at that. But then he never wavered, so it just gave us all the confidence to continue on.”

Can the Seahawks win a title with Geno on this deal?

“Heck yeah, we could. Heck yeah we can,” Carroll said. “He’s gonna do his part. We have a lot of work to do. We have a lot of stuff that we have to get done, we have a lot of decisions to make. This extraordinary draft coming up has been ongoing, too, and we haven’t left that topic either. That’s been ongoing.”

Can Seahawks still draft a QB?

Speaking of the draft, can the Seahawks still pick a quarterback in April after signing Smith to this deal?

“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. “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.”

What would Smith think if the Seahawks drafted a quarterback early?

“Whatever we do, he’s gonna take it in stride. He’s not gonna worry about anybody,” Carroll said. “This is as a reward to what he’s done, even solidifies his confidence in understanding how much trust we have in him. If that is to happen, that is a choice for the long haul of the future and all that. We’ll see what happens.”

Incentive-based deal

Smith’s deal was first reported as a three-year deal worth up to $105 million. Per NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, it’s a base value of $25 million a season with $40 million guaranteed. Smith will earn $28 million in Year 1 of the contract, which has $30 million worth of incentives.

Carroll was asked about Smith’s deal appearing to be incentive-laden.

“When you guys get your chance and you really dig in, you’ll see that it is leaning that way,” Carroll said. “We’re counting on him coming through and doing the things that he was able to do last year. And if he does that, he’s gonna get rewarded. We know that if he’s able to come back and do that, he’s gonna have a great season and we’re gonna be in great shape and we’re gonna have a real chance to be at our best. So it is heavily structured that way. And I know that he’s gambling a little bit (on himself).”

What does that kind of an incentive-based deal say about Smith?

“He’s clear about it. This was part of it throughout. It’s a really strong part of the contract,” Carroll said. “I think that’s maybe why the ownership is so happy with it, too. If you perform and you get it done, gladly we will reward you. So I think that was a real combination of thinking that worked out for us.”

Listen to the full interview with Carroll at this link or in either the video near the top of the story or audio player below.

More from Seattle Sports on Smith’s new deal

• The Score’s Jordan Schultz: ‘Geno really wanted to stay’ with Seahawks
• Salk: Seahawks betting on Geno Smith, but it leads to a big question
• Video: Wyman & Bob react Geno Smith contract extension with Seahawks

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