Kurt Warner details Seahawks’ dilemma with QB Geno Smith

Feb 10, 2024, 11:43 AM | Updated: 1:53 pm

Seattle Seahawks QB Geno Smith...

Seattle Seahawks QB Geno Smith calls a play against Washington on Nov. 12, 2023. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

In less than a week, the Seattle Seahawks need to make a gigantic decision at the quarterback position: keep Geno Smith at $22 million next season, or start preparing for the future at QB.

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The Seahawks have a deadline on Friday, Feb. 16, which is when the 33-year-old Smith’s 2024 salary ($22.5 million in yearly cash, per Spotrac) becomes guaranteed.

There’s a lot to like about Smith, who came out the other side after seven years as a backup to become Seattle’s starter, winning the 2022 NFL Comeback Player of the Year award and making the Pro Bowl roster in each of the past two seasons.

There’s no getting around Smith’s age, however, or the fact that while he’s played well, he isn’t on the same level as the superstar quarterbacks in the NFL. There’s also no telling what direction the Seahawks will go at QB now that new head coach Mike Macdonald will reportedly have former UW Huskies offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb, who notably coached a high-flying offense led by NFL Draft prospect Michael Penix Jr. on Montlake, as his Hawks OC.

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So what should the Hawks do with Smith? Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk asked that Friday morning to one of the great QBs in league history, Super Bowl champion and two-time MVP Kurt Warner, who dove into the dilemma the Seahawks – and a lot of other teams – face at the position.

“I definitely think he’s a $22 million quarterback,” Warner said of Smith. “In this day and age of of quarterbacks that are making $40-50 million dollars, $22 million is a bargain, and it’s a bargain for a starting quarterback. And I definitely believe what Geno’s done the last two years has solidified himself as a starting quarterback in this league.”

Sounds like a ‘but’ is coming, doesn’t it? Yeah, there is.

‘A’ guy vs. ‘that’ guy

“But, you know, these questions just continue to come up with different teams. You’re looking for ‘that’ guy,” Warner continued. “You’re looking for the dude because that’s what puts you over the top. You’ve gotta have either a great team, as we talked about with Russell Wilson, or you’ve got to have that guy, and there’s only so many of those guys. So these teams get caught in these dilemmas of going, OK, we have ‘a’ guy. Is it good enough to have that guy and then we’ll try to build around him and see if we can find our way to a Super Bowl, or do we pass on ‘a’ guy and try to find ‘the’ guy when there’s not very many of them out there? I think this is the dilemma that so many of these teams face because there’s just not many Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allens out there.”

Warner, who is now an NFL Network analyst, mentioned a famous example of this kind of QB dilemma.

“(The Seahawks) are in that pattern. I liken it to the Cincinnati Bengals… They went and got Andy Dalton, and Andy Dalton was great for them. He changed the culture, they became a winning organization, they got to the playoffs every year, but Andy Dalton was limited. Andy Dalton was a starting quarterback, one of the best 32 in the league, no doubt, but he could only get you that far. It was great because at that time, that’s what they needed. They needed to turn the corner. But then at some point, they’re like, OK, he’s ‘a’ guy – we need ‘that’ guy. We’re going to let him go and we’re going to go get Joe Burrow. And so these teams have to start deciding that.”

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The current Dallas Cowboys are another example.

“Dak Prescott, I think he’s kind of at that moment. He’s a really good quarterback in this league but hasn’t shown that he’s got that thing about him that can take them to the next level in the biggest moment. So they’re in the same boat,” Warner said. “What do we do? We’re gonna have to go pay him another $50 million, and he’s a really good quarterback, we’re gonna win a lot of games with him, but can we win a championship with him? Because he hasn’t shown the ability to raise his game in those biggest moments. But then if we don’t have him, we’ve got to go and and try to start over and and find a guy. Is that guy out there?

“So I think Seattle is kind of in that same mode. We got a guy, a guy that we can win with, a guy that you can take us to the playoffs, but is he ‘that’ guy?”

Listen to the full Brock and Salk conversation with NFL Network analyst Kurt Warner in the podcast at this link or in the player near the top of this post.

More on Seattle Seahawks’ QB situation

Rost’s Seahawks Breakdown: Three big roster decisions this offseason
Salk: What are Seattle Seahawks’ options with crucial QB decision looming?
Wyman: How new head coach Macdonald can help Geno Smith
What Macdonald plans to do with Seattle Seahawks’ defense, at QB

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