Seahawks’ John Schneider details restructuring of Geno Smith’s contract

Feb 22, 2024, 4:58 PM | Updated: 5:39 pm

Seattle Seahawks Geno Smith...

Geno Smith of the Seattle Seahawks walks off the field after a win on Dec. 24, 2023. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

(Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Shortly before Seattle Seahawks general manager John Schneider joined Seattle Sports’ Wyman and Bob for his weekly show, a bit of Hawks news broke.

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As was first reported by Field Yates, the Seahawks restructured the contract of quarterback Geno Smith by converting a $9.6 million roster bonus that was due next month into a signing bonus. That created $4.8 million in 2024 cap space and lessened his cap hit for 2024 while increasing it for 2025, the last year of his deal. You can check out Smith’s contract breakdown right here.

“Yeah it’s a huge negotiation we go through. Just kidding,” Schneider said.

Ultimately that decision was the Seahawks’ to make and not Smith’s, Schneider said.

“It’s actually part of the negotiation when we do these deals and it’s just a trigger that’s in there,” he said.

Smith gets the same amount of money, he just gets more up front and it gives the Seahawks more immediate flexibility while giving Smith’s contract a larger cap hit for 2025.

“It’s a roster bonus that’s converted to a signing bonus. So the roster bonus just for cap purposes, you can take a roster bonus and there’s language in the contract where we can convert it to a signing bonus and then it’s spread out over the duration of the contract. That creates more capital for us,” Schneider said. ” … (Seahawks vice president of football administration) Matt Thomas does a really nice job of working that in as an option for us throughout the process so that at any given time if we feel the need, we can move that into signing bonus and create more capital.”

In Smith’s case, the Seahawks made the move. But with other players and their deals, the two sides have to negotiate to rework a contract.

“Working is different than just deciding, right?” Schneider said.

Schneider, who has been with the Seahawks since 2010, has had to work with players quite a few times to do that, and he noted that it can be a difficult process for both sides.

“There’s a whole bunch of them. It’s never ever, ever easy,” he said. “Everybody’s like, ‘Well, it’s business.’ Yeah, it is business, but the way we treat people here,, it becomes personal and it’s hard to just push through that or brush it off as ‘just business.'”

Schneider noted that there are a lot of things that teams have to plan and budget for throughout the season.

“There’s a lot of things that are in these contracts. There’s escalators, there’s incentives, performance-based incentives, there’s roster bonuses that you have to budget for and you have to account for so we can be compliant (with the cap),” he said. “But they might not hit their incentives, they might not hit all their per-game roster bonuses. There’s just different things throughout the way. There’s budgeted items that people just don’t necessarily see.”

A big one, he said, has to do with practice squad promotions. Teams can add players from the practice squad to a game roster three times per season without adding them to the 53-man roster. In that scenario, those players make more money than their usual practice squad paycheck, and that can impact the team’s salary cap.

“Last year we budgeted for two (promotions) every game because the previous season we used them all every week. We had gone a little bit over that year, so it was like OK, we’ve got to be more up to speed on what we can do for the coaches and giving them the flexibility if they decide to have two practice squad guys up,” Schneider said. “So there’s a lot of stuff that you have to just constantly be providing yourself answers for throughout the season, and those are set up in the offseason when you do the deals.”

Listen to this week’s John Schneider Show at this link or in the player near the top of this story.

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