BROCK AND SALK

Brock: The area where Seahawks’ Geno Smith is a top-five QB

Jun 24, 2024, 8:07 AM | Updated: 8:28 am

Seattle Seahawks Geno Smith Commanders 2023...

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith faces the Washington Commanders in 2023. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith is heading into the second season of a three-year, $75 million deal.

It might not seem like it, but given his level of production the past two seasons, that’s a bargain.

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During his breakout 2022 campaign, Smith led the NFL in completion percentage and finished seventh in ESPN’s QBR metric. His production declined a bit last year, but he still finished 14th in QBR, even while playing behind an offensive line that was decimated by injuries.

Meanwhile, Smith’s $25 million per-year average salary currently ranks 18th among NFL quarterbacks, according to Over the Cap. And there’s a significant gap in pay between Smith and those 17 QBs ahead of him, as they each make an average of at least $33.3 million per year.

Furthermore, consider some of the per-year average salaries of several quarterbacks who finished behind Smith in QBR last year: New Orleans’ Derek Carr (No. 16 in QBR, $37.5 million), Jacksonville’s Trevor Lawrence (No. 17 in QBR, $55 million), Tampa Bay’s Baker Mayfield (No. 18 in QBR, $33.3 million) and Arizona’s Kyler Murray (No. 22 in QBR, $46.1 million). New York Giants QB Daniel Jones ($40 million) also was well on his way to finishing behind Smith in QBR before suffering a season-ending ACL tear.

As former NFL quarterback Brock Huard put it, Smith is an excellent return on investment for the Seahawks.

“When you stack that (salary) up to his peers with his productivity, with his late-game touchdowns, with his QB rating, with his efficiency, with his completion percentage – just his raw productivity, it is far better than Trevor Lawrence, far better than Daniel Jones, far better than a lot of these guys who are making 40 to 50 million dollars a year,” Huard said last Friday during the Blue 88 segment on Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk. “That return on investment is where Geno truly is a top-five QB in this league.”

Having a quarterback who provides strong production relative to his contract is one of the biggest advantages in the NFL, as it gives teams ample salary-cap space to load up on talent elsewhere on their roster.

Huard believes the best quarterback value in the league is San Francisco’s Brock Purdy, who finished No. 1 in QBR last season while on a rookie contract that’s averages just over $3.7 million per year. Some other great values are Green Bay’s Jordan Love (No. 9 in QBR, $13.5 million per year), Miami’s Tua Tagovailoa (No. 10 in QBR, $7.6 million per year), Houston’s C.J. Stroud (No. 15 in QBR, $9.1 million per year) and Pittsburgh’s Russell Wilson (No. 21 in QBR, $1.2 million per year).

“Number one in the league is Brock Purdy, there’s no question about it,” Huard said. “… Jordan Love is up there. Tua before he gets paid. Heck, Russell Wilson next year at $1.2 million for the Steelers is probably No. 2 on that list. But right there is Geno.”

Listen to the full Blue 88 segment on Brock and Salk at this link or in the audio player near the middle of this story. Tune in to Brock and Salk weekdays from 6 to 10 a.m. or find the podcast on the Seattle Sports app.

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