Does Geno Smith Fit In the Seattle Seahawks Future?

Does Geno Smith Fit In the Seattle Seahawks Future?
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Going into the season, the Seattle Seahawks were a bit of a mystery. They had missed the playoffs the year before, Russell Wilson was traded to Denver, and the quarterbacks were Geno Smith and Drew Lock. However, the Seahawks squeaked out a wild card berth. Geno Smith had a career year, and they made it back to the postseason. However, Smith’s free agency is looming. And the Seahawks have to decide if he is going to be their guy going forward.

The Geno Smith Redemption Arc

When Geno Smith won the starting job, expectations were not high. It was his first starting job since his much-maligned first two years with the New York Jets in 2013-14. And Smith beat out young Denver Broncos cast off Drew Lock for the job.

In turn, Smith had his best season as a pro. He completed a career-high 69.8% of his passes for 30 touchdowns to 11 interceptions with a 100.9 passer rating. His completion percentage ranked as the highest in the NFL, fourth in passing touchdowns, and fifth in both passer rating and QBR. At one point, Smith was considered a potential MVP candidate before a three-game losing streak in December.

With Smith, Seattle finished with the ninth-ranked scoring offense in the league this season. In contrast, the Seahawks ranked 16th in 2021, led by a combination of Russell Wilson and Smith.

Seattle went 9-8 in 2022 and won the final Wild Card berth in Week 18. However, they went on to lose to San Francisco by a 41-23 score.

Due For Regression?

Following their playoff exit, head coach Pete Carroll had mentioned that they view Smith as their future. Carroll had also said that the front office had started preliminary talks with Smith on a contract extension.

 

Where it stands at the moment, Smith has a high likelihood of coming back to the Pacific Northwest. From there, one concern would be the risk of a regression to the mean for Geno Smith. He went from a boom-or-bust prospect in New York to a backup to elite production, almost unprecedented. Skeptics could point to players such as Case Keenum and Nick Foles, quarterbacks who overachieved, got lucrative contracts, and then regressed. However, it is important to note that those are cases where the players left the team. While for Smith, he remains in the same system in Seattle.

The next concern translates to the entire Seahawks roster, and that is can they keep progressing in the NFC West? The Seahawks as a whole overachieved, and part of the reason was the underachieving of their rivals. They struggled mightily with the division-champion 49ers, losing all three of their matchups. The Los Angeles Rams were battered with injuries much of the season, contributing to their 5-12 record. And Arizona, a wild card team last season, dropped down to 4-13. The Rams will be getting their quarterback, number one target, and Sean McVay has opted to stay with the Rams in 2023. The Cardinals are trying to fill their head coaching vacancy and restart from the Kliff Kingsbury-Steve Keim era.

The Seahawks are the second-youngest team in the NFC West at 26.7, only behind the Rams. Meanwhile, Geno Smith will be 33 in October. The Seahawks will have to decide if this is a team that can maintain competing in the NFC with Smith being over 30 years old.

Should the Seahawks Keep or Leave Him?

The Seattle Seahawks have a problem to handle, but a good problem. Geno Smith had the best year of his career, the team was a playoff team, and they have a young supporting cast on offense. They also have the Denver Broncos’ first-round pick in 2023 from the Russell Wilson trade.

The Seahawks can keep Smith while developing a young quarterback behind him. The Seahawks have the fifth pick in the draft. With the Seahawks’ reputation of going against conventional wisdom in drafting, they may look at quarterbacks.

But right now, there is mutual interest between Pete Carroll and Geno Smith to keep him in Seattle, and it is for the best of both worlds.

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