The NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year is coming back to Seattle.
The Seahawks and Pro Bowl quarterback Geno Smith reached agreement on a contract Monday, the team announced. Sources confirmed to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler and Adam Schefter that the deal is for three years and $105 million, and includes $52 million in the first year.
Both sides had expressed optimism that a deal would get done. By reaching an agreement on Monday, they beat the Tuesday deadline for teams to apply the franchise tag, which would have carried a $32.416 million price tag for quarterbacks in 2023.
Smith, 32, was one of the biggest surprises of the 2022 NFL season, earning a Pro Bowl nod and the league’s Comeback Player of the Year award after spending most of the past seven seasons as a backup.
He won the Seahawks’ starting job following Russell Wilson’s trade to the Denver Broncos — beating out the widely presumed favorite, Drew Lock — and delivered one of the most prolific seasons in franchise history. Playing on a one-year, $3.5 million deal, Smith led the league in completion percentage (69.8%), finished sixth in Total QBR (60.8) and finished fourth in touchdown passes (30) to lead the Seahawks to an unexpected playoff berth as the NFC’s seventh seed.
That’s a big jump from the 58.8% completion rate and 43.6 QBR he posted over 46 games prior to this past season.
Smith started all 17 regular-season games as well as Seattle’s loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the wild-card round, didn’t miss a single snap and set the Seahawks’ single-season records for completion rate, completions (399) and passing yards (4,282), breaking marks that Wilson set in 16-game seasons.
Turnovers became an issue for Smith down the stretch. He threw seven of his 11 interceptions over the final seven regular-season games, at one point admitting that he was trying to do too much.
After the playoff loss, an emotional Smith said he wanted to finish his career in Seattle, adding that he wanted to “repay” the organization for embracing him at a time when he “probably could have been out of the league.”
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider indicated at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis last week that re-signing Smith wouldn’t necessarily preclude Seattle from taking a quarterback early in next month’s draft. The Seahawks have the fifth and 20th overall picks, as well as two second-rounders.
But for now, Smith will become the only quarterback the Seahawks have under contract for 2023. They want to re-sign Lock — who’s also scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent — to remain his backup.
Smith earned an additional $3.5 million in incentives last season, bringing his 2022 compensation to $7 million. He has made roughly $17.5 million over 10 NFL seasons.
Before 2022, Smith had spent the previous three seasons as Wilson’s backup in Seattle. The Seahawks re-signed Smith in April, three months after he was arrested on suspicion of DUI. Smith has yet to be charged in that case as prosecutors await blood-test results.
A second-round draft pick by the New York Jets out of West Virginia in 2013, Smith struggled with turnovers during his first two seasons, then lost his starting job in the summer of 2015 after he was punched by a teammate in an infamous locker room altercation, landing on injured reserve with a broken jaw. He spent the 2017 season with the New York Giants after his rookie contract expired, then spent the 2018 season with the Chargers before signing with Seattle in 2019.
When Smith tossed two touchdown passes to beat Wilson and the Broncos in Week 1, it marked the NFL’s longest gap between opening-day starts since 1971. He became the first quarterback since Rich Gannon in 1999 to be selected to his first Pro Bowl in Year 10 or later of his career.
Smith has thrown for 11,199 yards and 64 touchdowns with 48 interceptions in his career.