Geno Smith’s base deal is three years, $75 million

NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Seattle Seahawks v San Francisco 49ers
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There’s a very common dynamic when it comes to the publication of contract numbers. The agent leaks a misleading (usually) or false (sometimes) description of the deal to multiple insiders, who then rush to Twitter with the information. Accuracy takes a back seat to being the one who win the thumb race, even though multiple people got the same information at the same time.

It became relevant on Monday, when multiple reporters said Derek Carr has a four-year, $150 million deal with the Saints. It’s really three years, $100 million.

Then came the Geno Smith deal. Three years, $105 million! As Mike Garafolo of NFL Media has reported, and as PFT has confirmed, it’s three years, $75 million, with a whopping $30 million in incentives.

The triggers aren’t yet known. They’ll say plenty about how much of the extra money he’s likely to actually earn.

The deal also has $27.3 million fully guaranteed at signing, with base cash flow of $28 million in 2023, $22 million in 2024, and $25 million in 2025. Another $12.7 million becomes fully guaranteed in February 2024.

We’re waiting for the full and complete details. The basic information suggests that the guarantee applies to all of 2023, with another $12 million guaranteed in 2024.

That makes it a two-year, $50 million deal (plus incentives). It also means the Seahawks could potentially move on after one season. They’d owe $12 million for 2024; possibly, he’d get that much (or close to it) on the open market, offsetting Seattle’s obligation.

The total breakdown will shed more light on the deal. For now, it’s not crazy to think that the contract makes it easy for the Seahawks to indeed use the fifth overall pick on a quarterback, who would sit for a year or two behind Smith — just as Smith did behind Russell Wilson.

So why do agents put out exaggerated or downright false information to reporters who know or should know the information is exaggerated or downright false? The agents use the headlines generated by the false information to recruit more clients. And the headlines with the correct information never get mentioned.

And the reporters preserve the pipeline of future information, even if it’s exaggerated or downright false.

As Chris Simms pointed out on PFT Live, it doesn’t help the player. Beyond the fact that people who may want some of his money will think he has more money than he does, it increases the pressure on the player. If he struggles, the investment looks worse if the investment has been overstated.

36 responses to “Geno Smith’s base deal is three years, $75 million

  1. Giants fan here trying to somehow figure out why Daniel Jones should get paid more than either Geno or Derek Carr…

  2. Duh, they want to be able to say, “Look how much money I got for my client!”

  3. I guess 3/$75M on a previous post and it looked like I was so wrong. Guess I pretty close as I had the guarenteed money at $50M.

  4. That’s still a far cry from where he was a year ago… barely on anyone’s roster! It’s a great deal, well-earned for him! He’s not Joe Burrow or Patrick Mahommes, and isn’t going to get that kind of money. Incentives makes sense for him and the club. We don’t have to turn our nose up at every deal or want someone to be on the losing side. It’s a win/win for him and the club.

  5. A smarter deal for the Seahawks and still a good deal for Geno as well. Still money to go around for other players as the Hawks look to have balanced team.
    Are paying attention Daniel Jones?

  6. Geno Smith will NEVER win a superbowl. 75 Million and no chance what so ever, great job Hawks.

  7. Given where he was at the start of the 2022 season I think Geno did very well for himself.

  8. Nothin’ to sneeze at. Is an extra $10M per annum going to make a difference in this guy’s life? Congrats Geno!

  9. Either way you cut it’s a lot of money for player who at one time probably thought his NFL career was over with. I am happy for him.

  10. That’s a win/win for both parties but I’d rule it a win for the Hawks cap and ability to move on after grabbing a QB at pick #5 and grooming him for a season.

    If Anthony Richardson is available at #5, he’d be a nice addition. Will Levis, maybe. Will has upside and had Will played on a stacked Alabama or Georgia team, he’d likely be getting even more love. Playing behind a UK OL, limited offensive weapons and in a dangerous SEC, he couldn’t show all that he’s capable of.

    The Hawks are building an OL, have a RB and some offensive weapons that could showcase either Richardson or Levis.

    Congrats, Geno and to the Hawks for not breaking the bank. Well deserved!

  11. Brilliant work by Schneider’s team! Perfectly constructed contract for a guy with 1 amazing season out of 10. Get a QB in one of the next 2 drafts and the bridge is already in place.

  12. Good for him for turning a fluke year into generational wealth.

    Great for the NFCW, as he’s most likely to regress toward his mean.

  13. I’m surprised there aren’t more incentives in all contracts, and there should be more going forward. Pro athletes aren’t paid to keep a seat warm, they’re paid to achieve and win.

    Players frequently cite their past personal metrics as reasons to get big new contracts, so why shouldn’t that future pay be tied to a threshold of performance and/or playing time?

    Especially as the demand for guaranteed money increases, it seems fair for teams to build in a lot more incentives. Sign a guy to a huge, fully-guaranteed contract, and what’s their incentive to excel? Expect a lot of “business decisions” being made by guys whose money is fully guaranteed.

    Instead, split the contract into a modest guaranteed amount and a big set of incentives that provide a lot of carrots to maximize their money. Players checking out to protect their self-interest is bad for the product. Guys fighting to make incentives would be better for the product.

  14. Gold Blooded says:
    March 7, 2023 at 11:40 am

    Good for him for turning a fluke year into generational wealth.

    Great for the NFCW, as he’s most likely to regress toward his mean.


    I don’t know about that. His play this year didn’t seem fluky or lucky – it was steady and accurate and reliable. That seems a lot more likely to repeat than, say, a team winning all of its single-score-margin games or having a crazy turnover differential.

  15. Way to much money for a consistently inconsistent player. He shows up when he wants to and disappears just as easily.

  16. I’m happy for Geno. The guy worked hard, never gave up. Smart to resign with Seattle with a fair contract that makes sense for both sides. Geno showed loyalty, hopefully Pete can continue to rebuild that team. Hope Geno has a great career from this point forward.

  17. While I get some having limited faith in Geno, I can’t help but think that with a year of full time experience under his belt, that he could have a more consistent year. Lucas and Cross have a year’s experience in the guard spots as well.
    I expect the Hawks to be very competitive next year. If they can upgrade their pass rush, they could be outright dangerous.

  18. Wow one good season, that is a nice pay day for him. The Carr deal is great when you look at that one. Carr started a long time and has no injury history missed a total of three games in 9 years.

    Smith made it thru two seasons without having the ball taken from him.

  19. This article epitomizes why I read Florio. Breaking it down. I still remember how my Government teachercin high school defined politics: who gets what and why. Football politics.

  20. First sensible deal I’ve seen for a QB.
    They should all be incentive based!
    Even if Geno does nothing he will be a very rich young man, who will never have to work again!

  21. Take a look at the last quarter of the season and playoffs and tell me he had a “steady” season. You have no chance at winning anything with this guy as your QB.

  22. Seahawks got a great deal. Take Richardson at 5 and let him sit behind Geno for 2 years.

  23. Thanks Mike Florio for the sleuthing. Occasional misgivings notwithstanding, this is the main reason I hang out on this website. Sorry, other PFT staff. Mike is unique.

  24. Good for him…… He’s got a good story and is someone you can actually root for….

  25. $25M/yr base is literally the perfect amount for Geno. Geno is a good, but not great or elite QB. You need to be able to afford to build a much better team around him than you would need for say Mahomes, Burroughs, Allen. Therefore Geno can only take up so much cap space, nowhere near the ~23% that Mahomes, Allen, Burroughs will consume. A QB of Geno’s caliber needs to be in the ~12.5% range which is exactly what this deal is. Geno is of similar caliber to Prescott and Cousins but their respective teams paid them too much, it’s why the Cowboys and Vikings have fatal flaws and will never win (take the Cowboys, an excellent roster, but Dak is not good enough with the roster as is to bring Dallas a title, now bring his cap hit to ~$25M, giving the Cowboys ~$20M to upgrade their roster as they choose, they would be a legit SB contender, if…). It’s not about Prescott or Cousins, it’s about what they’re getting paid, it’s about the lost opportunity cost because of what they’re paying them in a hard cap league. The Seahawks nailed it and a guy who kept his mouth shut, worked hard, has been very well rewarded. Congrats to both Geno and the Hawks. Well done.

  26. People are missing the fact that this contract is so team friendly that the Seahawks should be able to build the team to win over the next two years. Unlike the Wilson years where they had to scratch the bottom of the FA barrel.

  27. after reading this article, I heard Boomer say that Gino’s contract is worth over $100 million . And that he’s happy for him. i’m happy for you buddy. But I’m gonna spread misinformation that’s helpful to agents and the media. Boomer not keeping it real.

  28. Wonder what it must be like to “gamble” on yourself, knowing you already have $40 million in your pocket…#firstworldproblems

  29. $40 million fully guaranteed at signing is still alot more than he has made in his whole carerr.

  30. Geno Smith will NEVER win a superbowl. 75 Million and no chance what so ever, great job Hawks.


    Says Trent Dilfer.

  31. Given how Geno played with every other team in his career, his QB coach at Seattle should be the hottest commodity in the NFL. If someone back then had hold me Smith signed for 2 yrs at 50 million I would have laughed out loud. Now he’s laughing. Props.

  32. Agree with a comment made earlier. $25m/yr is literally the perfect amount. Having said that I give props to Smith and his agent. I’m sure they could have held up some team for more but they understood that a cap strapped Seattle won’t have as much success (and therefore he won’t have as much success) as a more fluid Seattle.

    I wish more players who claim all they want to do is win would look at the big picture. Especially since $40M guaranteed is still generational wealth.


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