Seahawks can escape Geno Smith contract after one year, $28 million

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It was broadcast to the world as a three-year, $105 million contract. In reality, it can be as short as one year and $28 million.

In a structure similar to the contract the Raiders gave to Derek Carr a year ago — a contract the Raiders tore up after one season and $25 million — the Seahawks can move on from quarterback Geno Smith after one year and $28 million.

Although the initial indications were that the contract fully guaranteed $40 million at signing, the truth is (per a source with knowledge of the deal) that the number is only $27.3 million. The remaining $12.7 million becomes fully guaranteed in February 2024. And the Seahawks can cut him before then.

If they keep Smith beyond 2023, he gets another $22 million for 2024 and $25 million for 2025. As noted by Mike Garafolo of NFL Media, the incentive package comes in the form of escalators based on his performance in 2023 and 2024 — and the triggers are tied to his 2022 performance.

For each of five categories that he beats (yards, touchdowns, completion percentage, passer rating, and wins), Smith gets $2 million. If he exceeds his 2022 performance as to all five, he gets another $5 million.

So he can bump his 2024 salary by up to $15 million based on what he does in 2023, and he can increase his 2025 salary by up to $15 million based on what he does in 2024.

He had a strong 2022, making it harder to improve. He threw for 4,282 yards, 30 touchdown passes, completed 69.8 percent of his throws, generated a passer rating of 100.9, and won nine games.

Also, because the payments are escalators and not incentives, he only gets the money if the team actually keeps him. If, for example, he barely beats his 2022 performance in 2024 in all five categories and in turn bumps his salary to a non-guaranteed $42 million in 2025, that could actually work against him when the team decides whether to bring him back.

The contract also keeps the Seahawks firmly in play for drafting a rookie quarterback, whether with the fifth overall pick or a later selection. If they get someone they love in the draft, Geno’s stint as the Seattle starter could end at two seasons.

21 responses to “Seahawks can escape Geno Smith contract after one year, $28 million

  1. The game would be better with more performance-based pay. The current situation of carrying a huge dead cap & paying past-their-prime players because they “deserve it” leads to a worse product.

  2. If they like him and want to keep him around, they’ll be asking him to renegotiate long before any of that other money kicks in.
    They’re hoping to find their future QB in this draft.

  3. I think Seattle is smart, and I also think Geno Smith is the real deal. This works for both of them — nothing wrong about applying pressure, drafting QB competition for a franchise. I bet Seattle takes Anthony Richardson, makes sense.

  4. Still, 25 million is more, much more than everything he had earned in his career up to this year, and more than everything he would have thought to earn before forced retirement. he must feel blessed Since even Seattle cut him off after 1 year he’ll get good backup money elsewhere.

  5. Maybe it’s just me but it sure seems like this is a very team friendly deal. The kind that allows an organization to build around their QB and produce a solid SB contender. And Geno is a smart man betting on himself.

  6. Certainly sounds like the Seahawks were prepared to say see ya if he turned down their offer, and to think he actually had an agent…Hello Lamar?

  7. 28M is 27.95M more than he would be making if he was benched. I’m assuming he could get pulled off the couch for a 50K, one week emergency from 1 of 32.
    PS: Seems like Seattle was competing with themselves and they knew it.

  8. What a team friendly deal!
    With all the draft picks for Wilson leaving and then Geno playing well, the Seahawks are set up nicely. They should also draft a young QB to sit for a year.
    I see the division contested between the niners and the Seahawks for the next few years…

  9. Richardson at #5 makes all the sense in the world. He can sit and learn for a year, or two, if Geno balls out. Still have #20 and two second round picks.

  10. Bad job by his agent. He definitely could have done better on the open market.

    Also, tired of these reporters holding these agent’s jock straps every time a deal is announced. Like we are all just idiots.

  11. Analysis from the worst case scenario viewpoint is important. I get that. However, I really believe he will continue to do well in the Seahawk’s system & will be starting for the next three to four years. Fingers crossed 🤞.

  12. Agents will point to this contract when he inevitably regresses back to the Geno we all know. You strike when the iron is hot, and not agree to a 1 year deal with fluff attached on the back end after having an outlier year.

  13. isheimfromcolfax says:
    March 9, 2023 at 8:58 pm
    And they will because he stinks.


    And I guess you are extremely successful.

  14. Geno bets on himself, signs a team friendly deal, says all the right things.

    Some PFT Commenters: What a loser. The Seahawks are fools. They shoulda traded for (or signed) Gardner Minshew or Sam Darnold or Carson Wentz or Andy Dalton or Taylor Heinecke or Jarret Stidham or Cooper Rush.

  15. Smart of Seattle brass to have an exit strategy because Cinderfella will likely soon lose his glass slippers in the upcoming season and go back to playing like his step sisters.

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