Last year, Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith won the starting job post-Russ and then, just as importantly, Smith held it all year long. He secured a three-year, $105 million contract as his reward for his accomplishments in 2022.
Smith still is taking his career one season at a time.
“It’s still year-by-year,” Smith told reporters on Monday at the first OTA practice of the offseason, via Brady Henderson of ESPN.com. “I’ve got to look at it like that. It’s one year at a time for me. My celebration was I picked up my baby and hugged him up and then I went to the weight room and got back to work. Just got to stay in it. I’m just trying to keep working and focus on ball.”
It’s a smart approach, for multiple reasons. One of which is this: Smith’s contract can be torn up after one year and $28 million.
For Smith, he would exit with $28 million for one year of football. Still, the rest of the $105 million would go unpaid.
And so he truly does need to keep proving himself. That caused him to say his mindset is no different this year.
“If it is different,” Smith said, “I just want to work hard and be better. That’s really it. But in my mind, I keep the same mentality. Drew [Lock] and I and [undrafted free agent Holton Ahlers], we’re competing our butts off and that’s competition every day. We’re trying to see who’s the best quarterback out there on the field every single time.”
Smith faced the very real possibility that the Seahawks would have drafted a quarterback, something the team has rarely done under coach Pete Carroll and G.M. John Schneider — and something they might have done with the fifth overall pick in the 2023 draft if the Colts hadn’t taken Anthony Richardson one spot before the Seahawks were on the clock.
Smith claims he would have been unfazed.
“It’s the NFL, there’s a draft every year,” Smith said. “There’s players out there, guys out there working hard. That’s why I’ve got to work hard. I’ve got to be better than those guys, and I look at everyone as competition. There’s a lot of great rookies that are coming out of the draft and I think they’re all deserving. So if we’d have picked one, I would have given him my all, just as would I do to any teammate. It really didn’t matter to me. I love competition so I’ll compete with everybody.”
That’s the mantra in Seattle. It always has been under Carroll. Although there was a time that it felt as if the starting quarterback was exempt from that, the current starting quarterback is not.
And he has no problem with that.