I blathered on and on about the rest of the Seahawks free agents yesterday (just prior to one of them re-signing for a big-money payday), now it’s time to talk about the most important position (of which we currently have zero on the 2023 roster), and the two guys who are set to be unrestricted free agents this year: Geno Smith and Drew Lock.
I think it’s fair to say 2022 didn’t go how I expected AT ALL. I was under the impression that this team was bound and determined to hand the starting job to Drew Lock in the pre-season. We’ll never know if that was accurate or not, since he got COVID right before the game he would’ve started. Nevertheless, just watching the games, it was clear who the better man was: Geno Smith, hands down.
That isn’t saying much, because the Seahawks’ offense in the pre-season was the worst I’d seen in ages. They couldn’t move the ball for shit! It was fucking embarrassing. Which led to my extremely dour prognosis heading into the regular season, that the Seahawks wouldn’t win more than 3-4 games. They more than doubled that.
So, yeah, I’m bad at my job is what I’m getting at. I mean, the job of Fan/Blogger doesn’t pay anything, so you get what you pay for, but still.
I feel like – if I had to rank all expectations around this team – the least likely would’ve been the possibility that either of these guys would be back in 2023. Yet, here we are, with the very real possibility that BOTH might return.
Obviously, there’s chatter around Geno Smith coming back on a big money deal. That’s what happens when you have statistically one of the best (if not THE best) seasons in franchise history. There’s lots of speculation of anywhere from 2-4 years, and anywhere from $70 million to $150 million. So, this is a serious thing we’re about to walk into.
I’m firmly entrenched in the camp that has reservations about this move. I don’t fully trust Geno Smith in the big games. I don’t like the thought of tying up so much of our cap to him, especially when we have so many other holes we need to fill. It forces us to really nail the draft in ways we’ve only done once or twice since the heyday of 2010-2012.
Brock & Salk had an interesting thought exercise this week: would you rather have Geno Smith at whatever it’s going to cost to keep him (over $30 million per year), or Drew Lock and a $20 million defensive lineman (meaning, one of the very best D-linemen in the league). I don’t really know how to answer that.
They keep saying things about how the Seahawks coaches like what they’ve seen out of Drew Lock, putting it out there that he’s been doing well in practice and could conceivably be a viable option to take over as starter in this offense. I don’t know what to say to that either. I can take their word for it, I guess, but every time I’ve seen Drew Lock on the field, he’s been a nightmare. Also, how good could he possibly look in regular season practices when Geno is the starter and ostensibly getting the bulk of the reps? It all sounds fishy, like the team is leaking rumors of Lock’s competence in hopes Geno’s price will somehow be driven down. The logic isn’t totally there, but I still don’t believe Lock is worth a damn.
What is Drew Lock supposed to command on the open market? He’s a failed high-round draft pick, a failed starter in this league, and he failed to beat out Geno Smith when his value was remarkably low. You’re telling me there’s an organization out there who believes in Drew Lock, and is going to offer him on the high-end of a backup quarterback contract? As if he’s Gardner Minshew or Cooper Rush or Jameis Winston?
He should get the fucking minimum and like it! And be grateful he’s not reduced to the scrap heap of the XFL or USFL.
But, if what they’re saying is true, and Lock has looked good in practice, then why wouldn’t you pay him a low-dollar amount to be the starter (with incentives, of course) and then go out and trade for a top-of-the-line defensive pass rusher? Pair that guy with whoever you get with the 5th pick, then go after a lower first/high second round quarterback prospect.
Honestly, I’d love for the Seahawks to take that risk. Let Geno walk. See what he commands on the open market, and more importantly, see what he looks like in a different offensive scheme, behind a possibly-worse offensive line. I bet he reverts to the Geno Of Old real damn quick.
Go balls to the wall and believe in the Shane Waldron/Sean McVay system! Put anyone back there and see how they do! Cheap out on a veteran and go after draft picks to see if we hit on someone special!
Here’s my outlook on things; you may not agree with me and that’s fine. But, I feel like we’ve hit pretty close to the ceiling of what Geno Smith has to offer. I think he’s good enough to keep us middle-of-the-pack. He can get us into the playoffs, but he can’t lead us on a deep playoff run. If we had an elite team around him – like the 49ers – then it might be doable.
I’d rather risk it with a veteran making the minimum and spend our free agent dollars on superstars at other positions of need. I’d rather go to the quarterback well in the draft year after year until we hit on a stud. Then, ride that stud on his rookie deal as far as he’ll take us. If we fail, then fine, we draft higher and get more quality bites at the apple. If the cheap player(s) succeed, then great, we know the offensive scheme is great and can continue to reload at the QB spot with reduced capital, to continue bolstering our roster elsewhere.
I’m not gonna lie to you, I haven’t been this enamored with a team since the Seahawks of the L.O.B. days, but I really am fascinated with what the 49ers are doing this year. If I didn’t hate their fans and their organization so much, I’d be actively rooting for them the rest of this year’s playoffs! What they’re doing with a third string, seventh round quarterback, is truly amazing, and it’s everything I’ve ever wanted out of my own football team. I want what they have! I want the Seahawks to scheme their way to offensive success, and just overpower their opponents on defense. It’s fucking awesome!
Bottom line: I don’t believe in Drew Lock, but I don’t believe in Geno Smith either. So, let Geno Smith walk, use the #5 draft pick on a stud defensive lineman, use one of our other first/second round picks on a quarterback we believe can develop in this system relatively quickly, and use the cost savings to really go hard in free agency and in trades for elite players. It’s not conventional, but what has convention gotten us?
The Seahawks have been conventional since 2015, and it’s resulted in an endless run of disappointing finishes. We haven’t even been good enough to get back to the conference title game, let alone the Super Bowl. Maybe it’s time to be unconventional again. Zag where the rest of the NFL zigs, like we were doing when Pete Carroll and John Schneider first got here.