It’s 3 years and $105 million. That’s the headline figure. We still don’t know the actual structure of the contract, and I got tired of waiting around for it to land on Twitter. It won’t kill me to write a follow-up post at some point.
News came out today that it’s really a 3-year, $75 million deal, with $30 million in incentives. They’re saying it’s $40 million guaranteed at signing and that he’ll earn $28 million in the first year. I don’t want to get into the weeds here in money speculation, but the consensus seems to believe that this is effectively a 2-year deal, with little-to-no guarantees in that third year.
I’ll be honest, I’m a little disappointed. I’m not surprised though, I was fully expecting this to happen. And, as far as compensation goes, it’s not outrageous. This ensures we have a floor that’s probably around .500 (barring injuries). But, I would argue our ceiling is also pretty damn close to .500, which is what ultimately gets me. It comes down to beliefs; I don’t believe Geno Smith can lead us to a championship while he’s making this kind of money. Others do believe that, and that’s okay. We’re all entitled to our opinions.
I also believe the Seahawks were bidding against themselves in this thing. That’s why all the chatter about putting him on the Franchise Tag was insane; who were we going to get in a bidding war with? We should’ve let him hit free agency and seen what shook out in the wash. There’s been zero rumors about other teams having interest. If there was legitimate chatter behind the scenes, you know Geno’s camp would’ve heard about it. And, if that was the case, you know they would’ve held out for more money! The fact that he had to settle for a deal so incentive-laden only proves the market was soft!
He’s had one good year in the pros! And even then, there were more comparisons to Ryan Tannehill than even Kirk Cousins or Derek Carr. So, why did this have to get done now? It could’ve been done weeks from now. At – I would argue – a lower overall cost.
But, you know, good for Geno. He earned it! He bided his time behind Russell Wilson for years, he bet on himself when this job finally opened up, and he took advantage of Drew Lock getting COVID last pre-season (thereby eliminating him as competition). He also, at times, played very well, and led us to a wild card berth. If you’re into wild card berths, you must be loving this signing! Then again, that’s pretty much all we’ve been getting out of Russell Wilson in the back-half of his career here, so we’re used to this kind of overachieving mediocrity (or underachieving success).
I can also say, “At least we’re not the Giants or the Saints!” Imagine overpaying for Daniel Jones or Derek Carr, for Christ’s sake.
I wish I could get excited for this. It seems like a lot of Seahawks fans are into Geno Smith. I feel like the rest of you are much less tortured as fans. Much more healthy and emotionally mature. All I can see are the very best teams – the Eagles, 49ers, and Cowboys in the NFC; the Chiefs, Bengals, and Bills in the AFC – and how very far away in quality we are from them. We clearly didn’t deserve to be a playoff team last year, but made it thanks to the expansion to a seventh team in each conference. We have SO MANY holes we need to fill, and now we’re devoting a significant portion of money to the quarterback position.
And I don’t know how the salary cap works, but I would assume we will need to keep some money in reserve in case he hits some of these incentives. I don’t think these are necessarily those types of incentives the NFL deems to be “not likely to be reached”. I think if he plays just as well as he did in 2022, he’ll probably earn most of them. So, the $25 million per year figure is only if he truly bottoms out. But, if he maintains this new status quo – again, a status quo that leaves us playing right around .500 ball – it’s likelier to be in that $30-$35 million range we were all anticipating.
That doesn’t leave us with a lot of wiggle room to improve the roster elsewhere. Indeed, we’re stuck needing to be perfect in our draft again, while at the same time hitting on some under-the-radar dumpster dive free agent signings.
It’s the worst possible position to be in. Only we’ve just traded Russell Wilson for Geno Smith. Everything else is mid as fuck.