Breaking down Geno Smith’s new contract with the Seahawks

SEATTLE. If Jeno Smith does a strong enough encore in the Comeback Player of the Year season, the Seattle Seahawks quarterback could earn significantly more than $25 million a year on the base value of his three-year, $75 million contract.

If not, it could end up in a one-year, $27.3 million deal.

Those are the two biggest takeaways now that all the details are out, revealing plenty of real growth opportunities for Smith and just as much flexibility for the Seahawks thanks to his $10.1 million ceiling for 2023 and the lack of fully guaranteed money after the first year. deal with. Indeed, Smith “plays a little…on himself,” as coach Pete Carroll put it last week.

The team-friendly structure of his contract means the Seahawks can still spend an early pick on the quarterback. And while nothing in Smith’s game looked unsustainable during his 2022 Pro Bowl season, Seattle could very well walk away from him next year if he regressed.

The initial bills that Smith signed for $105 million included $30 million in additional money he could earn on top of the $75 million base cost. Smith receives $40 million in general guarantees, of which $27.3 million is fully guaranteed at signing. That’s thanks to a $26.1 million signing bonus and a $1.2 million base salary for 2023, which is immediately guaranteed for skills, injuries, and limitation. A base salary of $12.7 million for 2024, guaranteed against injury at the time of signing, makes up the remainder of $40 million.

While this is in line with the standard guarantee structure for major Seahawks contracts, rising lineup bonuses in Smith’s deal are extremely rare, if not unique.

Smith lineup bonuses are $9.6 million in 2024 and $10 million in 2025. Each must be paid on the fifth day of the relevant league year, which begins with free agency beginning in mid-March, provided Smith is in the Seattle roster on that date. . Each lineup bonus can increase by up to $15 million depending on performance escalators from the previous season, making an additional $30 million available in the deal.

Smith can increase his lineup bonus next year by $2 million in each of these categories in which he matches or exceeds his 2022 record: passing yards (4,282), touchdown passes (30), completion percentage (69.755%), and rating passers (100.874). There’s another $2 million if Seattle makes the playoffs or wins at least 10 regular season games, assuming Smith plays at least 80% of offensive snaps. If Smith hits all five milestones and the Seahawks make it to the Super Bowl, his roster bonus will increase by another $5 million next season.

They’re different from incentive bonuses like the $3.5 million Smith earned last season on his one-year deal. This is a key difference because while Smith was confident that he would receive this money the moment he hit the benchmarks for these incentives, he would have to remain on the Seattle roster beyond the deadline for his bonus in order to cash in on any escalators, on which he came across. 2023 and 24 years.

“I just believe in my ability,” Smith said last week when asked why he feels comfortable betting on himself with this contract structure. “I think with the guys around me, with the coaches that we have… I think the future is very bright for us. So with a contract and incentives, it’s just a way that both sides will obviously make it work. allows the team to do what they want, but it also gives me the opportunity to be one of the top 10 highest paid quarterbacks, which I’m sure of.

“So with all that stuff, I think it worked really great.”

Here is a yearly breakdown of Smith’s deal:


  • Base salary: $1.2 million (fully guaranteed)

  • Bonus Workout: $200,000

  • Hat number: $10.1 million

Smith is ranked 19th among quarterbacks for 2023 according to It consists of a proportionate amount of his $26.1 million signing bonus ($8.7 million over all three seasons), his $1.2 million base salary, and a $200,000 coaching bonus. The Seahawks don’t usually include practice bonuses in their contracts, but they did in this contract.


  • Base salary: $12.7 million (guaranteed against injury at signing)

  • Roster Bonus: $9.6M (could rise to $24.6M)

  • Bonus Workout: $200,000

  • Hat number: $31.2 million

Smith’s base salary will become fully guaranteed (meaning skill and limitation, as well as injury) on the fifth day of the 2024 championship waiver period – six days after the Super Bowl – provided he is still on their roster at that time. . Moving from it to that would net $17.4 million in dead money (which Seattle could spread over two seasons), while saving at least $13.8 million over the 2024 limit. The $31.2 million cap currently only includes the $9.6 million lineup bonus. It will increase based on which performance escalators Smith hits in 2023, assuming he is still in the league’s Day 5 2024 roster.


  • Base salary: $14.8 million

  • Roster Bonus: $10 million (can rise to $25 million)

  • Bonus Workout: $200,000

  • Hat number: $33.7 million

Again, Smith’s cap will increase based on any performance escalators he hits in 2024 if he’s still in the roster by day 5 of the league’s 2025. Had the Seahawks moved away from him between the end of the 2024 season and that date in mid-March, they would have saved at least $25 million in cash and cap space for an $8.7 million loss. the remainder of his signing bonus.


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