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Geno Smith’s NFL payday: Seahawks QB headed for more money in 2023 than his first 10 years combined

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) speaks to Seattle Seahawks quarterback Jeno Smith (7) after an NFL football game on Saturday, November 13, 2021 in Munich, Germany.  (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
Jeno Smith, pictured chatting with a well-paid quarterback, should be getting a hefty pay raise after this amazing season with the Seahawks. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

Last week, the NFL general manager, reflecting on free agency and trading in 2022, asked about the league’s most effective moves.

“Which do you think was the best quarterback move in terms of signing or trading?” he asked.

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I thought about it as I swiped my finger through the list of AFC and NFC commands. It didn’t take long for me to realize that the quarterbacks’ offseason has been a lot more desolate than I thought just a few months ago.

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“You’ll know it when you see it,” GM said. — I think it’s pretty clear.

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I started rummaging through the slaughterhouse. Deshawn Watson has yet to play with the Cleveland Browns and already has the most brilliant contract in NFL history. Matt Ryan and Baker Mayfield have been on the bench for the Indianapolis Colts and Carolina Panthers. Mitchell Trubisky made way for Pittsburgh Steelers rookie Kenny Pickett after just four starts. The Washington Commanders have placed Carson Wentz on standby with a finger problem and are now looking less inclined to return him to his starting position. Marcus Mariota was a solid bridge for the Atlanta Falcons, and Russell Wilson, well, we don’t even have to get into this mess.

There was really only one guy left. Geno Smith.

“Yes,” replied the GM. “That’s mine. They re-signed him in the off-season to start, so he counts.”

Jeno Smith’s 2023 Salary Range: $23.8M vs. $38.4M?

Pound for pound, there is a small question. Seattle signed Smith to a one-year contract with a $3.5 million base salary and benefits that could boost his income to $7 million. In turn, the Seahawks got such a great season from the 32-year-old that you’ll have to go back to Rich Gannon, who signed with the Oakland Raiders in 1999, to find the player who so unexpectedly blossomed at a late age. stage in his career.

In 10 games, Smith led the Seahawks to a 6-4 record and first place in the NFC West. And he did it with a remarkable 17-4 touchdown-to-interception ratio and a league-leading 72.8%.

He has also proven to handle low-field passing options on the roster with ease and uses a formation that doesn’t constantly rely on shots and shots that can mislead the stats. Indeed, everything Smith has done up to this point looks like a seasoned veteran quarterback running offense who should be fighting for postseason wins.

With seven games left on the board, he is undoubtedly one of the best stories in the NFL. And soon enough, Smith’s future will be one of the most popular contract negotiations. As Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll told reporters last week:[T]here is the conversation. We understand that.”

At this point, only the explosion could have prevented the Seahawks and Smith from signing a long-term contract. Except for that, Seattle has hard math. See how Smith’s value is calculated on two of the most insightful contract and payroll sites on the internet. and Pay attention to the abyss.

According to a calculation that measures a player’s performance and value compared to his positional peers, OverTheCap estimates that Smith went to the Seahawks’ farewell week, playing at a level commensurate with a 2022 salary of $38.4 million. In fact, he deserves to be the 10th best quarterback in the NFL. Now compare that to Spotrac’s 2023 market value analysis, which uses an algorithm that takes into account mostly three years of operation, not just 2022. Using a three-year weighted window, Spotrac estimates Smith’s next trade average salary to be around $23.8. million

This Spotrac figure is likely to increase when Smith ends 2022 (this is the third year of the analysis). It’s still an astonishing difference, almost $15 million, between its calculated 2022 cost and its weighted cost over a longer period of time. What’s even more interesting is the number that cuts the difference in half: $31.1 million.

This middle ground is notable, as the franchise for the quarterback position in 2023 is expected to be approximately $31.5 million. This is where NFL general managers believe Smith’s contract negotiations will begin next offseason. That’s a staggering amount when you consider that Smith’s total NFL earnings over his first 10 years (depending on what promotions he receives this season) could fall in the $14 million to $17 million range. Basically, if 2022 ends the way it started, Smith’s salary in 2023 will likely be double what he earned in the previous decade… combined.

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Jeno Smith (7) takes on the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of an NFL football game in Glendale, Arizona on Sunday, November 6, 2022.  (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Seattle quarterback Jeno Smith, who fought Arizona earlier this month, leads the NFL in passing accuracy. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Smith seems to be the perfect fit for Seattle, which leaves him with some leverage.

That’s a realistic goal, according to five general managers and three agents who spoke to Sportzshala Sports about how they would approach such negotiations.

“I think 30 dollars [million] up to $35 million a season is right,” said one general manager. “Though it wouldn’t surprise me if they put a franchise label on it just to last another year, to be sure.”

“He plays like a top 10 quarterback,” said another general manager. “Maybe even a little better than that. The risk is that it will happen later in his career and there just isn’t much of a track record. But he was also [in Seattle] for several years, so his skill set is no mystery to anyone out there. And he’s showing them that he can marry them on the pitch, so their comfort level is probably better than anyone else.”

Referring to this, the agent who signed high-level quarterbacks added, “His value in Seattle is the highest. He’s been there and he’s a leader that fits the culture of what they do. To be honest, I don’t know if anyone else is willing to pay him what Seattle will pay. It just costs more in Seattle because there is evidence that it already works there.”

This will ultimately be a problem for Smith. With a deep class of rookie quarterbacks and the recent trend of some veteran quarterbacks being available for trade, not to mention his age, free agency work probably won’t be as bonanza for him as it was for Kirk Cousins ​​in 2018. . was 30, he had a longer track record of success and more than a few desperately desperate teams lined up in free will.

It’s hard to say how much Smith will ultimately be worth in terms of commitment, but it means a lot to Seattle. The question is how long will the Seahawks see this performance peak and how quickly it will bring the franchise back into the Super Bowl window. Not to mention what that would do to the team’s rebuild, adding another important quarterback contract almost as quickly as it lost Russell Wilson last offseason.

But one thing is clear: the Seahawks can do it by any means necessary. Whether it’s a one-year deal with the franchise or a multi-year deal that lands Smith central at the end of the decade, they’ll have over $50 million in their salary cap to make it happen.

Either approach robs them of off-season maneuvering. But given the way Smith played, it’s better than looking at another hole in the quarterback and wondering how long it will take to fix it.


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