Geno Smith was good for the Seahawks last season but wasn’t good enough for a huge deal

A college friend of mine has lived in a house in Venice, California for nearly 20 years and generally has had at least three roommates. But tenant turnover was high, and to maintain his rent he was often tasked with finding new occupants.

One day when I was visiting a potential renter looked at the place and told my friend he was in and would get the check tomorrow.

I said “Okay, this problem is solved”.

My friend replied, “No.” “Until this check is in my hands, none of this means anything.”

People say a lot of different things for different reasons. It’s true of charters, it’s true of real high school athletes who make verbal commitments—and, for the sake of this column, it can be true of NFL coaches, general managers, and quarterbacks.

The talk is that Geno Smith will be the starting signal caller for the Seahawks next year. Ask Coach Pete Carroll, General Manager John Schneider, or the QB himself about it, and the answers point Comeback Player of the Year Will definitely return to Seattle.

Until this contract is signed, I will be skeptical. Although Geno proves to be worth the good money – he doesn’t do enough to earn it amazing money.

The Seahawks were one of the most surprising teams in the league last season in that they greatly exceeded the cellar level expectations generated by the Russell Wilson trade. To go 9-8 and slip into the playoffs with five starters is the epitome of achievement.

A key factor in that unexpected surge was Smith, a seven-year reserve who was pushed into the starting role before leading the NFL in completion percentage (69.8) and finishing fifth in passer rating (100.9).

Phenomenal story…for the first half of the season.

Something happened over the last eight games of the schedule as Seattle went from 6-3 to 9-8. There were losses to the Bucs, Panthers, and Raiders—none of which ended in winning records—that almost cost the Seahawks what once seemed like a guaranteed playoff spot.

Geno was not distasteful on this stretch. He produced passer ratings of at least 103 in four of the last eight games he played. But there were seven interceptions during that span, too—two of which came in the Seahawks’ first offensive game—and a stark lack of the charm that was so familiar in the Wilson era.

It was as if the screenwriters went on strike before they even wrote the third act of his script, leaving the rest of Smith’s story in the hands of the scab. And you have to wonder if Gino’s theatrical grace last season will prove to be a burden moving forward.

If he can be forgotten, the Seahawks’ linebackers are faced with an easy decision: bolster this team through the draft and use the salary cap space to shore up as many weak points as possible. And there are a lot of them. From the pass rusher (or the forward seven in general) to the offensive line to the receiving corps – areas for improvement abound on this team.

If you look at the four teams that are still alive in the postseason, three of them are in rookie deals (49ers, Eagles and Bengals), while the Chiefs have consensus on the best quarterback in the league in Patrick Mahomes. This is usually how you win in the NFL. Build around a young signal caller or sign a top three in football.

Overpaying Smith – (his market value to is $39.3 million a year) would hinder the Seahawks more than it would help.

Smith’s postgame interview after losing the playoffs to the Niners was as real as it was poignant. When asked about his future with the Seahawks, he said, “They embraced me at a time when not many people did. I feel like it means a lot to me. I have a lot of loyalty in me, and I want to reward those guys for doing that.”

Carroll and Schneider spoke with equal desire for Smith’s return. But let’s be real: what else were they supposed to say?

The truth is, 2022 has been the best season he has produced since he was drafted in 2013. That’s not much to go on.

Geno’s return will undoubtedly be warm. But if he is asking for too much – he may be asking for too much.

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