What we got right (and what we got wrong) about the Geno contract terms: Seaside Joe 1464
This is what I thought of when I saw the contract. The calendar year seems to be the tip-off, although we can't be sure yet. Joe, you were right mostly. I appreciate your honesty.
Now, can we sign and draft a defense that allows Geno to have a second year like Russell. A good defense will give the Seahawks the ball 3 times a game more than last year, at minimum.
I admittedly get caught up in "grades" too much. However, it's so annoying that ESPN gave the signing a B-, specifically based on the originally reported 3 years/$105M. On top of that, they state "the franchise tag was the slightly more preferable play here," regardless of how implausible that was. Will they ever "regrade" based on actual contract terms. Nah... Thankfully, we have Seaside Joe to help provide accurate analysis!
Good Stuff! Thanks Kenneth
So, I am "good at math". I'm also somewhat good at interpreting what's written in front of me, and as a lifelong curious person, I learned a couple of things on the salary cap. With all of these together, here's my best bet of what the Seahawks and Geno Smith really signed, my reasoning comes below:
1. $24M signing bonus
2. $14M 2024 roster bonus guaranteed
3. Base salary of $2M year 1 (guaranteed), $5M year 2, and $20M year 3
4. Per game roster bonus of $2M year 1, $3M year 2, and $5M year 3
5. Incentives spread evenly $10M per year, being $4M LTBE and $6M NLTBE for year 1.
This brings the following cap hits and dead money (assuming he hit half the incentives):
2023: $19.5M / $43.5M (includes $3.5M from 2022 NLTBE incentives)
2024: $36M / $31M ($16M remaining bonus + $1M NLTBE incentive carry-over + $14M roster bonus)
2025: $38M / $8M (remaining bonus is the only dead cap)
Not so easy to get out in 1 year ($3M more expensive than actually rostering Geno), but really easy out after 2 years.
HOW DID I GET TO THIS:
That ticks all the boxes: he can earn $52M by getting his guaranteed $40M -- bonus ($24M), salary ($2M), plus the $14M he'll earn at the start of the league-year 2024 -- playing all games in 2023 ($2M) and hitting all incentives ($10M) = $52M. That also matches the cash flow numbers.
What we know for sure
$75M base value, $30M incentives, 3 years ($105M total value), up to $52M first "calendar year", cash flows to Geno of $28M, $22M, and $25M, $40M fully guaranteed.
From the cash flow numbers, we know that the signing bonus (that's already being wired to Geno's Cayman Island bank account) is at most a tad under $27M. Because he needs to be paid at least veteran minimum ($1.125M).
To get from $28M to $52M, we have $24M tied to a 2024 roster bonus or guaranteed salary and incentives. Since we know that cash flows to Geno are $22M in year 2, we know that at least $2M is in incentives for year 1, because his 2024 salary + roster bonus cannot be over $22M.
To get to $40M guarantees, we need to find some $15M+ on top of the signing bonus that's guaranteed. Assuming a $24M bonus, that looks like a $14M roster bonus for 2024, and guaranteed 2023 salary of $2M.
Seeing an outline of the contract terms, I feel a lot better. The fact that Seattle can move on after one year is what leaves me feeling better. Or they can stick with Geno beyond.
Now I wonder if Lock will re-sign or choose to move to a team where there's more potential to start. I hope he decides it's best to stick around. He'd be one play from being the starter regardless of who we draft since we're not getting Young.
There are too many holes in this team to use the #5 pick on a guy who is going to sit for 2 years before getting a chance. #20 or #38 or #53 maybe, but it looks like Levis and Richardson will be long gone by then (unless the media is fooling us again, which is very likely). Take the best available player or trade down for more draft capital.
Lucid analysis is hard to come by in the social media era, especially alongside the tragedy that is modern hot-take "journalism". Kudos once again Ken, for remaining among the (very) small cadre of trustworthy voices in the football space who hasn't succumbed to the undertow.
As with the Metcalf contract scenario last year, what's *truly* hilarious is how the media echo chamber "forgets" the way things are accomplished at VMAC, literally each and every time the team behaves in a respectful manner that in no way resembles their pre-formed (and often cynical) expectations.
For example, the entire process with Geno last pre-season, how everything was handled and how honest and transparent Carroll actually was during Geno's journey from start to finish in hindsight. We do this dance every year, the media launching narrative balloons with little regard for reality.
Today, we see it was only the first chapter. The 'Hawks offered Eugene an open door and he not only stepped through, he rolled up his sleeves and helped redecorate. Not bad for the real "prove it" year. The new "can you do it again" contract is no more than a natural extension of the process started last year, with both parties apparently operating from a position of good faith and mutual benefit.
Carroll's cheerfully direct words to the media last season about where the actual football wisdom resides apparently didn't sink in very deep. Strange, how the media heads miraculously "unlearn" so many simple lessons as the mighty Wurlitzer wheezes over into the next cycle. The same set of fools selling the same magical memory-erasing beans year after year. Fool me once.
My take on last year's theater of the absurd (narratives) is buried deep in the comments here, and hasn't changed a note. Why wasn't the *pre-season* narrative around Pete & Geno one of redemption and second chances in the post-Russ era instead of the steady stream of snark and condescending commentary about Coach being "over the hill" that we witnessed...?
Today, the usual suspects continue to sell a yellow river of "rumors" with a vague air of certainty and expertise, of franchise tags and trades galore. Ever wonder why they don't keep competitive "batting averages" for pundits and their predictions...?
Once again, the team remains good to its word. Geno earned the opportunity to keep it rolling with what should be a refined version of last year's highlights sporting a few fresh wrinkles -- and improved pass blocking. At fair market rates. No tag required. In a "Brady-esque" cap-friendly manner, I'll wager.
Based on Geno's media takes about his personal & professional life over the last year or so, one quickly gains the impression he is realistically attuned to his situation. I will also wager he knows better than anyone here that the team (he captains) needs working cap space to keep building around him.
What this Patera-era child of Cascadia really wants to know is, can Geno hang FORTY on the league in year two working with Waldron and this year's version of the offense...?
Looking forward to your thoughts if/when they run it back in free agency with Bobby (and now Frank?) at "team rates" and the defense suddenly starts lookin' scary again. Especially with what they're likely to bring home from KC to complement last year's excellent draft class.
Based on last season, and the clarity of direction they're verbally and organizationally demonstrating in the post-RW3 age, it's gonna be loud, fast -- and fun as hell to watch.
Really impressed with your 'in depth' analysis and coverage of this contract negotiation from start to finish. No one else in the country offered the same level of accuracy and insight you did. TBH, I even enjoyed the excitement and surprise of totally thinking it wouldn't get done, then being pleasantly surprised yesterday, lol. Thanks for that I guess. ;) Keep up the GREAT WORK Kenneth!
There is a lot to be said for continuity and practice. Most of us weren’t very good when we first tried whatever became our careers. I think Geno realized this was the place that gave him the best chance for success, while also setting himself up, financially, for the rest of his life.
Good work by the front office, Geno and his agent to come up with a mutually beneficial contract. It seems that Geno really wants to win and realizes that crippling the team with a monster contract isn’t the best way to do that. His time on the bench seems to have been a learning time not just about Xs and Os, but gaining maturity and setting goals and creating a path to reach them.
I definitely thought the floor of a contract was going to be the franchise tag as you mentioned in your article, and I was certain that teams would get desperate for a QB and someone would pay Geno a massive deal. It looks like with the surplus of QBs in the draft, and the general Cap situation made this all possible. I'm thankful this didn't drag on and now we can continue to build our team!
Thanks Kenneth! This information makes me feel a lot better about the Seahawks future, immediate and long term. PC/JS will probably treat free agency as they have in the past with no splash signings. However, they still have all that draft capital and are now free to let the draft come to them. With a draft class similar to 2022, the Seahawks can be real contenders in 2024. (I am still in the draft a QB at 5 camp if one of Stroud, Levis or Richardson is available.)
Awesome piece. The No state tax thing is woefully under covered in sports. A 5-15% pay bump is a big deal! One could argue the salary cap should be adjusted to account for this.
Well, I was the guy who insisted that Geno would "overperform by a lot" when he was announced the starter. I took a couple of bows for that, and now I am going to remind you that on numerous times I have said that Geno would sign for a contract with a hometown discount. We all know how rare actual hometown discounts are. This isn't an over the top discount. This is about the least discount we could have gotten without getting Geno in trouble with his fellow NFL QB's looking for their own bags.
Thank you, Geno, for the discount, and I hope you did it for the selfish reasons that make sense. You will do better here than anywhere else. Your teammates love you, and Seattle is your home. The fans love you, and being loved is a dang wonderful thing to be.
“I did write back on January 31 that Geno Smith might actually not have a massive market and…”
Geno didn’t write back. Seaside Joe wrote back.