Pete Carroll hints that Geno Smith franchise tag is too costly for Seahawks
In the interview that nobody else watched, Pete made it sound like Seattle's got bigger fish to fry: Seaside Joe 1457
Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll spoke at the NFL Scouting Combine on Tuesday morning and made it clear in his press conference with the media that the team is “working hard” to come to a contractual agreement with Geno Smith. There’s nothing about that statement to me that sounds untrue: Pete prefers players who he knows over players he has to project.
We’ve seen how poorly it has gone in the past when the Seahawks have gone out to add premier football players based on what they expect them to do once they arrive in Seattle’s system: Jimmy Graham, Percy Harvin, Sheldon Richardson, Jamal Adams, Jadeveon Clowney, and so on.
I 100-percent believe that Pete Carroll wants to keep Geno Smith and his statements to the media ring true for that reason. Pete transitioned from Russell Wilson to Geno in large thanks to the three years that Smith spent as the Seahawks backup quarterback and because of his three-game audition as the starter in 2021.
So, a new multi-year contract? Yes. I believe that the Seahawks want Geno Smith to sign the multi-year contract that they are offering him. Seaside Joe projected four different Geno contract proposals, three of which went beyond the franchise tag, and I believe that Pete wants agent Chafie Fields to advise his client to accept something like one of those offers.
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I also believe that Pete wanted Wilson to spend his entire career in Seattle. I believe that Pete never wanted to cut Bobby Wagner a year ago.
Pete doesn’t always get what he wants and I think the most important thing that he said on Tuesday didn’t directly relate to Geno—and wasn’t said during his media session—was about something he wants even more than to keep around his 2022 starting quarterback: He wants to keep turning over a mediocre roster into a good roster.
The franchise tag for Geno Smith makes that far too improbable and Pete basically admitted that in a post-media session interview with Mike Florio and Chris Simms on PFT Live.
I have to apologize for not having the direct interview to post here now (I will come back and add it after ProFootballTalk posts it to YouTube) and I’m relaying what I just watched live on television, but Pete Carroll was predictably asked the same questions by Florio that he was asked by the media. “Will you keep Geno Smith?” “Do you think there could be another QB comeback story like Geno Smith in the NFL?” “Were you offended by The Athletic story on Russell Wilson trying to get you fired?”
Update: Here’s the clip
Pretty much nothing that I think reveals anything important to Seahawks fans. What do you expect Pete to say about any of those questions or the one about whether Seattle will draft a quarterback?
“We’re not going to re-sign Geno Smith. F*** him!”
“Yes, I’m pissed at Russ. F*** him!”
But in his response to Florio on being able to keep Geno before having to apply the tag, I do think that Pete started the process of hedging against the fan reaction to letting Geno hit free agency. If that happens, which I personally have believed will be the case since Seaside Joe crunched the numbers and couldn’t make any sense of how the Seahawks will afford a $32.4 million cap hit for one player in 2023.
It just doesn’t add up.
That’s essentially a small snippet of what Pete said in his response to trying to get Geno re-signed for next season. That Seattle is trying to make it happen but he added that the Seahawks also have a lot of other needs, things that they want to do with regards to free agency and their own outgoing players, and that they will need cap space in order to do that.
Again, I have to apologize for not having the exact quote but I wanted to get this to you as soon as I could and if you think I’m lying or overreacting when the video is added—by all means, let me have it!
Quote: “Geno’s been us and we’ve been him and we should just do this together. We’ve still got to work out the business part of it and we’ve got a team that needs some help and we’ve got some areas in free agency that we’ve got to address and we’re looking forward to doing that. This is the game you play this time of year.”
I feel that most of Seahawks media is either being disengenuous to Seattle fans when they write or say that the team will franchise tag Geno Smith OR they’re being too lazy to do the research like we’ve been doing here at Joe. It’s not so much that other members of the media are saying, “Well, the Seahawks will tag Geno because he’s good!” It’s that they say that and don’t follow it up with an explanation as to how they FINANCIALLY arrived at that conclusion.
And yes, it’s mediocre reporting to say that a team will franchise tag a quarterback merely because “he’s good”.
It’s remarkable that after 14 YEARS of Pete Carroll as the main force behind the franchise’s decisions that there would be veteran reporters who still don’t quite comprehend that even if the Seahawks do franchise tag Geno Smith, it would be a monumental shift in his organization philosophy and a shocking development for Seattle. Much more shocking than it would be to draft a quarterback, but I also believe that any reporting on the Seahawks leaning towards QB in the draft is also somewhat disengeuous or poorly researched.
(I’ll be adding to that in a bonus post later about Mel Kiper’s mock draft 2.0 that has Seattle picking Anthony Richardson. Sign up for Regular Joes to read it!)
So if any Seahawks reporter is out there today telling you that the Seahawks will franchise tag Geno Smith, please for my sake ask them one simple question: “How?”
It’s their job to cover an NFL team, so I would hope that they go to OvertheCap.com or other salary cap websites literally every single day and continuously try to make sense of how that is possible—as I have been doing. Even once you make the cuts, restructure the contracts, make the trades, and add a $12-$13 million rookie draft class, how does anyone justify how a Pete Carroll-coached team will afford Geno at $32.4 million and simultaneously be improving the roster; a roster that had one of the worst defenses in the NFL, a notorious bugaboo for Pete.
It is because of that impasse towards a franchise tag—and the probable demands of Geno agent Chafie Fields to get his quarterback paid similar or above the costs of players like Kirk Cousins and knowing that there are teams out there who need quarterbacks and will spend more—that I see the QB trying to hit the market on March 15.
The Seahawks could still apply the tag on March 7, making one last ditch effort to keep Geno at the contract offer they’re giving him and opening up the possibility that a team might trade for him, but Geno actually playing for Seattle at a $32.4 million price tag in 2023 doesn’t just “seem like a bad idea in my opinion”.
It seems like an improbable outcome for Pete Carroll, how he’s run the operation for 14 years, and the Seahawks current salary cap and organizational structure. Just because it’s ideal doesn’t mean it’s likely. And I believe Pete basically said that on Tuesday—it’s just not the interview that everyone else was listening to and reporting on.