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Seahawks fans remain supportive of Geno Smith as starting QB
Seahawks fans split on several key issues, but don't think Pete Carroll should bench Geno Smith for Drew Lock: Seaside Joe 1720
Something that I think gets overlooked but could turn out to be the smartest thing that Geno Smith has done since becoming the starting quarterback of the Seattle Seahawks is in the details of his contract: It’s relatively cheap.
So long as Geno convinces the Seahawks to keep him next year, he will have earned $48.4 million over two seasons. That’s almost $50 million for Geno Smith, which is an unimaginable amount for those of us who didn’t reach the league, but manageable for an NFL team to pay its starting quarterback.
Had Geno put Seattle to the test by attempting to reach free agency instead of avoiding the franchise tag and talking to other teams, maybe he could have gotten more non-guaranteed money in 2024 and 2025. However, he would have also made himself more expendable if he showed signs of regression, which clearly has been the case as talks of Drew Lock have been reaniminated for the first time since last year’s QB competition.
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But Geno has the basis for a case to keep him around next year if he maintains a status quo-rterback: A $31.2 million salary cap hit is not prohibitive and the amount of money the Seahawks save by releasing him, while not insignificant, isn’t a franchise-changing amount like it would be for some quarterbacks.
Geno’s $31.2 million cap hit is $28.3 million less than Dak Prescott, $20.6 million less than Kyler Murray, $15.9 million less than Daniel Jones, $4.4 million less than Derek Carr, and $4.2 million less than Russell Wilson.
Even if you’re solidly in the camp of “Someone else as soon as possible”, it’s safe to admit that with few upgrades expected on the market (as detailed in this week’s post) and the need to have to pay somebody else if you replace Geno, that he’s at least made it harder to justify making a change in 2024 than he could have if he had played hardball. Maybe Geno won’t make as much money in the short-term (he can still earn up to $10 million in incentives, but his stats aren’t on track for many of those) but there is nothing more valuable to a player than simply this:
Just ask the guy sitting behind him.
By staying affordable, Geno Smith could buy himself time, starts, and opportunities to keep proving himself in the league. Remember, Geno was the one who said that he supported the idea of him being a “bridge quarterback” if Seattle chose to draft someone with their first pick. Whether or not he just thought he was saying the right thing as a company man, I do not know, but it could buy him yet another year if he keeps that mentality through the next draft class. If the Seahawks do finally draft a quarterback, it would be advisable to be patient and to keep a veteran on the roster capable of starting. The difference between Geno and Lock is not nothing, yet it is small enough to think that Seattle would prefer the quarterback who is already starting than the one who hasn’t started for the Seahawks at all.
That is, if Geno Smith does start the rest of Seattle’s game this year and at least makes the playoffs. It would be hard for the Seahawks to miss the playoffs at this point because of the lead they’re building in the wild card race, so it’s almost guaranteed that if Seattle does lose enough games that Lock will get a chance to start.
In which case, it wouldn’t matter how cheap Geno’s deal is in 2024. No backup is worth $22 million.
For now though, Geno has the support of Pete Carroll and seemingly the locker room. Also, he still has mos tof the Seahawks fanbase.
This week I posted a Seahawks fan survey and we had over 500 responses in less than two days! Here are the results of those polls. Thank you to everyone who has supported Seaside Joe by upgrading to premium, please consider joining today:
The whole ‘bench Geno’ thing
85% don’t think Geno should have been benched yet
Only 15% of Seahawks fans think that Geno Smith has played poorly enough to have been benched already this season. As I wrote recently, I don’t think Geno’s been in any real danger and wouldn’t be until Seattle’s playoff chances are either gone or getting grim.
I will say that during almost every single game this season, comments in the Seaside Joe live chat thread will end up centering around why the Seahawks should give Drew Lock a chance that day. I don’t think these comments are overreacting in terms of Geno’s play, because I do believe that the offense has been more inept at times than it has any business being and no, I do not blame that all on Shane Waldron.
However, I also don’t think that there was a time this season that it would have made sense to bench Geno other than garbage time in Baltimore. At that point, Pete could have put Lock in the game and had an easy excuse for why he did it without it damaging Geno’s reputation as starter: “Hey, the game was over, we wanted to protect Geno.” But he didn’t do that, he chose to give Geno the entire game and that’s fine because I don’t know that there was much to gain from playing Lock either.
We learned a lot more about Lock from the Giants game than we would have from garbage time.
If the Seahawks were 4-5 instead of 6-3, or if Geno had as bad of stats as Ryan Tannehill or Jimmy Garoppolo, then I think yes it would have already happened. There’s no question that Geno is living on the edge, but to make a decision as permanent as that one that will impact the entire team and the locker room, Pete needs a much more convincing opportunity to make a change than ANYTHING that has happened so far this season.
That is, so far this season…
Twice as many people think that Geno should be on the hot seat if he struggles in the near future than those who think he should have already been benched and I think that’s notable. What if the Seahawks are 6-5 in two weeks? They’ll also have a 1-3 record in the division if that happens, with several more difficult games ahead following Rams and 49ers.
Considering that the Seahawks lost 30-13 to the Rams in Week 1 and went 0-3 against the 49ers in 2022, it’s a possibility.
Geno hasn’t played well in his last two games against the Rams and he’s never played well against the 49ers. A little more than 50% of you don’t think that Geno’s job should be in danger even if the next two games go poorly, but most of you also do not think that Geno should be benched barring a disaster.
What qualifies as a disaster? I hope to not find out.
The toughest stretch of the season
50% think Seahawks will go 2-3 in next five games:
So 51% of voters said that Seahawks will go 2-3 in the next five games and it’s safe to assume that most of you believe that one of those wins will come against the Rams. That assumes a 1-3 record against the 49ers, 49ers, Cowboys, and Eagles.
Another 25% said that the Seahawks will go 3-2, which assumes a 2-2 record against those four toughest teams.
But the next most popular answer was 19% for a 1-4 record, likely most of those people thinking that Seattle will struggle to defeat their best NFC competition.
I have some thoughts to share later on why the Seahawks might do better against the 49ers, 49ers, Cowboys, and Eagles than anticipated, but it’s hard to disagree that so far this season Seattle hasn’t played as well as they have; at least not as well as San Francisco and Philadelphia over the last two seasons.
Fans split on Defensive MVP: Boye Mafe or Devon Witherspoon?
43% voted Witherspoon as the MVP, while 41% went with Boye Mafe. Either way, not bad news for the last two draft classes.
More Opportunities: Zach Charbonnet
The player who you want to get more opportunities is Charbonnet and he’s out-snapped Ken Walker in each of the last three games. Will he get more carries and targets moving forward? From what Pete’s been saying lately, the answer is yes.
Following closely: Noah Fant at almost 30% and Jaxon Smith-Njigba at 23%. Most are satisfied with DK Metcalf’s opportunities (except maybe DK Metcalf).
Surprising Snap Counts
I was surprised by these snap counts myself: Colby Parkinson has played more than Will Dissly, Jake Bobo has played more than Charbonnet (which is partly a positional thing and trending in Charb’s direction lately), Jarran Reed has played more than Dre’Mont Jones, and Leonard Williams has already played more snaps in Seattle than Myles Adams this season.
You were only slightly more surprised by Parkinson: 35.8% of the vote to 34.9% of the vote for Bobo.
Only more reason to think that Dissly, even if he’s a great blocker, won’t be on the roster for $10 million next season.
What’s a successful season?
It’s not okay to miss playoffs or get blown out
Pete may see it differently, but I don’t think that the Seahawks were competitive in last year’s wild card loss to the 49ers. And really, when is the last time that the Seahawks were competitive in a playoff game?
Not in 2020’s loss to the Rams.
Not since beating Josh McCown’s Eagles in 2019, then Seattle trailed by 18 points in the second half in the divisional round to the Packers. The year before that, the Seahawks were down 10 points late in the game of a wild card loss to the Cowboys.
Probably the last convincing playoff win over a team that didn’t have a backup QB was the 26-6 win over the Lions in 2016, and Detroit went 9-7 that season.
50% of you voted that the Seahawks must win a playoff game in order to have a successful season, while 27% voted that it was okay if the Seahawks lost a competitive playoff game.
Less than 10% of you think that it’s okay to miss the playoffs or be non-competitive in the playoffs.
The odds of the Seahawks winning the NFC West really comes down to how Seattle performs against the 49ers in the next few weeks. If the Seahawks lose those games, they almost certainly lose the division. If the Seahawks lose the division, they’re going on the road in the wild card round. The Seahawks are not a good road playoff team under Pete Carroll. (Not that most teams are good road playoff teams.)
Even if the Seahawks get the 5 seed and a favorable matchup and beat the Saints or Bucs or Falcons in the wild card round, I think most fans would at least like to see Seattle competitive against a GOOD playoff team, not just a team that qualified by default.
That’s a fair place to put the bar because the Seahawks haven’t really had that “wow” playoff win since the 2014 NFC Championship.
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