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Sports >  Seattle Seahawks

Seahawks want to bring back QB Geno Smith while still creating ‘balance’ in salary cap

Jan. 26, 2023 Updated Thu., Jan. 26, 2023 at 5:19 p.m.

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith (7) walks off the field after a 41-23 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Wild Card game at Levi's Stadium on Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023, in Santa Clara, California.   (Seattle Times)
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith (7) walks off the field after a 41-23 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Wild Card game at Levi's Stadium on Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023, in Santa Clara, California.  (Seattle Times)
By Bob Condotta Seattle Times

SEATTLE – The big question that hovers over the Seattle Seahawks as they start the offseason is the future of quarterback Geno Smith.

But to general manager John Schneider, the answer is that Smith will ultimately remain with the Seahawks.

Asked during a radio appearance on “The Ian Furness Show” on Wednesday if he expects the Seahawks to re-sign Smith, Schneider said, “Yeah, yeah, we do.”

Exactly how and when that gets done remain questions with more intrigue.

Schneider indicated that any serious talks with Smith have yet to begin, saying: “I met with Geno on his exit interview, and we had a great talk. He knows what the process is going to be. We’d love to have him back. He knows that. Like you said, he’d love to be back here as well.”

But Schneider reiterated: “In terms of getting it done, it’s a process. Hope to get started here pretty quick. We have a little time here to kind of evaluate our team and get settled in. … We’ll get to it as soon as we can and try to do what’s best for Geno and try to do what’s best for the organization.”

Schneider also repeated what coach Pete Carroll said at the end of the season that the team hopes to also re-sign backup quarterback Drew Lock.

“Yeah we’d love to,” Schneider said. “We think that’d be the ideal situation.”

Smith can be a free agent when the new league year begins March 15, with players able to begin negotiating with other teams March 13.

Teams can also begin placing franchise tags on players Feb. 21, a period that lasts through March 7.

That could be the time when the “process” that Schneider referred to several times could to ramp up some, if it doesn’t earlier.

As Schneider noted, the challenge is finding a number that pays Smith what he wants and deserves and that allows the team to fill out all of its other needs.

“It’s all about trying to have as much balance as you possible can,” Schneider said.

After making the Pro Bowl this year and leading the NFL in completion percentage while playing every snap – and named Wednesday as one of three finalists for the league’s Comeback Player of the Year Award – Smith could be looking at a contract paying him $30 million a year or more, especially with the franchise tag number projected to be roughly $32.5 million for the 2023 season.

Seattle is listed with $31.24 million in cap space for 2023 as of Wednesday by OvertheCap.com but could make moves to create more space, if needed.

“It’s always negotiable,” Schneider said when asked if there’s a number that the team has in mind for Smith.

“That’s what we’re doing, right? We’re negotiating. And like any negotiation, you have a drop-dead number and you have to work within those constraints to be able to field the most competitive team you possibly can.”

But in a comment that further indicated optimism, Schneider referenced Smith’s agents – he is represented by Chafie Fields of the football division of the Wasserman Media Group – and said, “Geno has a really, really good group of guys that he works with and so we don’t see a problem with him moving forward.”

Smith and 23 other Seahawks can become unrestricted free agents March 15.

Seattle re-signed one, kicker Jason Myers, to a four-year deal last week. Myers also figured to be the only other player on whom Seattle might have considered using the franchise tag, leaving that available for Smith, if needed .

The tag is generally not viewed by either side as an optimum option since teams have to take the entire number on its cap for the following season, while players usually prefer a longer-term deal.

But if nothing else, it can be a negotiating tactic that can also buy time by effectively preventing the player from hitting free agency (with a nonexclusive tag, teams can match any offer a player might receive and also get two first-round picks as compensation).

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