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What the Jason Myers contract says about the Geno Smith negotiations

San Francisco 49ers v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Christopher Mast/Getty Images

The offseason has started for the Seattle Seahawks, and the debates among fans regarding how the Hawks should proceed forward through free agency and the 2023 NFL Draft are well underway. That said, there will be no shortage of key decisions the team needs to make in the coming months while they manage their salary cap for this season and beyond, and the biggest question for the team is one that general manager John Schneider addressed once again Wednesday.

The conversation was far more involved than that, but for the purposes of this post, that’s the most relevant part. Specifically, getting to the laundry list of unrestricted free agents for the Seahawks this offseason, it looks like this:

  • Geno Smith
  • Poona Ford
  • Rashaad Penny
  • Austin Blythe
  • Johnathan Abram
  • L.J. Collier
  • Phil Haynes
  • Nick Bellore
  • Artie Burns
  • Drew Lock
  • Marquise Goodwin
  • Kyle Fuller
  • Bruce Irvin
  • Justin Coleman
  • Tyler Ott
  • Josh Jones
  • Laquon Treadwell
  • Carson Tinker
  • Cullen Gillaspia
  • Xavier Crawford
  • Teez Tabor
  • Cody Barton
  • Travis Homer
  • Darryl Johnson Jr

That’s two dozen names, and of course is one name shorter than it was when the offseason started. Specifically, the reason the Seahawks have 24 unrestricted free agents rather than 25 unrestricted free agents is due to the contract extension signed by Jason Myers last week, and that contract sheds light on a couple of different areas. The first are the details of the contract Myers received, and more to the point the cash flow of the contract.

Here is the year by year cash flow for the contract Myers signed:

  • Year 1: $8.165M
  • Year 2: $3.635M
  • Year 3: $4.2M
  • Year 4: $4.6M

Those cash flow numbers put the cash received by Myers for the first two years at $11.8M. That will likely seem like a random number to most fans, but it is actually a number of great significance. To that point, the franchise tag for kickers in 2023 is projected to be $5.398M. Then, taking 120% of $5.398M yields $6.478M. The second number is relevant because 120% of the 2023 tag is what a second franchise tag would cost in 2024. Combining $5.398M and $6.478M puts the cost of two franchise tags at $11.876M, or basically what Myers will earn over the next two years. Simply put, that is how contracts are structured in the NFL.

Coming back to the franchise tag, the full list of the projected amounts for the tag from for the different positions are as follows:

  • Quarterback: $32.445M
  • Running Back: $10.1M
  • Wide Receiver: $19.762M
  • Tight End: $11.356M
  • Offensive Line: $18.261M
  • Defensive Tackle: $18.954M
  • Defensive End: $19.744M
  • Linebacker: $20.945M
  • Cornerback: $18.155M
  • Safety: $14.472M
  • Special Teams: $5.398M

Reviewing the list of unrestricted free agents for the Seahawks, and combining those names with the franchise tag amounts by position, there seems little question that the overwhelming majority of the players who are set to hit the market wouldn’t justify carrying a cap hit the size of the franchise tag for their position. The lone exception to that is, of course, Geno Smith, whose breakout 2022 season has set him up for a payday this offseason, whether with Seattle or with another franchise.

However, the fact that there is only one name on the list that could warrant having the tag applied is notably significant because barely a week ago there were two. That in mind, with just one free agent likely to be worthy of a franchise tag and exactly one franchise tag at their disposal, figuring out where to use the tag is now no longer a question. It also goes a very long way towards explaining why the team was so quick to sign Myers to a contract extension as soon as the season ended, something that is well outside the bounds of their standard process of operations.

Thus, the question appears to have morphed from whether in the process of negotiating with Smith they will apply the franchise tag to simply a matter of when will they apply the tag.