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Checking in on Geno Smith’s progress toward 2023 incentives with 5 games to go

Seattle’s QB1 could earn up to $15M in incentives this year, but will he?

Seattle Seahawks v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

Geno Smith signed a 3-year, $75M contract with the Seattle Seahawks last offseason. That contract includes $15M in incentives that he can earn this season, and another $15M that he can earn next season, theoretically pushing the total value of the contract to $105M over three years.

After Seattle beat the Washington Commanders in Week 10, we checked on Geno’s progress toward his incentives.

At the time, it wasn’t looking especially good.

Three games further into the season, Geno still has a lot of work to do.


Passing Yards

This incentive is based on Geno matching (or exceeding) the 4,282 yards he had last season.

  • Pace through 9 games: 4,100 (182 shy)
  • Pace through 12 games: 4,133 (149 shy)

Yes, he’s made some progress, but it’s not nearly enough.

At this point, to reach his passing yards incentive, Geno needs to average 272.8 yards per game over the final five weeks of the season.

Doable? Sure.

Likely? Time will tell.

Coincidentally, Geno has topped that mark (272.8 yards) five times this season.

He’s only topped it once over the past three weeks though.

Thursday night against the Dallas Cowboys, Geno completed 23 of 41 passes for 334 yards.

A week earlier, on Thanksgiving, he was 18 of 27 for 180 yards against the San Francisco 49ers, and the week before that, Geno completed 22 of 34 passes for 233 yards against the Los Angeles Rams.


Touchdowns

Geno had 30 passing touchdowns in 2022, and that’s the benchmark he needs to hit to earn this incentive in 2023.

He had 11 through 9 games and added 4 more the last three weeks giving him 15 TDs through 12 games.

Could Geno throw 15 TD passes over the final 5 games? Sure.

Will he? Probably not.

Math: Fifteen TDs over 5 games is an average of 3 per game.

Good news: Geno threw 3 TD passes in Dallas.

Not-so-good news: Thursday’s game was the first time Geno has had 3 touchdown passes in a game this year, and he’s only done that four times in 33 games as Seattle’s starter.

Note: Geno threw 3 TD passes twice while he was with the New York Jets but has never had a game with 4+ TD passes in a game - unless he did it in high school or college, which doesn’t count.


Completion Percentage

Geno completed 69.8% of his passes in 2022.

Again, his 2022 mark is what he needs to match to earn the incentive.

Through 9 games, Geno’s completion rate was 65.3%.

His completion rates the last 3 games were 64.7%, 66.7%, and 56.1%, leaving him at 64.4% for the season.

As I noted in mid-November, there are myriad ways for Geno to bump his completion percentage above the requisite mark.

But time is running out.


Passer Rating

Geno’s 2022 quarterback rating (aka the incentive benchmark): 100.9.

Geno’s current quarterback rating: 89.1.

Long, meet Shot.


Quarterback Wins / Playoffs

This incentive is predicated on Seattle having 10 wins and/or the Seahawks making the playoffs with Geno playing 80% of the snaps.

I’m not going to say it isn’t possible for the Seahawks to make the playoffs and I won’t say it’s unlikely either.

Nope . . . I’ll let Mookie say it instead:

Seahawks playoff odds rapidly dwindling after third straight loss (12/1/2023)

As for 10 wins . . . I’m an optimist and even I’m not excited about the Seahawks’ chances of winning four of their final five games.

They could, but . . .

I’m not holding my breath, and neither should Geno.


Bonus Incentive

In addition to the five incentives laid out thus far, there’s a sixth “bonus” incentive in Geno’s contract.

Geno can earn $2M for each of the statistical incentives, which would be received via an increase in the 2024 base pay on his contract.

If he earns all five of the statistical incentives (which seems unlikely right now), Geno would earn an additional $5M via the aforementioned increase to his 2024 base salary

Should Geno earn all $15M in incentives ($2M x 5, plus $5M), his 2024 base salary would increase from $12.7M to $27.7M and his 2024 cap hit would jump from $31.2M to $46.2M.

As has been noted though, the “damage” for Seattle is likely to be much lower as Geno is not currently on pace to earn many (if any) of his 2023 incentives.

Go Hawks!