Seattle Seahawks 2023 Free Agent Primer - Geno Contract Update


NOTE: If you haven’t checked out the previous articles in this series individually covering each position group’s free agency break down, it might be worth your time to do so. It will better explain why high-end free agents aren’t considered in this article for certain position groups, such as Edge, WR, TE, or CB. Just click here to see the list of articles. They’re worth a read to get the full picture of the offseason ahead and what to expect in free agency prior to the draft.

As most 12s hoped and expected, Geno Smith will get a chance to run back his outstanding 2022 season in 2023. John Schneider executed a phenomenal negotiation and landed a Top 10 QB in the NFL for a bargain price. A shoutout should be given to Geno for giving a hometown discount, as he admitted himself he wanted to finish what he started in Seattle and did not want to try free agency. The contract is the best you could hope for to build a deep and talented roster around #7. If Geno hits his ceiling over the life of this contract, he could cause the name Russell Wilson to be an afterthought in Seattle, a name that when spoken is followed by a chuckle. Look at these terms!!!

3 years, $75M, including $40M guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $25M. In 2023, Smith will earn a base salary of $1.2M, a signing bonus of $26.1M and a workout bonus of $200K, while carrying a cap hit of $10.1M!!!



Base Salary

Signing Bonus

Roster Bonus

Workout Bonus

Cap Hit

Dead Cap

Yearly Cash










POTENTIAL OUT: 2024, 1 YR, $27,500,000; $17,400,000 DEAD CAP



















This leaves the Seahawks with the 12th most cap space available in the NFL at $21M. However, they are 16th in effective cap space, which considers draft picks and future needs, with just $9M. This seems like a small number but the Seahawks have several contracts that can be cut, extended, or restructured to create additional space. The Seahawks are in a fantastic position to make a cannon ball sized splash in free agency. Unfortunately, with only 35 returning players from 2022 under contract, two of them coming off of major injury in Adams and Brooks, Seattle has to hit big in free agency to improve in 2023.

My original Free Agent Primer released a few weeks ago estimated a $56M guarantee for Geno and a ’23 cap hit of $16M, so most of that original article remains the same, just an additional $6M to spend in the Geno scenario. If you read that article then there’s nothing new for you beyond this point, what you read just got a little bit better with the extra $6M. If you did not read it, read on…

The Seahawks can create an additional $18M in cap space through releasing players. This is only considering realistic cuts that have savings and available replacement options to justify their release. For example, Damien Lewis ($3M), Nwosu ($8.2M), and Dissly ($3M) are not considered candidates because you can’t come close to replacing their output with the amount of savings received. The cut candidates with the largest savings are DJ Dallas $1M, Shelby Harris $9M, Quinton Jefferson $4M, Al Woods $3.75M, and Bryan Mone $1.8M. Due to the depth at these positions in the draft all are likely to be released, with the possible exception of Jefferson who will be tough to replace for $4M. Remember, releasing these players does not mean they can’t be re-signed for a lower salary after the draft.

The Seahawks also have a few contracts that are good candidates for extension or restructure to increase cap space in 2023. These include the cap hits of Uchenna Nwosu $13M, Will Dissly $9.1M, and Quinton Jefferson $6.5M. Extending each of these players could free up about $8M-$15M in 2023 depending on how much Seattle wanted to push to later years. The Seahawks have all the cap flexibility a team could ask for to build a quality roster through free agency. Even better, they are starting from a foundation that made the playoffs.

For this analysis I’m using $16M for the effective cap space after setting aside $5M for injured reserve, practice squad, and carryover. I’m also adding $11.5M due to cap savings, which is half of the conservative estimate above: $14.5M cap casualties + $8.5M in contract restructures/extensions = $23M divided by 2 = $11.5M.

Total Cap Space For Free Agency = $27.5M

Considering Pete Carroll’s age, the rumors of a potential sale of the team by Jody Allen after 2025, and now Geno’s team friendly contract, the Seahawks are in win now mode. The Seahawks will be willing to go all in salary cap wise by backloading deals allowing them to target impact players in free agency. They’ll fill out the depth of the roster with late round picks and vet minimum deals. In this case, the free agent signings will look something like shown below.

I studied the all-22 of the free agent class and the players listed are good scheme fits in my humble opinion. I also estimated their market value by comparing their film to the other free agents and current contracts at their position. For the large signings I went with a smaller first year cap hit considering backloaded deals. This means that a team gives a low salary in the 1st year of the contract, such as $1M, with a large cash signing bonus that can be spread over the life of the contract. The 1st year has a small cap hit but there are large salary and dead money amounts at the back end of the contract. The Seahawks ability to spend big and backload comes from their large number of high draft picks this year and last year. They are banking on drafting at least a dozen starters between the two classes, which would allow them to carry some overvalued contracts from free agency.

There are a few must-haves from the Seahawks current free agent list. Godwin Igwebuike is our starting kick returner, special teamer, and running back depth. Mike Jackson will be in competition for the starting left cornerback spot and play special teams. Ryan Neal is our starting safety until Adams can prove he’s back and our dime and big nickel safety when Adams does, as well as a solid special teamer.

The Seahawks positional needs, in order of importance, are: DL (DT/DE), ILB, C/G, WR, Edge/OLB, S, CB, TE, OT, QB. The reasoning behind this order is covered in the position specific articles in this series.

The free agent signings would look something like the following taking up all $27.5M available:

· Rashaad Penny, RB – $3M – other options: D’Onta Foreman, Jeff Wilson

· Godwin Igwebuike, RB – $750K

· Marquise Goodwin, WR – $1M – other options: Jarvis Landry, TY Hilton

· Fletcher Cox, 3T/DE – $7M – other options: Matt Ioannidis, A’Shawn Robinson

· Germain Pratt, ILB – $7M – other options: TJ Edwards, Dru Tranquill

· Alex Anzelone, ILB – $2.75M – other options: Cody Barton, Alex Singleton

· Mike Jackson $2M (ERFA) – CB

· Ryan Neal $4M (ERFA) - SS

Some other options to consider are listed below. These can be interchanged with any of the players above, however you like to build the roster.

· Javan Hargrave, DT/3T – $7M – other options: Fletcher Cox, Dalvin Tomlinson

· Justin Ellis, DT – $3M – other options: Jonathan Hankins, Greg Gaines

· Leighton Vander Esch, ILB – $7M – other options: Lavonte David, Tremaine Edmunds

· Isaac Seumalo, G – $7M – other options: Ben Powers, Evan Brown, Daulton Risner

· Evan Brown, C – $3M – other options: Bradley Bozeman, Garrett Bradbury

· Sterling Shepard, WR – $4M – other options: Nelson Agholor, Randall Cobb

· Yannick Ngakoue, OLB/Edge – $7M – other options: Brandon Graham, Robert Quinn

· Nik Needham, CB – $4M – other options: Greedy Williams, Trayvon Mullen, Sean Murphy-Bunting

· Travis Homer, RB – $1M – other options: Devin Singletary, David Montgomery

As you can see Geno’s contract has given the Seahawks the ability to add a number of excellent free agents to improve their roster in 2023.

Based on what I’ve scouted from the draft class, my Seahawks NFL Draft Big Board can be found here, I believe they will be spending their FA money on the defensive front 7, which is why I picked Cox and Pratt. This will still leave holes at G, C, DT, and ILB. Fortunately, this draft has outstanding talent in the early rounds at DT, G, and C and NFL ready ILBs that can be had in the 3rd and 4th rounds. The stars might be aligning for the Seahawks and Geno Smith to put together a Super Bowl contender in 2023.

Keep an eye out for my draft preview in the next few days explaining how the Seahawks will fill the remaining holes in their roster and add high ceiling depth pieces after the first two waves of free agency are over.