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ESPN ranks Geno Smith contract extension as one of NFL’s best offseason deals

Smith signed a very team-friendly three-year deal to stay in Seattle.

NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Seattle Seahawks v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The Seattle Seahawks’ biggest offseason question was whether or not they would keep quarterback Geno Smith after a memorable and unexpectedly high-level 2022 season. Smith not only got a contract extension that will give him a significant pay bump, but the reported three-year, $105 million contract really isn’t one when you dig into the contract details.

ESPN’s Seth Walder has been grading each major free agency move, and not too many have gotten an A. Geno and the Seahawks were an exception! Here’s a partial read of his analysis:

Going into free agency, I thought the franchise tag was the play for Seattle here. One year ago, many saw Smith in the Jacoby Brissett and Marcus Mariota class of quarterbacks. Would it be that wild if we saw him there again a year from now? Why not take another year to make sure he plays well again before committing multiyear money to him?

Initially, I thought this deal was a slightly unnecessary risk, based on the initial numbers that surfaced. But the actual deal means the Seahawks fully guaranteed less money than they would have with the franchise tag — or even the transition tag — while retaining all of the upside. If Smith plays well, the Seahawks retain the rights to him at what would then be a well-below-market price for a QB coming off two consecutive strong seasons.

Seattle has the 5th overall pick and while it’s not a guarantee, there is a chance they could have one of the top prospects (Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud, Anthony Richardson, and Will Levis) even though they’ve re-upped with Geno.

Really the only reason to complain about the Smith contract is if you wanted to sever ties entirely. If there was anxiety about the Seahawks breaking the bank for Geno off of a season so extraordinary that he won Comeback Player of the Year, John Schneider hopefully relaxed those worries.