Former NFL scout implies Seahawks could have battle for starting quarterback

Geno Smith is expected to be the presumed starter but maybe he won't be.
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There is no real reason for Sam Howell to supplant Geno Smith as the Seattle Seahawks' starting quarterback in 2024. Smith has been Seattle's full-time starter for two seasons. The team made the playoffs in one of those years, and Smith led Seattle to an 8-7 record in his starts in the other. Howell was a full-time starter for the Washington Commanders for just one season and he threw far too many interceptions and was sacked too many times.

All of the above is true, but maybe there is a bit more to the story of who ends up being Seattle's starting quarterback in 2024. According to Senior Bowl director Jim Nagy, Seattle should open up the quarterback competition in training camp and give Howell a real chance to start. Nagy was also an NFL scout for nearly two decades, some of that time was working with Seahawks general manager John Schneider.

Nagy recently said on Seattle Sports 710 AM's Brock and Salk show that he thinks highly of Howell and there is no way Howell should have fallen to the fifth round of the 2022 NFL draft. He sees the potential of a Smith versus Howell quarterback battle in much the same way Russell Wilson battled Matt Flynn for the starting QB gig in 2012.

Seattle Seahawks could possibly have a quarterback battle in 2024

There are obvious differences, of course. Smith has proven himself over a longer period of time than did Flynn. Seattle also did not draft Howell as they did Wilson. But there could also be reasons that the Seahawks could have a quarterback battle.

Both quarterbacks will be starting fresh with an entirely new coaching staff. Neither Smith nor Howell have played a game under new head coach Mike Macdonald or new offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb. Macdonald and Grubb could easily see Smith in a different light than did former head coach Pete Carroll and former OC Shane Waldron. Both quarterbacks have the same chance to prove they should start and both have starting experience.

Howell would also be the less expensive option for the next two years. Smith is not going anywhere in 2024 even if Seattle chooses to start Howell. The Seahawks would have no viable backup option for Howell if Smith were not on the roster. Next offseason, though, Seattle could release Smith and save $25 million. Seattle is relatively tight against the cap in 2025 already so any savings, especially if there has been a change at starting quarterback, would be a good one.

The one massive advantage Smith has over Howell is that Smith has an established rapport with most of the receivers already. Howell does not have that. If Howell can build one quickly in practice, that is clearly to his advantage but would only make him - at best - equal to Smith.

John Schneider has said there is no quarterback battle in Seattle and maybe that is how it should be. Again, Smith has been more than solid the last two seasons. But once practice begins and the Seahawks think about the long-term - Howell is 23 and Smith is 33 - there is a potential that the QB situation is different than it appears now.

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