The Seattle Seahawks signed Geno Smith to a three-year extension this offseason and he will clearly start in 2023, but CBS Sports thinks maybe Seattle could entertain a trade for Malik Willis for 2024 and beyond. Willis is currently employed by the Tennessee Titans and is for another three seasons, at least. But after Tennessee chose Will Levis in the 2023 draft, Willis seems to not have a home anytime soon.
Of course, the question isn't even about Willis replacing Geno Smith. It might be more about how much faith Seattle really has in backup Drew Lock moving forward. Smith is really on just a one-year deal because he only has $17.4 million in dead cap assigned to him in 2024 but Seattle would have to pay him up to $31.2 million. Of course, if Smith is as good in 2023 as he was in 2022 then he is worth it.
Willis has great arm strength but he is exceptionally raw. And since he doesn't play in Tennessee and likely isn't going to see real action very soon, then he will continue to have unrefined skill. Of course, he also hopefully wouldn't see much time with the Seahawks either as Geno Smith should be healthy and playing and performing well.
Seattle Seahawks rumored trade option for Titans QB Malik Willis
According to CBS Sports, Seattle might be interested in a trade for Willis because "no one is tantalized more by a possible quarterback reclamation project than gum-chomping head coach Pete Carroll in Seattle." This may or may not be true, though. Sure, Carroll doesn't shy away from trying to bring in players he think might help the team, but he's never really done that with the most important position on the field, quarterback.
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From 2012 through 2021, the Seahawks had Russell Wilson and he never missed a down. Even Geno can't be considered a reclamation project because he had already been a backup to Wilson for two seasons before taking over full-time in 2022. Possibly Drew Lock could be called a project, but then he isn't starting unless Smith gets hurt, is he?
Willis might have more athleticism than Lock, while both have great arms. I am comparing Willis and Lock because if Geno Smith doesn't work out and Seattle does trade for Willis then the battle might be between Willis and Lock if Seattle keeps three quarterbacks on the roster. But this is another reason the Seahawks trading for Willis seems far-fetched. Seattle only ever keeps two quarterbacks on the active roster, at least for the last 11 seasons. Lock also knows the offensive system in Seattle already and his being a part of a trade to the Titans makes little sense.
Most likely, if Geno Smith has a bad year in 2023, neither Lock or Willis would be his replacement. The Seahawks would look to draft a quarterback or maybe get one in free agency. But let's assume Smith is solid again this season. If he is, a trade for Willis makes zero sense.