In many ways, Geno Smith was a rookie again in 2022. He had not been a full-time starter since 2014 and going eight years without starting much means you are having to get starter experience all over again. The Seattle Seahawks made the right decision to start Smith over Drew Lock at the beginning of last year and Smith led the team to a surprising playoff berth.
But if Smith was basically a rookie last year then like any rookie, the expectation is he should be better in his second full year as a starter, right? Based on the raw statistics, Geno Smith isn't better this year. In fact, he's far worse. And that can't all be attributed to Seattle's banged-up offensive line.
In 2022, Smith was sacked on 7.4 percent of dropbacks, but in 2023 that number is lower at 6.6. He was under pressure on 49 percent of his pass attempts against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 9, though, and very few quarterbacks are going to be successful facing that kind of pressure. But Smith has been fairly bad over the last four games and he hasn't always been under constant pressure.
In the past four games, Geno Smith has eight turnovers, and he has 6 touchdown passes but 7 interceptions in his last six games. His quarterback rating this year is 86.4 (compared to 100.9 last year) but in three of the last four games Smith has had a quarterback rating of worse than 86.4. Smith is trending in the wrong direction.
The Seattle Seahawks will replace Geno Smith eventually but when?
After the Seahawks thrashing at the claws of the Ravens, head coach Pete Carroll defended his quarterback, though. Of course, he did. No coach should trash their starting quarterback publicly. Carroll isn't Broncos coach Sean Payton and that's a good thing. But one must wonder what Seattle is thinking about their quarterback position when the coaches meet in their offices.
Carroll told Brady Henderson of ESPN after the game, "I don't think this is about Geno at all...I think this is about our football team did not answer the bell...When they're rushing the passer (as well as the Ravens did in Week 9), that's not Geno. This is not a one-guy deal." Carroll did say he was "concerned" about Smith's recent turnovers, though.
Many 12s have voiced their opinion for Drew Lock to take over for Smith. We know that Lock had some turnover concerns when he played for the Denver Broncos, though (in his one season with Denver as the full-time starter Lock led the NFL in interceptions). Smith's interception percentage this year is 2.8 percent and that is Lock's career number. In 2022, Smith was intercepted 1.9 percent of the time.
So let's assume Lock isn't the answer and many wanting him to play simply want a replacement for Smith instead of Lock is actually the better option. He isn't. One reason offensive coordinator Shane Waldron had Lock roll out and pass in Week 4 when Lock subbed in for a few plays after Smith left with an injury was because Waldron wasn't comfortable with Lock simply dropping back and making decisions about where the pass needs to go as Lock goes through his progressions.
Pete Carroll is also extremely unlikely to make a change at quarterback as long as Geno Smith is healthy. Smith is well-liked in the locker room and removing him as the starter might cause some players to be miffed by the decision. But more importantly, Carroll has seen Smith succeed for the most part since the beginning of 2022 and Carroll isn't going to overreact to a few bad games.
Still, it appears clear that Geno Smith is not going to lead the Seahawks to a Super Bowl victory so a change at quarterback will need to happen eventually. If I had a guess, I think that Seattle keeps Smith at quarterback through 2024, but does draft his replacement in the 2024 NFL draft.
Smith was signed this offseason to a three-year extension. The contract is front-loaded, however. His cap hit goes from $10.1 million in 2023 to $31.2 million in 2024, but his dead cap falls from $27.5 million to $8.7 million in 2025. Financially, there is more sense for Seattle to keep Smith through 2024 than to release him after this year. And by 2025, the Seahawks 2024 QB draftee should be ready to take over for Geno Smith.