Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith was named NFC Player of the Week after throwing for 320 yards and two TD's against the Lions, and his overall strong play has given the Seahawks options at quarterback.
If Pete Carroll or John Schneider is talking about who the Seahawks might take in the NFL draft, it isn't to satisfy your curiosity. Every word the coach or general manager speaks this time of year is motivated by strategy, not courtesy.
So when a question comes up about selecting a quarterback early in the first round — a potentially tempting proposition given that Seattle picks fifth this year — the responses should probably be treated more like gossip than gospel. Still, neither Carroll nor Schneider was all that subtle at the NFL combine on Tuesday, making it seem like they juuust might use their top pick on a QB.
The Seahawks, as you probably know, are already in negotiations with quarterback Geno Smith — a 32-year-old who logged a surprisingly stellar season after serving seven years as a backup. Various sites have estimated his market value to be over $35 million per annum, which is a particularly hefty number for a man who's had just one praiseworthy year.
But if the Seahawks invest in Smith, might they still be interested in drafting a rookie QB such as Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud or Will Levis — all of whom are projected to go in the top 10?
"In the position we're in, we are totally connected to the quarterbacks that are coming out. This is a really huge opportunity for us," Carroll said. "It's a rare opportunity. We've been drafting in the low 20s for such a long time, just don't get the chance with these guys. So we're deeply involved with it."
Perhaps this is a signal to teams drafting below the Seahawks that if they want to nab a QB, they should be prepared to offer some picks. Or perhaps this is a signal to Smith's agent that Seattle doesn't need to sign him at a high price with premier signal callers in the draft.
Or maybe Carroll is simply speaking the truth — that if the chance to take a franchise-altering QB arises, you take it regardless of who's already behind center.
Schneider was equally open about the prospect of snagging a slinger up high. The man was in Green Bay's front office when the Packers selected Aaron Rodgers in the first round despite having Brett Favre under contract.
Still, the question had to be asked.
It seems signing Geno would put you in win-now mode. Why take a quarterback high if you locked him up?
"Because they don't grow on trees," Schneider said. "I mean, it's very hard. It's probably the hardest position to acquire a talent — a guy that everybody feels confident in."
Remember, the Seahawks expressed interest in Bills quarterback Josh Allen and Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes in previous years while Russell Wilson was their starter. Didn't mean they would have drafted either if the opportunity came, but both were taken off the board before the pick fell Seattle's way.
Frankly, this is new territory for an organization that has enjoyed consistent success for the past decade-plus. There is no history to indicate how Carroll and Schneider might use a top-five selection.
Besides, given Geno's age and (minimal) track record, there's a strong chance that any deal the Seahawks structure with him would allow them to get out of it after two seasons. I'm not saying the next Aaron Rodgers is on the board, or that Smith is on Favre's level, but it's worth noting that Rodgers didn't start for the Pack until his fourth year in the NFL.
That said, there are copious places in which Seattle needs to improve — perhaps most notably on the front seven. Schneider was blunt about needing to beef up that particular area Tuesday.
But when Carroll was asked why they might take a QB with Smith signed — thus neglecting a chance to shore up other shortcomings — he offered a similar answer to that of his GM.
"Well, there's a really good answer to that question — because we don't get this opportunity," Carroll said. "We've not been here where we have a chance to ... Maybe, we don't know, maybe they [the QBs] all go, I don't know. But that's why. When you're picking down on the bottom of the first round, those guys aren't available. And so that's what we have to take advantage of this time and this moment."
Smith's 2022 season was one of the more surprising NFL stories we've seen in a while. But for him to have some in-house competition next season? That might not be so surprising.
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