During the 2022 NFL season, Geno Smith was one of the league’s most interesting characters.
He and the Seahawks ensured on Monday that he would continue to write that narrative in Seattle.
Smith agreed to terms on a contract extension with the Seahawks, defusing one of the biggest questions Seattle was facing this offseason and giving Smith his well-deserved financial reward after 10 years in the league. Smith was scheduled to become a free agent when the new league year started next week.
The Jets selected Smith in the second round of the 2013 draught, and he started for them for two seasons until losing the position in 2015—not because of his play, but because he had fractured his jaw in an incident with a teammate in the locker room. Smith spent the next seven seasons as a backup for the Jets, Giants, Chargers, and Seahawks since he was unable to get a chance to start after that. Smith was given the opportunity to compete for the starting position when Russell Wilson was traded to Denver last year, and after defeating Drew Lock in that battle, he went on to prove to the rest of the NFL what he had known all along he was capable of.
Early in the season, Smith won NFC Offensive Player of the Week and said that if anybody was shocked by his performance, it was because he was “since you’ve never seen me throw… I’m just playing the game and carrying out my assignment.”
Smith went on to demonstrate that, despite spending seven seasons as a backup, he was one of the league’s top quarterbacks over the course of 17 games. Smith led the NFL in completion % (69.8), was fourth in the league in touchdown passes (30), and sixth in passer rating while helping the Seahawks recover from a disappointing season and return to the playoffs (100.9). Together with Wilson and Dave Krieg, Smith is one of just three quarterbacks in club history to throw 30 or more touchdown passes in a single season. Smith also established franchise marks for completion %, completions (399), attempts (572) and passing yards (4,282).
Smith’s performance earned him a spot in the Pro Bowl for the first time in his 10-year career. He was also awarded the Comeback Player of the Year by the Associated Press, as well as the Most Improved Player and Comeback Player of the Year by the Pro Football Writers of America.
Pete Carroll, coach of the Seahawks, stated last week at the NFL Scouting Combine, “This was truly a great experience with a young boy who accomplished some remarkable things. “A person who was pushed about and eventually got lost in the mix is the subject of this wonderful tale, which is also entirely true. Then, the manner in which he handled it with such dignity, moral fibre, competitiveness, and, you know, gorgeous come-through and athleticism, all that stuff is part of the tale. My favourite part of it, however, is how he handled it. He was able to seize the opportunity and let the club know about his leadership prospects, and it was almost flawlessly done and orchestrated—exactly as you’d like it to be.”
Carroll observes that Smith’s success management skills were just as spectacular as his performance on the field. He consistently chose the noble path despite having several chances to shout “I told you so” or call out his innumerable naysayers. Well, he famously said, “They wrote me off, I ain’t write back however,” after Seattle defeated the Broncos in Week 1, but it was the closest Smith got to declaring, “I told you so,” all season. In addition, Smith gained the respect of the team’s locker room and rose to the position of one of its leaders while retaining a remarkable amount of perspective. When questioned about his difficult career and some of the difficult setbacks he had, Smith noted that, in the broad scheme of things, being a backup quarterback in the NFL was hardly a challenge.
Smith said, “I can’t say it was difficult since I have been so fortunate. “To be quite honest, my difficult circumstances might seem idyllic to someone else. Because I was still having a good time and still playing in the NFL throughout that period, I will never look back on it as something that was particularly difficult for me. Generally speaking, it simply gave you the impression that there was a glass ceiling and you wanted to destroy it. It’s like there’s something hanging over you that you simply want to smash so you can develop farther. I only had to wait till I was given the chance.”
After reaching an agreement on a new contract, Smith will continue his extraordinary career in Seattle, where he first broke the glass barrier in 2022 and went on to win the league’s Comeback Player of the Year award and make it to the Pro Bowl.
During the NFL Scouting Combine, general manager John Schneider observed, “He’s such a great person. “He’s simply a very, really special person with a fantastic, fantastic story. Great story for the Seahawks, certainly, and a fantastic one for young people around the nation. Just surviving like that is an encouragement.”