Will the Seahawks and Pete Carroll take back Geno Smith and Drew Lock?

Drew Lock was usually the last Seahawk on the practice field.

He and third quarterback Sean Mannion spent up to a half hour throwing every pass into the coaches script for that day’s practice, often to quarterbacks coach Dave Canales and other assistants. Then, Lock and Mannion would throw every pass in that week’s game plan.

Luke did this in every practice, from September until last week before losing to Seattle in the NFC Wild Card Playoffs in San Francisco. The former Denver player who had not been a reserve for a season prior, said the veteran Mannion taught him the need to throw passes that coaches would require in a game, should it come into play unexpectedly.

Lock did not. Watch the Seahawks’ first season in full since arriving from Denver in a Russell Wilson trade. Watch Lock Geno Smith break records, make the Pro Bowl and lead the Seahawks to an amazing postseason appearance.

I learned lock. He marveled at how free and fun Coach Pete Carroll made the players’ days work. He admired the brotherhood he and his Seahawks teammates shared, including Locke with Smith.

“This is a special place,” Locke said last week, on his way out of Seahawks headquarters for the offseason. “I learned alot.

“But as a competitor, I want to play.”

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Seattle Seahawks quarterback Drew Lock (2) throws the ball during a warm-up before the start of an NFL game against the Los Angeles Rams at Lumen Field in Seattle, Washington January 8, 2023. Cheyenne Boone Cheyenne Boone/The News Tribune

Smith and Locke Contracts

Both Smith, 32, and Locke, 25, had their contracts expired with Seattle losing their playoff game last weekend.

Carroll says the Seahawks want their quarterbacks back for 2023.

But most likely only one will return.

The team has already begun what Carroll described this week as preliminary talks with Smith about a new multi-year contract. This will be his first deal since the rookie deal he signed with the New York Jets in 2013. He’s been on one-year contracts since then, including the last four seasons with the Seahawks. After breaking four team records for passing in a season (completions, attempts, yards, completion rate), Smith could go from $3.5 million in 2022 to maybe $25 million to $30 million for 2023 and beyond.

“I want to finish my career in Seattle,” Smith said last weekend.

It is unlikely that Luke will re-sign to sit out again during another season while still in his mid-twenties. As many as twelve teams could be in the market for new quarterbacks this offseason. But Lock’s market value is low after losing the job to Smith to succeed Wilson in August and not play a single snap last season.

“Drew was about as positive as you could hope the guy who didn’t get a chance to play could be,” said Carroll. “He had a really good experience. He worked great with the coaches, we really appreciated his talent, his work ethic and what’s more, his mentality and support for Geno. He and Geno were friends through everything. They helped each other out, and Sean Mannion was a part of that too.” .

“He doesn’t know what’s coming, so we’ll have to wait and see. But we’d like to have him back and continue growing with him.”

Of course Carroll would like to lock back. He wants to keep his offensive system intact for 2023.

Smith just made the Pro Bowl with a league-leading 4,282-yard passer with a completion rate of 69.8%. Kenneth Walker was rushing 1,000 yards; He joined Kurt Warner in 1983 as the only Seahawks rookie to do so. The offense also had two 1,000-yard receivers for only the third time in team history, DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett.

Carroll wants the status quo with his attacking skills. Teams do not need to upgrade their position and guard positions.

“Well, I saw it. I’ve seen a guy throw for more yards than anyone in our franchise has ever thrown,” Carroll said. “I’ve seen a guy complete more passes than anyone else in franchise history, close to 70%. of his passes this year. We had a 1,000-yard receiver, (another) 1,000-yard receiver, and ours also matched a junior running back who runs 1,000 yards. It all fits together, so I think the system is sound and ready to go.

“We know what we’re going back to. I think Gino’s play in particular shows you that order is in order.”

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Gino Smith (7) passes against the San Francisco 49ers during the second half of an NFL playoff game in Santa Clara, Calif., Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez) . Vasquez AP

Seahawks pivot project

The Seahawks have what is considered a once in a generation draft pick, fifth overall in the first round, out of Denver thanks to a Wilson trade.

There’s validity to thinking if quarterbacks Carroll and Schneider can lead the franchise for a decade with an available fifth, whether it’s Ohio State’s CJ Stroud or whatever, Seattle should recruit him. That’s even with the team re-signing Smith. The team drafts a five-year-old not for that year, but the plan for a decade. That is, in whatever position this height chooses.

It’s been 14 years since Seattle has ranked in the top five: linebacker Aaron Curry in 2009.

Additionally, the Seahawks will be due to go to the annual NFL Scouting Association in Indianapolis starting Feb. 28 with the league believing Seattle is aggressively considering drafting a quarterback at fifth. That could prompt teams in need of a QB positioned below in the first round, Carolina says with Scott Vetterer, a Seattle native and former Seahawks personnel man, as GM, offering a king’s ransom to trade the Seahawks’ option.

“If we don’t have a quarterback who does really well, it might be a little bit different,” Carroll said of Seattle’s approach to this unique draft. “The quarterbacks in this draft are extraordinary players. You don’t get chances like that.

“We’re really excited about all of these options.”

Another Seahawks option, one that gives them ultimate leverage with their QB: use the franchise tag or transfer. This will essentially stop Smith from shopping in free agency. The City of Seattle will have the right to match or respond to any other offer Smith can receive. If he falls elsewhere while he’s being tagged, the Seahawks get a first-round pick.

A one-year bidding bid for a sports media franchise will cost Seattle an estimated $32.4 million against the 2024 cap, or an estimated $30.4 million for the transitional tag. Franchise mark salaries are the average of the five highest salaries for the position across the league. Transitional tags cost the average of the top 10 highest paying prime position.

The league window for using the individual franchise or transfer tag each team owns is from February 17th to March 5th.

Free agency begins when the new league year begins, March 15th.

Smith could reasonably argue for the Seahawks that $30 million a year, the cost of the transfer tag, is the ground for what he’ll accept to re-sign. He can turn down lower value offers, and if Seattle wants to keep him, it will cost at least the $30 million transfer tag to ensure he stays.

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Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith (7) warms up before the start of an NFL game against the Los Angeles Rams at Lumen Field in Seattle, Washington January 8, 2023. Cheyenne Boone Cheyenne Boone/The News Tribune

Carroll said in August We may have two numbers. At quarterback, Smith and Luke. So some are wondering why the Seahawks don’t make the salary cap room they would allocate to Smith and pay a fraction of that to be their quarterback for 2023, if they like him so much.

But letting Smith walk away would create a problem in the locker room.

The trust and respect they had with Seahawks players over three seasons supporting Wilson, including three games started when Wilson had finger surgery in November 2021, was a big reason why Smith had the inside track over Lock from first offseason workouts last spring. . Smith did not stray from this path.

Letting Smith leave after the best season of his career, a Pro Bowl season that got the Seahawks into the playoffs, would rub many in the locker room the wrong way. And the intangibles including the pulse of the locker room are as important to the personal touch Carroll as they are to most NFL coaches.

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Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith, 7, signs a cheerleader’s jersey before the start of an NFL game against the New York Jets at Lumen Field in Seattle, Washington. On January 1, 2023. Cheyenne Poon Cheyenne Boone/The News Tribune

The would-be lock could open the door for the Seahawks by drafting a quarterback to develop behind Smith. That could be with one of their four picks in the first 52 of the April draft, or in later rounds. Seattle has these nine picks:

  • Round 1, pick 5
  • Round 1, pick 20
  • Second round, pick 37
  • Second round, pick 52
  • Third round, pick 83
  • Round 4, pick 120
  • Round 5, pick 148
  • Round 5, pick 151
  • Sixth round, pick 184

The Seahawks could run down five, get another first-round pick from another team for 2024, and then go on to draft the quarterback — plus the defensive tackles, ends and linebackers they need to improve on the awful run defense and spotty pass rush that decimated this Seattle. Last season.

“It’s different because there will be different attention that we give to us than other teams that might be interested in mobility or something else,” said Carroll. “We’re always looking for the top 15 or 20 guys and trying to figure out how they’re going and what’s going to happen to you. It feels different in that regard. It’s a lot more clear what’s going to happen. We’ll be more attached to what the chances are.

“Like I said to John, this is a dream opportunity here. He’s excited about it.”

This story was originally published Jan 20, 2023 12:01 PM.

Greg Bell is the Seahawks and NFL writer for The News Tribune. In January 2019, he was named Washington State Sportswriter of the Year by the National Sports Media Association. Covering the NFL began in 2002 when the Oakland Raiders beat The Sacramento Bee writer. The Ohio native started covering the Seahawks in their first Super Bowl of the 2005 season. In a previous life he graduated from West Point and served as a tactical intelligence officer in the US Army, so he might ask you to drop him and give him a 10.

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