Brady HendersonESPN3 minutes to read
The Seattle Seahawks are working to re-sign Pro Bowl quarterback Geno Smith, but general manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll said that doesn’t stop the team from taking a hard look at this year’s quarterback class.
Schneider on Tuesday described call talks with Smith, the 2022 NFL MVP, as “positive” so far.
It’s not unlike any other offseason for an organization that prides itself on leaving no stone unturned when it comes to player acquisition – with the notable caveat that the Seahawks own the fifth overall pick in this year’s draft via the trade of Russell Wilson as well as their first head coach (No. 20 overall).
“We’re totally attached to the guys coming up,” Carroll told reporters at the NFL Scouting Association in Indianapolis. “This is a really big opportunity for us. It’s a rare opportunity. We’ve been drafting in the ’20s for a long time; you don’t get a chance with these guys. So we’re deeply involved with everyone that.”
The Seahawks haven’t been selected in the top 5 since they drafted quarterback Aaron Curry with the No. 4 pick in 2009, a year before Carroll and Schneider arrived. They’ve made the playoffs 10 times in the 13 seasons since, which has routinely meant being drafted later in the first round.
“A lot,” Schneider said when asked how interested the Seahawks are in this year’s quarterback class. “Every year, honestly, we look at him really a lot. Like I said earlier, we haven’t picked fifth overall since we’ve been here. So yeah, I got out to watch a lot of the quarterbacks this year. Very interesting. But honestly, every year we try to do that.” And we tried to add two back players.”
Smith is slated to become an unrestricted free agent after pulling off a stellar career turnaround in which he unexpectedly won the starting Seattle job and finished in the top 10 in several categories, including first in completion rate and sixth in total QBR.
Schneider said in a post-season radio interview that he believes a deal will be done, while Smith said at the Pro Bowl last month that the prospects for the two sides reaching an agreement “looks very good.”
“I would say it’s an ongoing process,” Schneider said Tuesday. “Close? I would say ‘positive.’ All these negotiations, some a little faster than others. Usually when you’re talking about higher numbers, it takes a little bit longer. It’s obviously more complicated than [in] Various sports with guaranteed contracts. There’s a lot that goes into these contracts.”
Schneider declined to comment on whether the Seahawks are considering using the $32.416 million franchise tag on Smith, other than to say the tag is a “tool” the teams have at their disposal. The Seahawks have only used the franchise tag twice under Carroll and Schneider – in kicker Olindo Mare (2010) and defensive end Frank Clark (2019), who were then traded.
In the same period, they have drafted only two quarterbacks – Wilson (2012, 3rd round) and Alex McGough (2018, 7th round). But sources told ESPN that the Seahawks were willing to draft Patrick Mahomes in 2017 if he signed them, and that they contacted the Cleveland Browns in 2018 to gauge interest in a potential swap of Wilson for the No. 1 overall pick, which Seattle would use on Josh Allen.
In addition to the #5 picks and 20th overall, the Seahawks have an additional second baseman from Denver and 10 picks in total. Schneider was asked why it made sense to draft a top quarterback even if they re-signed Smith.
“Because they don’t grow on trees,” Schneider said. “It is probably the most difficult situation to acquire a talent, a man in whom everyone feels so confident.”
ESPN’s Jeff Legold and DJ Bien-Aime contributed to this report.
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