Seahawks QB Geno Smith agrees to 3-year, $105 million extension instead of hitting free agency

Geno Smith wrote back this time.

The Seattle Seahawks quarterback agreed to a three-year, $105 million contract extension after a season that saw him win NFL Comeback Player of the Year, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. The team officially announced the signing Thursday.

The deal came one day before the Tuesday deadline for teams to make a decision on the franchise tag. Without an extension or the tag, the 32-year-old Smith would have been set to hit unrestricted free agency and leave the Seahawks where they were last year, looking for a replacement quarterback after the departure of a Pro Bowler.

Instead, the team will move ahead with Smith under center at the price of $35 million per season. Before this contract, Smith made a total of $17.5 million in his nine-year NFL career, per Over The Cap.

Jan 1, 2023; Seattle, Washington, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith (7) celebrates with fans following a 23-6 victory against the New York Jets at Lumen Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Geno Smith made the Seahawks forget about Russell Wilson last season. (Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports)

How Geno Smith went from backup to 9-figure QB

Whatever the Seahawks say now, their plan probably wasn't to compete for the playoffs with Smith starting at quarterback last season.

The team appeared to trigger a full rebuild when it traded longtime starting quarterback Russell Wilson and a fourth-round draft pick to the Denver Broncos for two first-rounders, two second-rounders, a fifth-rounder and three players last offseason, after a mediocre 7-10 record in 2021.

Smith stepped in after three seasons as the backup in Seattle. He had been solid in relief duty the previous year, posting 7.4 yards per attempt with five touchdowns and one interception, but expectations were low to a chasmic degree given Smith's past. A former 39th overall pick for the New York Jets, Smith finished his Jets career with 36 interceptions against 28 passing touchdowns and a record of 12-18 as a starting quarterback.

Smith had been one of the country's most prolific passers during his collegiate career at West Virginia, but he was seen as a backup at best after filling the role for the Seahawks, Los Angeles Chargers and New York Giants across four years.

Then Smith stepped up and made the Seahawks look like geniuses. While Wilson struggled in Denver, Smith led the NFL in completion percentage at 69.8%, along with 4,282 passing yards (7.5 yards per attempt), 30 touchdowns, 11 interceptions and 366 rushing yards.

The narrative was there as early as Week 1, when the Seahawks beat the Broncos and Smith dropped the since-trademarked line of "They wrote me off, I ain't write back though."

Smith led the Seahawks to a 9-8 record and a spot in the NFL playoffs, where they lost to the San Francisco 49ers in the wild-card round. Even though the season ended in disappointment, the Seahawks clearly liked what they saw in Smith, who finished ninth in MVP voting along with his Comeback Player of the Year award and Pro Bowl nod.

Of course, it's not often you see a rebuilding team commit this level of resources to a 32-year-old quarterback after one good season, but Smith has obviously overcome longer odds just by getting to this point.