If Not Geno Smith For The Seahawks, Then Who?

Is it finally going to be “Locked and Loaded Time” in Seattle?

Another day, another ditty about the pending Seattle Seahawk quarterback situation. Well, why not, right?

Right now, the Seahawks have no quarterback on their roster, and while most signs point to Geno Smith probably signing back with the club, until that happens (or doesn’t), fans, writers, and radio show hosts are going to speculate and debate what the team will, or should do. Like it, or not, this is the top issue on most of the minds of those who follow this team.

While I have firmly been on Team Geno’s Coming Back Y’all, I’m willing to explore the possibility that he isn’t. After all, recent news has added a shade of doubt in the minds of some, so let’s explore that.

One of the bits of news that has added fuel to speculation is that Dave Canales, Seattle’s long time offensive assistant and quarterback coach, got swept away from the PNW to coach the offense of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers; a team in the Sunshine State to which Geno Smith is from. Doesn’t it seem logical that Geno should want to follow?

Sure! The Bucs have some nice offensive weapons, a pretty good defense, and they are in need of a starting quarterback due to Tom Brady finally hanging it up. It would make perfect sense for Geno to be, at the very least, intrigued.

Here’s the thing, though, the Buccaneers are in ninth ring of salary cap hell because of that massive Tom Brady contract being still on their books. They are going to have to cut players and rework a bunch of salaries just to get out of the negative $50 million hole they are currently boiling in.

Simply put, they cannot afford Geno Smith, and there is now word that they want to eat the costs of Brady’s contract this year in order to have money to spend in 2024. In other words, the Bucs are sailing towards a rebuild.

I believe Canales was hired most likely to try to get the most out of former second round pick Kyle Trask. They are probably hoping that Anthony Richardson somehow falls to their pick at 19, or maybe they got Stanford QB Tanner McKee in their designs later in the draft.

I’ve seen it suggested that maybe Tampa would be willing to part with Vita Vea and a high draft pick for Geno Smith, and that would be a way they could afford Geno’s salary. This is certainly a fun thought for Seahawk fans, but I just don’t see it happening.. at all.

Vea is a rare defensive tackle with the size of two adult humans along with the athleticism to be a true disruptive pass rusher. There is not many beings on this planet outside of a yeti capable of doing what he can do, and he’s young. Why would Tampa part ways with that for a 32 year old quarterback who has had only one really good season of NFL football in his career?

I don’t even see a straight across player for player trade happening here, and I love me some Geno Smith. You don’t successfully construct a rebuild by trading away your best young players for older players. If Tampa is willing to offer Vea straight across for Geno, well then sign me up for that, but it’s not happening. No way. No how. Sorry.

So, I would say that, if any veteran quarterback is heading to Tampa Bay, it’s likely to be Drew Lock, who won’t be expensive, and also has a connection with Canales. They could bring him in, create an open competition between him and Trask, and also see whatever the draft brings. If I were to lay a bet, I would drop cheddar on this being their most likely move.

The other bit of news, of course, is that the Seahawks just replaced Canales with long time NFL QB coach and offensive coordinator Greg Olson, who helped develop Drew Brees, and has also gotten the best out of Jared Goff and Derek Carr in more recent years. It took all about a few moments on Seahawks Twitter after the news broke for folks to speculate what the addition of Olson means.

Are they going to bring in Derek Carr? Draft Will Levis? Just stick with Geno? Ride with Lock? Make a trade?

Hmmmmm.. I think they just stick with Geno, but for the purpose of this piece, let’s suppose that I am waaaaaaay over-reading the love fest between Geno and the team. Let’s say that they appreciate each other, and want to continue down this NFL road together, but they have reached an impasse, and he finds a deal elsewhere greater than Seattle’s offer.

Well, what would Seattle then do? Do they bring back Drew Lock, or draft someone, or add a different veteran to the mix?

Maybe they do do all three, or two of the three. Maybe they shock us and make a splash trade for a big time vet. We will, in earnest, look at all of these, and try to figure out what feels probable if Geno bails.

Let’s shoot for the moon first and work our way back to reason.

Seahawks go big and trade for Lamar Jackson

This is the really, really big exciting scenario, right? Right?????

I mean, come on. Imagine Lamar Jackson doing his Lamar Jackson stuff with DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, Noah Fant, and K9 all together on this offense.

His contract will prove insanely expensive, and Seattle will have to fork over serious draft capital given his young age and upside. Maybe they tag Geno and ship him to Baltimore in the package to lessen the amount for high draft picks, but right now, envisioning a healthy Lamar in this offense in Seattle is about as tantalizing a thought as it gets in Seahawk football.

The main problem is his health, though, and the style of his play that invites injuries. If Seattle were to make this bold investment in this guy, and tailer their offense around him, they would probably need to develop someone behind him who would offer some similar skillset because this dude is likely going to miss games as a starter, especially if he’s going to do his Lamar things against that 49er defense.

They would also have to surrender the idea of building this defense up with top end talent on the defensive line with the draft picks they would be giving up in order to acquire him. In short, say goodbye to the idea of drafting Jalen Carter, Will Anderson, or Tyree Wilson fifth overall, and because of his massive contract, they aren’t likely to be heavy shoppers in free agency, either.

So what’s my verdict on this scenario?

I don’t think there’s a snowball’s chance on a Haitian nudie beach that Seattle trades for Lamar Jackson. He’s going to expect a fully guaranteed contract, and he gets injured.. too much.

I think the only reason why Seattle would entertain this is if owner Jody Allen is pushing for it to make this team more attractive in an eventual sale. However, for all we know, she intends to hang onto this club for another decade (or more) to maximize the price tag in any sale. That could very easily be her aim.

Nope, sorry. As fun as it would be to see Lamar in Seattle, I do not see this happening. I’m happy to eat a bug if I’m wrong.

But in chase you’re not totally convinced that they won’t pull off a trade for another top end quarterback in place of Geno Smith, let’s explore another scenario.

Seahawks trade for Aaron Rodgers

If this goes down, expect half of the Seahawk fan base to vomit in their mouths. While Rodgers is a folk hero to the anti vaxxer crowd, he’s as smug of an egotistical athlete as there is in sports.

He’s the dude who thinks he’s smarter than everyone else in the room, and has no problem with throwing teammates under the bus after a loss. You think Pete Carroll wants that in Seattle with his locker room full of merry men?

Rodgers would cost less in draft capital than Lamar Jackson would, and that’s the big plus. Perhaps, again, Seattle could franchise Geno Smith and package him to Green Bay, and they could hang onto the fifth overall pick.

Admittedly, he would also be a pretty damn good fit for their system, and John Schneider was the guy in Green Bay who reportedly was chiefly behind drafting him. Hate this idea if you will, but there are some compelling reasons why Seattle could try to do this, if the cost is right.

So, what’s my verdict?

There’s not a nudist’s chance in Nome, Alaska that the Seattle Seahawks trade for Aaron Rodgers. After dealing with the challenges of Russell Wilson and his agent, do you really think Pete Carroll wants to then deal with the most moody, high maintenance quarterback in the league? No f’ing way.

Rodgers is not a culture fit for this team, he’s old, and he’s expensive. Not going to happen. Let him go be a Raider.

But I got an idea about another vet Seattle might be willing to trade for.

How about the Seattle Seahawks trading for Justin Fields?


If the rumors are true that the Chicago Bears are willing to trade him away because they are more sold on another quarterback, first overall, this gets way more interesting for Seattle than Lamar Jackson or Rodgers, in my view. It feels more possible, anyways.

Fields has undeniable flash on the field as a duo threat quarterback. Right now, I would say he’s more of a runner than thrower, but the same thing was kinda said last year at this time about Jalen Hurts. Interestingly enough, in college, Fields was thought to be more of a thrower than runner. With Greg Olson as the new QB coach, could Seattle unleash his full potential as a thrower?

I don’t know what to make of Fields. I’m also not totally sold he’s as a guy who will blossom into any big time QB, and it’s not just because he’s a former Ohio State dude. Let’s think about this.

If Chicago is willing to deal him, and not take possibly a generational defensive tackle in Jalen Carter, with a defensive minded head coach at the helm, what does that say about Justin Fields as a developing player? Excuse me if I sense a red flag here.

Maybe they believe Bryce Young will be the next Patrick Mahomes, and has traits at the most important position in sports that are too rare to pass up on. This is certainly possible, or maybe after two seasons with Fields, they just sense a ceiling that isn’t likely going to be very high in this league, and they want to correct a mistake made by the previous regime.

That said, maybe with the addition of Greg Olson on their coaching staff, Seattle would be intrigued to take a shot with Fields. After all, their system is supposedly pretty quarterback friendly, and maybe Olson is able to get the most out of him like he had done with Derek Carr and Jared Goff.

Fields would have three years left on a rookie contract (if Seattle were to pick up the fifth year option), and therefore, he would be significantly cheaper than Geno Smith. Essentially, Seattle would have a three year window with him to see if he can be their long term franchise quarterback, and he would come here with some pretty nice offensively weapons around him.

I do not see Seattle willing to deal the fifth overall pick for him, that’s not happening, but the twentieth pick becomes possible. Here’s the thing, though, Washington picks at 16h, the Jets pick at 13, the Titans pick at 11, and Tampa picks at 19. All of these quarterback needy-ish teams could make a better play for Fields than Seattle, if Seattle isn’t willing to surrender pick number 5.

How likely to I think this could possibly happen?

It’s a maybe, but not super duper likely.

So, if no big splashy trade for a veteran quarterback, how about free agency?

This is potentially a more interesting question, and I think there’s going to be a few out there worth exploring. Let’s start with the biggest name first.

Seahawks sign Derek Carr to the multi year deal offered to Geno Smith

Say what you will about Derek Carr, but I kinda like him.. at the right price.

I think he’s a decent starting quarterback who was a dedicated player for a crap organization, and who had to cycle through six different offensive coordinators for nearly a decade. Who knows how he might have blossomed in a more stable situation.

I think he could be a really good scheme fit for Seattle, and a solid culture fit. He’s tall, athletic enough, and he can make every NFL throw with decent enough accuracy. I think he’s a genuinely a really good dude, and I don’t think it would take long for players to embrace him here in Seattle.

Call me crazy, but I see him as a perfect guy for Pete Carroll to put his arms around him, and love him up after being dejected in Vegas. I think it’s likely Carroll could get the most out of him here for a while. I think it’s also very interesting that he had two of his best seasons being coached under Greg Olson.

So what are my feelings on the likelihood of this happening?

It’s an interesting idea. If he is willing to take what Seattle was going to offer Geno Smith, I wouldn’t be upset, to be honest.

In my mind, though, I think Carr’s likely going to have a hot market. I can see most of the NFC South being interested. I could also see Washington being interested, and we already know that the Jets are into him. If Seattle is intrigued, they would have to probably compete with these teams now.

Would Seattle be willing to entertain bring him in while they are negotiating with Geno? Supremely doubtful, in my opinion.

I think Derek Carr only becomes an option if he is still on the market when free agency begins, and Seattle has elected not to use the franchise tag on Geno Smith. I seriously doubt Carr would still be available on the market by then.

But wait a second, how about Jimmy Garoppolo in Seattle?

Well, well, well. An old friend is back. Here we go on the Jimmy G to Seattle train again.

This was a big rumor during training camp last year, right?

There were reports that Seattle had done due diligence on Pretty Boy, and felt like he would be a fit, but then Pretty Boy decided to take a significant pay cut to stay in Santa Clara. My guess is that he probably because he knew Trey Lance would struggle and he would get his starter job back and be able to reset his 2023 market.

I will make this one short. I don’t think Seattle will have interest in Garoppolo this time around. Maybe they did last August when they weren’t totally sure how Geno or Drew Lock were going to sustain the 2022 season, but not likely anymore.

For one, this dude can’t stay healthy enough. However, I think the bigger reason is that frankly, Geno Smith is a superior quarterback with better arm talent and mobility, and he’s proven significantly more durable in his time as a starter.

If anything, what the 49er season proved last year is that their system is so damn good and they got so much talent, that almost any capable quarterback who knows how to run it can have success. Sam Darnold could end up there next year if Brock Purdy isn’t good to go, replace a struggling again Trey Lance, and find himself success.

So what about Sam Darnold in Seattle, then?

Well, this is kind of an interesting one to me, to be honest. I can kinda see Seattle being interested if he’s out on the market, and things have broken apart with Geno and the team.

This is just a hunch, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Seattle has always taken at least a bit of a fancy to him. He seems like a Pete Carroll type of quarterback from the old USC days, and there’s an obvious USC connection between the two.

I also think that in this Shane Waldron offense, Darnold has traits that could make him an interesting fit, and like Derek Carr, I think he’s genuinely a good dude who Carroll would probably love to coach up, if he had to do it.

For me, I think the main issue with Sam Darnold isn’t lack of talent, but lack of an ability to stay healthy. Every year, this guy gets injured. I think this has been the biggest hampering factor to his overall development.

At best, I think he’s a guy you bring in along with Drew Lock, and you have both of them compete for the starter spot like Drew and Geno did last year. This is not a super appetizing prospect, but truthfully neither was letting Drew and Geno battle is out last year, and look what happened.

This is a scenario that wouldn’t surprise me at all to see Seattle do if they allow Geno Smith to walk away, frankly. It just feels very.. Seahawky.

But what about Drew Lock who they supposedly were impressed with all season in practices? Can’t he just be the guy moving forward?

Yeah, there’s that. Sure, he could be the guy.

John Schneider apparently dug him coming out of the 2019 draft class. He’s big, athletic, and has the arm talent capable of making pretty NFL passes. Physically, he’s got everything you are looking for in today’s NFL quarterback.

Mentally, though, I think there’s still a lot of questions. He came out of college in an offensive system that was bad at developing quarterbacks for the NFL. In the third preseason game against Dallas, he looked truly awful (although, he was coming off covid), but maybe, as the season went on, he genuinely was showing signs though practices of picking up the Waldron offense, and was impressing.

I’m skeptical about how much, though. Let’s think this through for a moment.

If he was really impressing his coaches like Carroll suggested in the press, that he’s going to do big things in this league when he gets his chance to start again, then why have they been so outwardly determined to say they want Geno back?

I will call this bluff. I think if they truly believed that Drew Lock is ready to take off as a starter, Pete Carroll wouldn’t have been so eager to talk up Geno after the playoff loss to San Francisco. He would have been much more measured. Carroll used that presser to campaign for Geno’s return, you could feel that.

I think the most likely situation between Drew Lock and Seattle is that they like his upside, and they are hoping that he will come back and develop further behind Geno Smith. I think talking up Drew was more likely their recruitment tool for him to return as a developmental player, and that’s how I think they view him.

So, no, I do not think it’s Seattle’s Plan B to just bring back Lock and think they are in good shape if Geno departs. I think Plan B is mostly like Lock and someone else.

Right now, I’m calling this scenario of Drew Lock poised to become Seattle’s new QB1 a definite “yeah, I dunno.. maaaaaaybe.”

So how about this draft then? Why wouldn’t they just draft their next franchise quarterback at fifth overall when they will be in position to do so?

They could do this, certainly. Maybe they really like Will Levis a lot, and just want to see him workout to confirm their belief in his potential.

He’s a big, athletic dude with a strong arm, and he’s played in a system at Kentucky that is similar to Seattle’s. They could see him as the most natural fit out of any quarterback in this class.

Levis also had to gut through a tough SEC conference playing on a team with significantly less talent than others in the that conference, and he completed over sixty percent of his passes last year going against those defenses. It’s possible Seattle sees him as being battle tested enough, along with his natural fit.

Or maybe they really love Anthony Richardson, or it’s CJ Stroud, if he falls (doubtful he does). Yes, this is certainly all very possible, and they just want to see how these guys perform at the NFL scouting combine next week.

Here’s kinda what I think. Regardless of what Seattle does with Geno, they have to look long and hard at these quarterbacks. They also have to look long, and hard at any pass rushers who would be available at five.

They have to study all of these guys, and if they determine that a guy like Levis or Richardson would be a better player than Jalen Carter, or Will Anderson, or Tyree Wilson, then they have to take that guy. They have to do it even if Geno Smith is back.

My question is this. How likely they see these quarterbacks this way?

This isn’t a question meant to dismiss them as QB prospects. There’s processing and accuracy concerns with Levis that sound a lot like what Drew Lock’s issues have been in this league, and there’s accuracy and lack of experience concerns with Richardson. You can look at their big upsides, but you also have to weigh what their floors might be, and on the surface their floors look dicey, to put it mildly, and perhaps too dicey for fifth overall.

If they take one of those guys at five over a premier defensive lineman, and they bust out of the league, while Geno Smith plays pretty good ball elsewhere.. woof. That’s not going to be good for this franchise at all, on any level, if they are hoping to compete for a title in a few short seasons. It will set their designs backwards.

But maybe they feel that with the addition of Greg Olson on the staff coaching quarterbacks, they can feel more secure taking one of these dudes and rolling with him early. That could be a thing.

However, I do think the final thing you also need to ask is how much does a 72 year old defensive minded coach wants to use that fifth overall pick on a quarterback instead of taking a defensive lineman he’s probably pretty excited about? That’s probably the biggest question to ask.

I’m hugely skeptical about this idea. If it was a different coach, either an offensive minded coach, or just a younger one, maybe I would feel differently.

With Carroll, he would have to be convinced that he could win right away by taking rookie QB fifth overall. That’s a big ask, in my view.

At his age, I don’t know how much he is willing to run through the growing pains of a raw rookie passer even if he thinks Olson might be the right QB coach to bring him along. Carroll is only signed through 2025, and therefore, I think there’s a natural push to get this thing going right away for serious contention.

I would say though, if Seattle does love one of these quarterbacks and takes the plunge with him at pick five, that would be pretty damn exciting. There is perhaps nothing more thrilling in professional sports than getting blessed with a young quarterback on a rookie deal, and if Seattle were to take Stroud, or Levis, or Richardson at five, it wouldn’t take long for me to get the excitement juices flowing, even if they brought back Geno Smith.

I’m just skeptical that this is what is going to go down. If anything, I’m more willing to wager that Seattle will walk back Geno either on a multi year deal or the franchise tag, and they will hope that a quarterback needy team like maybe Vegas, or Carolina, or Atlanta comes calling for the fifth overall pick with an offer that they can’t refuse.

Seattle has many areas to improve on this roster whoever the QB is. There’s defensive line, linebacker, guard, and center. Those are probably the big four, but then there’s also third receiver, running back behind K9, and maybe corner opposite of Tariq Woolen. That’s seven potential spots of need on this team to compete in a tough NFC West next year. So, yeah, I can see a trade back (or two) being a very real thing for this club, especially if Jalen Carter and Will Anderson are snatched away before pick five.

So what do I think is the most likely scenario that happens if Seattle doesn’t sign Geno Smith, you ask?

If that occurs, I think the prospect of bringing back Drew Lock becomes the most likely thing. I think they probably add another vet to the mix, but it won’t likely be anyone of great significance. Maybe it’s Sam Darnold and Drew Lock battling it out next August and Lock is given the leg up because of his familiarity with the offense like Geno was last year.

I think, if this happens, it increases the likelihood that Seattle really likes someone in this coming draft, and maybe they are willing to take them with that first pick. The thing of it is, though, if that’s the case, Seattle would have to be careful not to telegraph it too much, and that could be a challenge.

At fifth overall, with only four quarterback thought to have the talent to be worthy of top ten selections, Seattle runs a risk of a team jumping in front of them if Drew Lock and say, Andy Dalton are their only rostered quarterbacks. If they have spent big money in free agency to bolster their offensive and defensive lines, it would also be a pretty big telegraph what their intentions are at five.

While it sounds crazy that a run of quarterbacks happens in the top four, it is not completely out of the realm of possibility. All it would take for that to potentially happen is if Arizona sees two quarterbacks go in front of them, and then for them to sense that Seattle has designs on one or both of the other ones, and they maybe drop back to the Vegas pick. Then maybe Carolina has an urge to jump right in front of Seattle at four.

This is why you don’t ever want to go into any draft being quarterback needy, if you do not have to do it. Ideally, you would want to feel like taking a quarterback high is a luxury pick, kinda like when Green Bay took Rodgers when they still had Brett Farve in his prime.. and John Schneider was in that front office.

This perhaps not only circles back to a need to sign Geno, but it strengthens it. If they love Anthony Richardson and they don’t want anyone sniffing that scent, having Geno Smith on a four year contract is probably strong camouflage. Having Derek Carr probably would be, as well.

Anything less in this free agent market would probably be more of a tell. Injury prone Jimmy G, injury prone Sam Darnold, or Jacoby Brissett, or Baker Mayfield aren’t likely to convince GMs that Seattle isn’t thinking quarterback at some point.

Honestly, though, for every avenue I see Seattle going as an alternative to bringing back Geno Smith, I see a stronger argument for them to bring back Geno Smith, even if they just franchise tag him for 2023 (which I think is likely if they don’t reach a contract with him in the next couple weeks). So, yeah, I think they will probably just bring back Geno Smith, and maybe, just maybe they draft a quarterback either this year, or next year (cough, cough Michael Penix Junior) and they develop that dude behind him.

This is the natural conclusion that I come back towards given all these variables around this team from the head coach, to Geno as a system and culture fit, and where this team is at. Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think I am.

And if I am wrong, I am happy to eat a bug.

And yes, if they draft Anthony Richardson, I will probably get pretty damn excited.. because that’s what happens when your team drafts a quarterback high. Everyone starts daydreaming about what can happen for the club next.

If that happens, however, let’s hop Richardson blossoms into something closer to Josh Allen than Jamarcus Russell.. because drafting a quarterback in round one is a genuine crapshoot every single damn year, and that is just another reason to bring Geno back, and make the dude happy.

Go Hawks!


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