Entering a new era under Mike Macdonald, the Seattle Seahawks will have to make a huge decision very soon, and one at the game's most important position at that.
The Seahawks have less than a week to truly make a decision at quarterback, as Geno Smith's 2024 salary of $12.7 million ($22.5 million of yearly cash) becomes fully-guaranteed on Friday. There's a debate on whether Seattle should keep Smith or move on, and both sides make legitimate points.
On one hand, Smith has played well as the Seahawks' starter over the past two seasons, earning Pro Bowl honors both times and winning Comeback Player of the Year in 2022. On the other hand, he is 33 and while he is an average or even above-average quarterback, he's not among the league's best. Not to mention that new offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb will want to put his own stamp on the offense.
Before the looming deadline, Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner weighed the pros and cons of keeping Smith. Warner gave Smith credit for his performance over the past two seasons, and said that many teams would envy the Seahawks' position.
“I definitely think he’s a $22 million quarterback,” Warner said Friday on Seattle Sports' Brock and Salk. “In this day and age of of quarterbacks that are making $40-50 million dollars, $22 million is a bargain, and it’s a bargain for a starting quarterback. And I definitely believe what Geno’s done the last two years has solidified himself as a starting quarterback in this league.”
However, Warner quickly followed his praise with some skepticism.
The Hall of Fame quarterback and NFL Network analyst stood by his belief that Smith is a starting-caliber quarterback, and acknowledged that he has done tremendous work in improving the locker-room culture. While he believes that to be true, he's less sure that Smith can lead them to a championship. Warner likened the Seahawks' quarterback situation to that of the Andy Dalton-era Cincinnati Bengals and the current Dallas Cowboys with Dak Prescott.
“But, you know, these questions just continue to come up with different teams. You’re looking for ‘that’ guy,” Warner continued. “You’re looking for the dude because that’s what puts you over the top. You’ve gotta have either a great team, as we talked about with Russell Wilson, or you’ve got to have that guy, and there’s only so many of those guys...
“So I think Seattle is kind of in that same mode [as the Bengals and Cowboys]. We got a guy, a guy that we can win with, a guy that you can take us to the playoffs, but is he ‘that’ guy?”
Moving on from Smith is a big gamble, as he's much better than many other options out there. If the Seahawks want a fresh start and a quarterback with a higher ceiling, then that may be a risk they have to take.