Does Grubb Hire Impact Geno’s Future with Seahawks?

Coming from the college ranks, new Seattle Seahawks coordinator Ryan Grubb could be the perfect hire for developing a rookie quarterback. But at the same time, Geno Smith checks off all the boxes for running his offense at a high level and the pairing could be an exciting one.

As new head coach Mike Macdonald's first coaching staff starts to round into form, the Seattle Seahawks have a significant date approaching on the calendar that will signal where the franchise stands at the quarterback position in the short-term.

Coming off a second straight Pro Bowl season, albeit with statistics that didn't quite match his breakout 2022 numbers that earned him Comeback Player of the Year honors, quarterback Geno Smith has two years remaining on a three-year, $75 million extension signed last March. Next week, his $12.7 million base salary will become fully guaranteed if he's on Seattle's roster on February 16, five days after the waiver period opens following Sunday's Super Bowl.

If the Seahawks decide to move on from Smith, cutting him before Friday's deadline would create $13.8 million in cap space while also incurring a $17.4 million dead cap charge. Trading him before a $9.6 million roster bonus kicks in on March 17 would also have the same financial impact for the organization.

Since Smith's numbers regressed across the board last season, even after a strong finish with 11 touchdowns and only two interceptions in his final seven starts, it may not be a slam dunk that Seattle opts to retain him with his cap hit set to balloon to $31.2 million. With former Washington offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb signing on for the same role on Macdonald's staff, speculation has ramped up that the team could decide to go younger under center.

While Ryan Grubb may have sights on a young quarterback to mold in Seattle, teaming him up with Geno Smith for at least a season or two has a chance to be an excellent match schematically.

But while reuniting Grubb with Michael Penix or drafting another young signal caller for him to develop could be a strong possibility in April, in reality, his arrival should only improve Smith's odds of being the starter in 2024 and potentially beyond due to his strengths being an ideal fit for the offensive scheme.

At Washington, Grubb deployed an explosive, pass-centric pro style spread, orchestrating top-three passing attacks in each of his two seasons as play caller at Montlake. Arguably the best deep ball thrower in college football, per Pro Football Focus, Penix led the nation with 117 pass attempts and 51 completions of 20-plus yards through the air, throwing for over 1,700 yards and 16 touchdowns. His 37 big time throws on those attempts was five more than North Carolina's Drake Maye, giving him a substantial lead in that category.

Since taking over as the starter for Russell Wilson in 2022, Smith has enjoyed similar success throwing the ball downfield. In his first year as a starter, he led the NFL with 14 passing touchdowns and 31 big time throws traveling 20 or more yards through the air, posting a gaudy 120.2 passer rating on such attempts. While he only had five touchdown passes of 20-plus yards last season, he still finished second behind Trevor Lawrence with 26 big time throws and posted a respectable 104.2 passer rating, continuing to excel as a deep ball passer.

Aside from their comparable prowess airing it out, Penix and Smith parallel one another as accurate pocket passers at all three levels with top-notch anticipation skills. In his two years as a starter for the Huskies, Penix completed 65 percent of his passes attempts despite more than 21 percent of his throws being of the 20-plus yard variety. As for Smith, he led the NFL in completion rate (69.8 percent) and NFL Next Gen's completions above expected rate (4.8 percent) in 2022.

Away from their respective passing traits being quite similar, Penix and Smith also offer similar athleticism and mirror one another in their ability to extend plays from the pocket. While neither will be mistaken for Lamar Jackson and they scramble as passers rather than runners, they have enough mobility to create plays with their legs when they need to, as evidenced by Smith's 521 rushing yards over the past two seasons and Penix's seven rushing touchdowns dating back to the start of 2022.

Related: Seahawks Choose Upside Over Experience Hiring Ryan Grubb as Offensive Coordinator

Considering the abundance of similarities between Smith and Penix, it's not difficult to see why some fans would like to see Seattle draft the latter to learn underneath the veteran for a year or two or even start right away as the heir apparent. Whether playing early or learning on the sidelines for a while with Smith keeping the seat warm for him, pairing him back up with Grubb would certainly give him his best chance at success at the next level.

But whether Penix ultimately ends up back in the Pacific Northwest or not, retaining Smith should be a priority either way with his skill set matching well with Grubb's offense. Even with his cap hit nearly tripling compared to last season, he's still only the 12th highest paid quarterback in the NFL, making him a solid value for a quality starter at the position. And if the team wants to create cap space, they have the option to restructure him and manufacture as much as $10.45 million in cap relief.

Equipped with one of the best receiving trios in the NFL featuring DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, and Jaxon Smith-Njigba, the Seahawks already have the supporting cast in place for Grubb to dial up a high-octane passing attack with Smith at the helm similar to the one that elevated Washington to title contender status. If those two mesh well right off the bat, Smith's increased salary for this season will be well worth the investment and the team could make noise while still potentially having a succession plan in place beyond 2024.

NewsNation on Facebook

Follow NewsNation on Twitter

Don't Miss