RENTON, Wash. (AP) — The Seattle Seahawks agreed to terms with quarterback Geno Smith on a three-year contract Monday that keeps the AP comeback player of the year in the Pacific Northwest.
The deal will keep Smith as the presumptive starter with the Seahawks and gives him the first big payday of his career. NFL Network and The Score reported the deal could be worth up to $105 million.
The agreement came a day before the league’s deadline for using the franchise tag. Smith would have been an unrestricted free agent when the new league year begins next week.
Smith was one of the feel-good stories in the league, getting an opportunity to start after nearly a decade as a backup and reshaping the trajectory of his career. Smith led the Seahawks to a 9-8 record and a playoff berth as the last wild card in the NFC.
He threw for 4,282 yards, a career high and a franchise record. He threw 30 touchdown passes and just 11 interceptions, completed 399 passes and led the NFL in completion percentage at 69.8%.
Smith was named to the Pro Bowl and even picked up an MVP vote.
Smith struggled at times during the second half of the year as Seattle slid from its early perch atop of the NFC West. But his season was still good enough to answer one of Seattle’s biggest questions for the next couple of years.
Smith and Seattle’s leaders made it clear after the season ended with a 41-23 loss to San Francisco in the opening round of the playoffs they all wanted the relationship to continue.
“We have our guy, we need to, hopefully, work things out so he is with us. There is business to be done there of course, but there is no lid on what we can do. The sky is the limit,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said after the season. “That along with returning him with his leadership factor that he had, he’s a big deal to us. I just couldn’t be more tickled by the way the whole thing turned out and how he handled it. Really, as we look to the future, he is a big part of why we are looking to the future so promisingly.”
Last season was the first time Smith had been a full-time starter since 2014 with the New York Jets. He was benched after struggling in New York and later found work as a backup with the Giants and Chargers before coming to Seattle to serve as the backup to Russell Wilson.
After Wilson was traded to Denver last offseason, Smith beat out Drew Lock for the starting job and seized the opportunity.
Seattle has two first-round selections in next month’s draft, including the No. 5 overall pick. While a developmental quarterback for the future could be on the agenda, it becomes less of a need for Seattle now that Smith’s immediate future is settled.
“I want to finish my career in Seattle. I want to. I want to be here,” Smith said after the playoff loss. “The town, the city, the team, coach Carroll, the organization, they all embraced me. I was a guy who probably could have been out of the league. They embraced me and I want to repay them for that.”