Why Geno Smith gives Seahawks best QB situation in NFC West
A year ago, the Seattle Seahawks didn’t know who their starting quarterback would be after trading the best signal-caller in franchise history to the Denver Broncos in Russell Wilson.
But fast-forward a year later, and the Seahawks surprisingly have the most stable quarterback situation in the NFC West.
Seattle has the only quarterback to play every game last season returning in veteran Geno Smith, the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year in 2022. While Brock Purdy sizzled at the end of the 2022 campaign and Matthew Stafford has a Super Bowl ring to his credit, Smith is the only quarterback from the division to make the Pro Bowl last season and is the healthiest returning starting QB in the division.
Smith set a franchise record in passing yards (4,282) in his first full year of starting since 2014, and the 32-year-old is ready to show that 2022 was no fluke.
“I’ve just been super motivated,” said Smith. “I’m very internally motivated right now. I really have got some things that obviously I want to do for this team and for this city. And so I’m just working extremely hard, probably harder than I’ve ever been.”
This September offers an opportunity for Smith to back up his claim. The following is our ranking of the quarterback situation for each NFC West team.
Seattle rewarded Smith with a three-year, $75 million contract, providing some stability at the position moving forward.
The Seahawks closely evaluated the quarterbacks in the draft but once again passed on taking a player at the most important position on the field. The Seahawks have selected just two quarterbacks in the draft during general manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll’s tenure.
Trey Lance, the heir apparent to Jimmy Garoppolo last season, is finally healthy again and taking reps with the starters in offseason work. The 49ers also signed former No. 3 overall pick Sam Darnold to compete with Lance. San Francisco brought in another camp arm in four-year veteran Brandon Allen, giving head coach Kyle Shanahan several options after finishing the NFC Championship Game without a healthy quarterback.
Shanahan said the starting job is Purdy’s once he is healthy. But coming back from elbow surgery is tricky, and there’s no guarantee that Mr. Irrelevant will sling it like he did before the injury.
That’s concerning for a roster built to win a Super Bowl.
NFC West Rank: Second
Rams coach Sean McVay has the most talented and widely acclaimed quarterback in the division on his roster in Matthew Stafford. The problem is the Texas native is 35 and could not finish 2022 because of a bruised spinal cord.
Stafford was limited last offseason because of elbow tendinitis in his throwing arm. However, he has proclaimed himself healthy and is fully participating in offseason work this year. The Rams need Stafford to return to his gunslinger ways, as they will rely on young, ascending players at several positions on offense and defense.
The Rams drafted fellow Georgia product Stetson Bennett in the fourth round and signed veteran signal-caller Brett Rypien. But really, the Rams don’t appear to have a solid answer if Stafford gets injured again during the regular season.
NFC West Rank: Third
The outright release of Pro Bowl receiver DeAndre Hopkins last week is the latest example that Cardinals GM Monti Ossenfort is resetting financially and appears willing to kick the can on fielding a competitive team to 2024.
[Patriots, Chiefs, Bills among teams that could sign DeAndre Hopkins after his release]
Franchise quarterback Kyler Murray is expected to be unavailable for the first part of the regular season as he recovers from January surgery to fix a torn ACL in his right knee.
Veteran Colt McCoy is slated to start in place of Murray, but he had problems staying healthy last season as well. Journeymen David Blough and Jeff Driskel could compete for playing time, and the Cardinals drafted Houston‘s Clayton Tune in the fifth round of this year’s draft as a developmental prospect.
But if Murray does not return to playing at a Pro Bowl level at some point in the upcoming season, the Cardinals could be in the Caleb Williams‘ sweepstakes for the top pick in the 2024 draft.
NFC West Rank: Last
Eric D. Williams has reported on the NFL for more than a decade, covering the Los Angeles Rams for Sports Illustrated, the Los Angeles Chargers for ESPN and the Seattle Seahawks for the Tacoma News Tribune. Follow him on Twitter at @eric_d_williams.