Report: Hawks willing to pay (or tag) Geno

The Seahawks reportedly are willing to pay Geno Smith $32 million a year – the projected value of the franchise tag.

According to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport, Smith will be back – whether it’s on a new contract or the tag.

After the Seahawks beat the Rams 19-16 in overtime in Week 18 to set up a playoff spot (with a later win by Detroit over Green Bay), Smith and Pete Carroll both were asked about the quarterback’s future.

Smith said, “I’m focused on football right now, but the thing is that it’s a business. Football is a business. A lot of people have a lot of decisions to make. That’s where I’ll leave it at. I feel great about where I stand with this organization and my teammates and everybody else, but it’s always a business first. So I look at it like that. I understand that, and I have to handle my business as well.”

Carroll praised Smith but also hinted that OC Shane Waldron had a lot to do with it and another QB might fare just as well.

“Well, we have work to do, but our system is really good,” Carroll said. “What we’re asking these guys to do, for him to come in as a first-year starter, to execute like he has done all year long with (NFL-high) 69.8 completion percentage for the season and all the touchdowns and all the plays he has made, I think our quarterback position is great. But he is going to be a free agent, so we have work to do.

“We never got a chance to see Drew (Lock), but I’ve seen a lot of him, and I like what he does, too. I think our quarterback situation, if we can get (Smith) signed, is a great situation going forward. We know what we’ve got.”

We previously broke down Smith’s season and the NFL quarterback situation for this coming offseason.

One of the glaring holes in Smith’s resume was his lack of clutch drives to win games (he had two, both against the Rams). If Smith can pull off the upset against the 49ers and even take Seattle further, $32 million might suddenly seem like a bargain for 2024.

If the Hawks have to settle for the tag, they might consider using their top pick on a QB. If, however, they get a deal done with Smith for three or maybe four years, they might focus on defense in the draft.

The game against the Rams showed again how much the Hawks need to upgrade their inside O-line. And all season they had trouble stopping the run (the 49ers averaged 180 yards in their two wins while the Hawks averaged just 53), so we all know they need to improve their front seven.

Their decision on Smith will play a major role in deciding the direction of their offseason — whenever it begins.

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