The Seattle Seahawks’ decision to re-sign Geno Smith will have ramifications throughout the NFL quarterback market in free agency as well as in the draft. This should impact the decision-making process for a number of teams as they approach the position in the offseason.
The Geno Smith Re-Signing Will Force NFL Teams To Pivot in Free Agency and the Trade Market
For teams looking for a quarterback in free agency — primarily the ones who don’t pick at the top of the NFL draft –, they will have to focus their efforts on the few quarterbacks the market will have available. While this is a good deal more than the market typically has, a narrower market means higher prices and a need to secure deals sooner.
Teams picking sooner than the Seahawks and expected to select a quarterback in the draft, like the Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts, will be unaffected. But teams who were expected to have that option in free agency will have to pivot.
The Carolina Panthers hosted Derek Carr after he was cut from the Las Vegas Raiders, signaling their interest in a veteran quarterback. After Carr signed with the Saints, the Panthers are left waiting on the decisions from Baltimore and New York as they decide whether or not to franchise tag Lamar Jackson and Daniel Jones, respectively.
That means they have to decide whether or not someone like Daniel Jones or Jacoby Brissett is worth taking on or even whether or not they should re-sign Sam Darnold after he finished the season relatively strong.
That should boost the price of those quarterbacks who were initially looking at a market that might have suppressed their dollar value as the supply of quarterbacks was so unusually high that starting-quality passers might not have received the deals they typically expect to see.
This also impacts another team that hosted Carr, the New York Jets. The Jets are confident that they’re poised for a run in a crowded AFC because of the strength of their roster and need to have a high-quality quarterback to make good on that roster. The Jets are a rumored trade destination for Aaron Rodgers, and they could decide — upon hearing this news — to pull the trigger and trade for the Green Bay passer.
Other teams that could have been in the veteran quarterback market include the Washington Commanders, Atlanta Falcons, and potentially the Giants and Ravens.
This could motivate those last two teams to get a deal done with their current quarterbacks, as it will be marginally harder to find one on the market or be the kick in the pants they need to finally apply the franchise tag to either of the two players.
Geno Smith May Not Change Seattle’s Draft Plans
While the Smith signing may have changed the free agency market for those out of position to draft a quarterback, it doesn’t relieve much pressure on those who want to draft a signal-caller. The Seahawks know that Smith is on the back end of his career, and as nice as his story is, it would be wise to invest in a developmental passer to have an answer at the position long-term.
Most mock drafts do not have the Seahawks drafting a quarterback and will be particularly reticent to do so now. But they have a long-term need at the position regardless of Smith’s deal and won’t always be in this position in future drafts.
If they decide that they’re enticed by Will Levis or Anthony Richardson, that means one fewer quarterback in the draft that a team like the Panthers, Falcons, Raiders, or Commanders can invest in. That could mean Arizona’s third overall pick is still quite valuable to quarterback-needy teams as they attempt to jump Seattle and Indianapolis for one of the passers available in the draft.
Smith Makes All Costs Go Up
Not only does Smith help QBs further down the list in free agency earn a bit more money as they parlay their skills to a bevy of teams looking for a starter or bridge quarterback, but it also did little to relieve the draft pressure teams will feel for younger passers.
Functionally, the Seahawks removed a quarterback from the free agency market without removing a quarterback from the draft market, meaning the practical supply/demand equation has been squeezed more than a typical signing would.
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The draft price of high picks will remain high, but the free agency price of quarterbacks will go up. Teams like the Panthers and Raiders need to pay particular attention to this problem and approach this proactively.
Teams like the Giants and Ravens need to take a long look at their priorities and possibilities with the quarterbacks they have under contract, while the Jets … will still probably try to trade for Aaron Rodgers.