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Seattle Seahawks GM addresses QB competition in 2024, plans for Geno Smith and Sam Howell

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith
Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The Seattle Seahawks surprised many around the NFL by swinging a trade with the Washington Commanders for quarterback Sam Howell. Amid lingering uncertainty regarding Howell and Geno Smith’s roles with the team, Seattle has now offered clarity.

Seattle traded the 78th and 152nd overall picks to Washington in exchange for the 102nd and 179th overall picks in the upcoming 2024 NFL Draft. The draft-pick swaps equate to the value of a late third-round pick or early fourth-round selection, a significant price to pay for the 144th overall pick in 2022.

Related: Seattle Seahawks draft picks 2024

Following the trade, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Seattle’s front office has been fans of Howell’s game since he entered the 2022 NFL Draft class. The NFL insider also noted that Howell would be competing with Smith to be the Seahawks starting quarterback in 2024.

Schefter’s reporting came just days after Seahawks’ first-year coach Mike Macdonald refused to publicly commit to Smith as the team’s starting quarterback next season.

Related: 2024 NFL power rankings, see where Seattle Seahawks land

“The first thing that I want everybody to know is that as an organization we’re always looking, we’re always trying to figure out what’s best for the team all the time. . “We’re always going to try and make the best decisions for the team.”

Seattle Seahawks coach Mike Macdonald on quarterback Geno Smith (H/T Michael-Shawn Dugar)

Macdonald’s comments, the trade for Howell and Schefter’s note of a quarterback competition in training camp all fueled speculation that Smith might not be the starter for Seattle next season. Now, Seahawks’ general manager John Schneider has provided a definitive answer.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Schenider said that Smith is their starting quarterback for the 2024 season and Howell “will be backing him up.” Seattle knew several other NFL teams wanted Howell, which influenced the price they had to pay for him.

Geno Smith vs Sam Howell comparison

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Sam Howell
Credit: Brent Skeen-USA TODAY Sports

Howell received his first extended opportunity as a starting quarterback last season for Washington. He got off to a productive start, posting a 91.5 QB rating with a 17-9 TD-INT ratio and a 66.5 percent completion rate in his first 10 games. However, over his last 7 starts, Howell posted a 55.6 QB rating with a 4-12 TD-INT line and completed just 57.7 percent of his attempts before being benched.

  • Sam Howell stats 2023: 78.9 QB rating, 63.4% completion rate, 21-21 TD-INT, 6.4 yards per attempt, 42.7% Success rate, 9.6% Sack rate, 73.7% On-Target rate

While Smith didn’t replicate his outstanding numbers from the 2022 season, including a league-high 69.8 percent completion rate, he was still a highly effective starter last season and earned his second consecutive Pro Bowl selection.

  • Geno Smith stats 2023: 92.1 QB rating, 64.7% completion rate, 20-9 TD-INT, 7.3 yards per attempt, 47.2% Success rate, 5.8% Sack rate, 75.5% Success rate

Considering Howell was outplayed by Jacoby Brissett in the second half of the season in the same Commanders’ offense, it’s highly unlikely he would beat Smith in a quarterback battle. However, Smith likely won’t be on the roster next season and Howell could emerge as the Seahawks’ starting quarterback in 2025 while only playing on a $1.1 million salary.

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