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Analyzing the Seattle Seahawks’ QB situation post Russell Wilson era

The Russell Wilson era is over with the Seattle Seahawks.

After the quarterback departed to the Denver Broncos back in March via a blockbuster trade, the team was left with quite the question to answer at quarterback — one that still remains ahead of the 2022 season. The decision looks to come down to Drew Lock, who was acquired in the trade with the Broncos and Geno Smith, who has re-signed to play a fourth season in Seattle.

So, are either of these players a reliable solution as quarterback for the Seahawks and in which direction could the team go? There are a handful of possibilities in terms of how this could shake out.

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Geno Smith is “automatically” ahead in Seattle Seahawks QB competition

seattle seahawks qb geno smith
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

At the very least, Smith has established himself as a reliable backup over the course of his career and has naturally built up a relationship with the Seahawks after being with the team for three seasons. But many are skeptical if he can surpass the level of “consistently reliable backup” and be a signal-caller the team can win with at the helm on a regular basis.

Filling in for an injured Wilson in four games in 2021, Smith completed 68.4% of his passes for five touchdowns and one interception, posting a 1-2 record as a starter. That was enough to convince Seattle to ink him on the one-year, $3.5 million deal.

Geno Smith stats (career): 59% completion, 6,917 yards, 34 TD, 37 INT, 75.7 QB rating

Head coach Pete Carrol recently told reporters that Smith is “automatically ahead” when it comes to the starting gig in Seattle, a comment that shouldn’t come as a huge surprise with the amount of time he’s spent in the system and the ability he brings to the table. That includes doing things with his legs that will help him both with extending plays and making plays of his own.

It’s hard to envision Smith as a long-term starter regardless of what the Seahawks choose to do at quarterback. But it’s not hard to understand why Seattle may view Smith as someone who can get them through until it finds its passer of the future.

“He’s invested a lot with us, he knows our system the best,” Carroll said in March’s NFL annual meeting. “He performed well at it once he got going last year. Can he take off from where he finished up? Unfortunately, the Jacksonville game was his last game, and it was almost a perfect football game for us. We have very high hopes that he can run the system really well.

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What about Drew Lock as the Seattle Seahawks future?

seattle seahawks qb's drew lock, geno smith
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Lock has struggled over the past couple seasons. Looking subpar at times last year, he completed 60.4% of his passes for 787 passing yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Over three years with the Broncos, he completed 59.3% of his passes for 4,740 yards with 25 touchdowns and 20 interceptions. As those numbers would reflect, there’s certainly room for improvement and development for Lock.

But it’s too soon to count him out as a quarterback who will never have a chance of starting again. Carroll has noted his potential and Lock has shown some flashes since he was originally selected at 42nd overall by Denver in the 2019 NFL Draft.

Drew Lock stats (rookie season): 64% completion, 1,020 yards, 7 TD, 3 INT, 89.7 QB rating

It’s still far too early to make any quick judgements on this particular case, but sometimes a change of scenery can work wonders for a quarterback and the possibility can’t be ruled out yet that Lock could find his footing again in Seattle.

Carroll, who recently stated that Lock would have been the first quarterback he would have taken off the board in the 2022 NFL Draft, has had praise for what he has seen from the youngster.

“The first look at Drew, he’s really athletic, he’s really a confident athlete, you can see he’s got a lot of body control, he’s got quick feet, he’s got a quick arm, he’s got various ways he can release the football as his body’s in different positions. He’s got a real knack there. He’s got a strong arm, he can throw the ball a mile down the field. He compares to Geno, and Geno Smith has a great arm. He has a world-class arm, and all that. To match up with that, that’s saying a lot.”

Seattle Seahawks’ Pete Carroll on Drew Lock, via Pro Football Talk

Lock is currently splitting first-team reps with Smith and according to a report from Corbin Smith of All Seahawks on Sports Illustrated, both quarterbacks performed well during 7-on-7 drills while throwing to both first and second-team receivers.

Smith was 12-of-15 passing and Lock was 8-of-11 passing during the drills with neither player tossing an interception. Though, there were some questionable throws mixed in there.

Related: Why Baker Mayfield to the Seattle Seahawks makes sese

Is Baker Mayfield an option for the Seattle Seahawks?

Baker Mayfield
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

There has been plenty of buzz about Baker Mayfield potentially being traded by the Cleveland Browns all offseason. Nothing has materialized to this point.

According to a recent report from Mike Jones of USA TODAY, talks of Mayfield moving on to Seattle haven’t “progressed into advanced stages” and it seems even more unlikely that Mayfield will become a Seahawk — at least for now — with Carroll noting in a recent press conference that he doesn’t see the team picking up a veteran quarterback.

For now, Mayfield remains with the Browns even after their acquisition of former Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, but it would not be surprising to see him land with another team sooner rather than later. He’d be an instant upgrade over both Smith and Lock.

The final verdict

Seattle has some thinking to do. That much is already plenty apparent. For the upcoming season, the most realistic scenario seems to be rolling with Smith or Lock and the former looks like the safest option at this point. With that said, how offseason activities and training camp unfold could very well change things.

Barring Smith having a standout season no one saw coming or Lock really coming into his own as the best version of himself, it would be wise of the Seahawks to pursue a trade for an experienced quarterback.

Perhaps, Seattle turns its attention to what is expected to be a loaded 2023 NFL Draft class that is headlined by Alabama’s Bryce Young and Ohio State’s CJ Stroud. The class also has a lot of depth to it with intriguing names such as Grayson McCall (Coastal Carolina), Tanner McKee (Stanford), Will Levis (Kentucky), Devin Leary (North Carolina State), Sam Hartman (Wake Forest), Jake Haener (Fresno State) and a host of others.