While there had been much discussion about Cam Newton filling the Seahawks’ backup quarterback job in recent days, there was no indication the team ever seriously considered it.
Thursday, the Seahawks made a move to put that talk to a stop, agreeing to re-sign Geno Smith, who served as Russell Wilson’s backup last year and will compete to do so again in 2020.
A source told The Seattle Times the move was expected to happen and ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported that the two sides had agreed on a one-year deal.
The Seahawks have three quarterbacks on its roster — Wilson, Smith and Anthony Gordon, who was signed last month as an undrafted rookie free agent out of Washington State.
Gordon and Smith will compete for the backup job, though new roster rules this year might make it easier to keep all three in some capacity, either on the 53-man roster or on the practice squad.
The Seahawks will have to waive a player off its 90-man roster to make room for Smith. That move was not announced Thursday.
Smith was on the roster for all of the 2019 season but did not play in a game as Wilson took every snap for the second consecutive season. Wilson has not missed a play since 2017, a streak of 38 consecutive regular-season games.
Smith could be the first player to serve as a backup QB to Wilson for consecutive years since Tarvaris Jackson did so from 2013-15.
Smith, who will turn 30 in October, has 31 career NFL starts, 29 coming with the Jets in the 2013-14 seasons after he was taken with the 39th overall pick by the Jets in 2013. Smith last stared a game in 2017 with the Giants and last played in a game in 2018 with the Chargers.
This is the second straight year Smith has signed with the Seahawks in May. Last year he signed May 15.
It could also be the second consecutive year the Seahawks enter camp with three quarterbacks on its roster. Last year Smith battled with former first-round pick Paxton Lynch before winning the job with his steadier play in the preseason.
Smith was released before re-signing, a move that allowed the Seahawks some roster flexibility as they completed the Jadeveon Clowney trade (they had to keep Jacob Martin and Barkevious Mingo on the roster until the trade became official).
Since Newton remains unsigned — and as the 2015 NFL MVP should have obvious interest — some had connected him with the Seahawks since they appeared likely to sign a veteran to compete with Gordon.
But indications all along had pointed to it being more likely they would re-sign Smith than go after Newton as the Seahawks didn’t want to pay much for a backup. Smith is likely to sign for close to or at the league veteran minimum.