Geno Smith finally got the payday and recognition that had eluded him for most of his career.
His response? Getting back to work even while he was being feted by the Seattle Seahawks in a way Smith had never experienced in his time as a pro.
“The contract is fulfilling, but I just love playing football,” Smith said Thursday after signing his new three-year deal with the Seahawks.
The AP NFL comeback player of the year last season, Smith parlayed the best year of his pro career into a payday that he believes compensates him fairly while leaving Seattle with the flexibility to fill some needs in free agency.
Smith’s deal is worth up to $105 million including all the incentives. But its base value gives general manager John Schneider some wiggle room.
“It’s just a way for both parties to make it work,” Smith said. “It allows the team room and space to do what they need to do, but it also gives me an opportunity to be one of the top 10 paid quarterbacks, which is something that I believe I am.”
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Smith was one of the feel-good stories in the league after getting an opportunity to start after nearly a decade as a backup and it changed the trajectory of his career. Smith led the Seahawks to a 9-8 record and a playoff berth as the last wild card in the NFC as he stepped into a starter’s role following the trade of Russell Wilson to Denver.
Smith threw for 4,282 yards, a career high and a franchise record. He threw 30 touchdown passes and just 11 interceptions, completed 399 passes and led the NFL in completion percentage at 69.8%.
“There’s a lot of years when Geno had to sit there and wait,” coach Pete Carroll said. “The story that has been unveiled about believing in yourself and confidence and trust and never giving up, it’s a vivid illustration for (Geno) and it’s been so much fun to see this happen.”
Texans fined, lose 5th-round pick
The Houston Texans are losing their pick in the fifth round of this year’s NFL Draft and have been fined $175,000 for a salary cap reporting violation.
The NFL said a review shows that the team provided quarterback Deshaun Watson with undisclosed compensation in the form of a membership at an alternate athletic facility in 2020.
The collective bargaining agreement mandates that clubs report any player compensation or benefit as part of the salary cap requirements.
NFL awards compensatory picks
The San Francisco 49ers added a league-high seven compensatory picks in next month’s NFL draft, giving them 11 total selections.
The NFL awarded 37 compensatory picks to 16 teams on Thursday for the upcoming draft on April 27-29 in Kansas City, Missouri.
Picks are awarded to teams in the third-through-seventh rounds with 32 of the picks based on teams losing more or better free agents than they acquired last offseason and the other five given for minorities hired as head coaches or general managers for other organizations.
Jets acquire safety Clark
According on an AP source, New York Jets are acquiring veteran safety Chuck Clark from the Baltimore Ravens. New York agreed Thursday to send a seventh-round draft pick in 2024 to Baltimore.
The NFL Network first reported the trade of Clark to New York. The 27-year-old has played all six of his NFL seasons with the Ravens since being drafted in the sixth round in 2017 out of Virginia Tech.
The Jets are also releasing wide receiver/kick returner Braxton Berrios in a salary cap move. Berrios was an All-Pro selection as a kick returner in 2021 but was due to count $8.2 million on the cap and the sides couldn’t come to an agreement on a restructured contract.
Vikings’ Cine could be ready for OTAs
Minnesota Vikings safety Lewis Cine could participate in spring practices less than eight months after a badly broken lower left leg cut short his rookie season.
Coach Kevin O’Connell said Cine has made remarkable progress on his rehabilitation for the compound fracture he suffered in a game in London on Oct. 2. He was hurt while blocking on a punt return.
The first-round draft pick out of Georgia needed surgery for the injury. Cine could be ready for on-field work with the Vikings when they begin organized team activities in late May.
Raiders re-sign Abdullah
The Las Vegas Raiders have re-signed running back Ameer Abdullah and guard Netane Muti.
Abdullah was used primarily as a pass-catching back and on special teams last season. He caught 25 passes for 211 yards and a touchdown, and averaged 20.9 yards on 26 kickoff returns.
Muti joined the Raiders in Week 15 last season. The Denver Broncos selected him in the sixth round of the 2020 draft.