4 emergency QB options if Seahawks lose Geno Smith to injury in 2023

Nobody wants to jinx anything here. When it comes to the health of Seattle Seahawks starting quarterback Geno Smith, we’re all hoping for the best, but the truth is the team likely has contingency plans for potential injuries to every part of the roster — quarterback included.

Entering this season, Smith has more weapons than ever before in his NFL career. The Seahawks already had wide receivers like DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, but then they drafted the best wide receiver in this year’s rookie class in Jaxon Smith-Njigba. They also had a dynamic young running back in Kenneth Walker III, but they grabbed his ultimate tandem partner in Zach Charbonnet in this year’s second round.

Given all the firepower available on this team, the Seahawks will want to keep some solid options and updated names on their Rolodex if something goes wrong with Smith. Here’s our take on who they could call if something went wrong.

The Seahawks have already committed to Drew Lock for another year as their backup option if something goes wrong with Geno Smith.

Earlier this spring, the team re-signed Lock to a one-year deal that will pay him $4 million to keep the clipboard at the position and serve as the primary safety at the position in case of emergency. The deal is also good for an additional $3.5 million in incentives if Lock is forced into any real action.

Lock was once the second-round pick of John Elway and the Denver Broncos back in the 2019 NFL Draft as a young prospect from Missouri with a big arm. Unfortunately for both team and player, Lock was not the answer to the franchise’s quarterback woes and ended up as another name in a long line of failed attempts to right the ship at QB in Denver before they traded for Russell Wilson.

Lock’s stint as a part-time starter for the Broncos over parts of three seasons isn’t all that impressive. He led the league with 15 interceptions in 2020, and the team finally abandoned the experiment just a few games into ’21. He showed solid promise as a rookie with a 4-1 record as a starter with an 89.7 QB rating, but even then the advanced metrics weren’t great.

That said, Lock always needed time, and he’s still only 26 years old. He didn’t play a single snap last year, but Seattle likes Lock’s potential enough here to keep him around as their primary option should Smith happen. Lock’s appeal remains a mystery to those outside of Lumen Field, but insiders have called for a reason.

Right now, the Seahawks only have three quarterbacks on the roster, and QB3 is an interesting rookie free agent, Holton Ahlers.

Ahlers comes to Seattle via East Carolina as an undrafted prospect with plenty of starting experience at the collegiate level. With 50 career starts and 97 touchdown passes, Ahlers is ready for the demands of the position. Standing over 6’2 and nearly 240 lbs., he also has great size and decent mobility.

That said, scouts would love to rework Ahler’s mechanics and throwing motion, and his accuracy was never going to impress anyone. But the production has always been there for Ahlers and the Seahawks seems to like the intangible he brings to the position.

Despite being the third quarterback on the roster, let’s be clear the Seahawks would have good reason to scour the free agent ranks for a new starting option under center instead of going with Ahlers. The Seahawks’ offense has the potential and playmakers to rank among the most explosive in the NFL, and Ahlers should look very poised to take command if something goes wrong with Smith and/or Lock.

Still, Ahlers deserves an early mention on our list here simply because he’s positioned better than anyone not named Lock to step in for Smith if there’s a potential injury.

If the Seahawks wanted to look outside the organization for quarterback depth in case of injuries at the position, they could always call up a familiar face in Jacob Eason.

Eason was the fourth round pick of the Indianapolis Colts back in the 2020 NFL Draft after finishing his collegiate career regionally at the University of Washington. Eason did not play during his rookie year, but won the chance to start in Week 2 of his sophomore season. But somehow the Colts hated what they saw enough to release him outright by the following month.

From there, Eason was claimed by the Seahawks and spent nearly a year with the team — from midway through the 2021 season to all of next preseason. He didn’t play a single snap during his time and eventually lost out to Smith and Lock as the new duo on the depth chart.

Since being released a year ago from Seattle, he has been picked up by the Carolina Panthers on two occasions and the San Francisco 49ers. He is currently a free agent waiting for a chance, but he would be a young player with some familiarity with what the Seahawks like to do offensively.

If a team is going to make a move in the free agent market for a new starting quarterback, those exploratory calls will likely begin with Teddy Bridgewater, and there’s no reason to think John Schneider could be the exception.

Bridgewater is still only 30 years old, but comes to any team with 65 games of starting experience over eight NFL seasons. Last year, he started a few games for the Miami Dolphins in the wake of Tua Tagovailoa’s injuries before suffering a broken finger and is now a free agent again.

Bridgewater has proven to be a competent starting quarterback in years past, even making the Pro Bowl in 2015, but teams have an impossible time counting on him with his injury history. In addition to the broken finger in ’22, Bridgewater has torn his ACL, suffered an MCL sprain, endured multiple concussions and more in the past few years.

That said, the floor here is much higher with Bridgewater than likely what it would be with any of the aforementioned options. The loss of Smith could allow one or more of the players on this list to earn a shot, but it shouldn’t surprise anyone to see the Seahawks reach out to Bridgewater if Smith is lost for an extended period of time.

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