INDIANAPOLIS -- Pete Carroll seems to want Geno Smith back with the Seattle Seahawks. But he also isn't dismissing the possibility of drafting a quarterback in Round 1.
"The position we're in, we are totally connected to the quarterbacks that are coming out," Carroll said on Tuesday from the NFL Scouting Combine. "This is a really huge opportunity for us. It's a rare opportunity."
Smith is set to become a free agent on March 15 when the new league year begins. He's been in this spot before, including with Seattle, signing a series of one-year contracts with the team. But prior to last season, those deals were understood to be as a backup to Russell Wilson.
Smith won the Associated Press NFL Comeback Player of the Year award in 2022, throwing for 30 touchdowns and 4,282 yards and leading the NFL in completion percentage (69.8). Now his price has gone up, but the Seahawks have around $24 million in salary-cap space and should be able to bring Smith back if they want to.
Carroll sounds like he's more than willing to endorse Smith's return.
"You know that he was able to take the moment and capture it, and he opened up to the club in terms of his leadership opportunities," Carroll said. "He almost impeccably handled (things). It looks like it was orchestrated just right out of the books, just exactly like he would like to be. So it was really fascinating, fascinating to see it and thrilling to be part of it.
"Hopefully, we'll be working hard to keep it going."
But by virtue of the Wilson trade that gave Smith his opportunity, the Seahawks now hold the Nos. 5 and 20 picks in Round 1. Carroll and general manager John Schneider simply have not been in this situation together, having drafted only Wilson (Round 3, 2012) and Alex McGough (Round 7, 2018) in their time in Seattle.
Carroll not only didn't rule out the possibility of bringing back Smith, but he also made sure to note that they're knee-deep in QB evaluations -- and all options at that position remain on the table.
"We've been drafting in the low 20s for such a long time, you just don't get the chance (at) these guys," Carroll said. "So we're deeply involved with them."