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Geno Smith seemed to be closer to an early retirement than he was to resurrecting his NFL career heading into the 2022-23 season. The journeyman quarterback hadn’t started more than three games in a season since 2014, and he found himself in a heated battle with Drew Lock for the Seattle Seahawks starting job all summer.

Even though nearly everyone wrote off Smith’s career, though, the former second-round pick never gave up on himself.

After winning the starting job before the regular season, Smith led the Seahawks to a 9-8 record while leading the NFL in completion percentage (69.8%). Thanks to the Detroit Lions’ upset win against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday night, Seattle squeaked into the playoffs as the No. 7 seed in the NFC. Smith also woke up the next morning $1 million richer, and he has Dan Campbell and Jared Goff to thank.

Geno Smith and the Seattle Seahawks are playoff bound

Geno Smith celebrates after a touchdown.
Geno Smith of the Seattle Seahawks celebrates after a touchdown against the Denver Broncos | Steph Chambers/Getty Images

The Seahawks entered the 2022-23 NFL season with basement-low expectations. Seattle’s win total before Week 1 was set at just 5.5. Only the Atlanta Falcons (5) and the Houston Texans (4.5) had lower win totals in the preseason.

Considering their young, unproven roster and their shaky quarterback situation with Smith and Lock battling for the starting spot, a playoff berth didn’t seem to be in the realm of possibility for the Seahawks. Seattle fans were likely rooting for the worst record in the league and the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Those expectations quickly changed when Smith led the Seahawks to an upset win against Russell Wilson and the Denver Broncos in Week 1. As the season progressed, Smith continued to improve and silence his doubters. The QB finished with the highest completion percentage (69.8%) in the league, the fourth-most touchdown passes (30), and the sixth-highest QBR (61.1%). He also made the Pro Bowl for the first time in his nine-year career and led the Seahawks to an improbable playoff berth.

And thanks to the Lions, Smith added $1 million to his bank account on Sunday night.

Geno Smith woke up $1 million richer thanks to the Lions

Ahead of the 2022-23 season, Smith signed a one-year prove-it deal with the Seahawks worth $3.5 million. The contract also included $3.5 million in incentives, according to a tweet from Field Yates of ESPN, and Smith hit each one to double his season earnings.

The 32-year-old added $1 million to his total by taking every offensive snap of the regular season, and he added another $1.5 million by going over 4,000 yards passing and making the Pro Bowl.

The final incentive built into his contract was a $1 million bonus for making the playoffs. Smith did his job by beating the Los Angeles Rams in Week 18 to give the Seahawks a fighting chance, but he needed the Lions to upset the Packers as 5.5-point underdogs on Sunday Night Football to clinch a postseason spot.

Even though Detroit had nothing to play for because of Seattle’s win earlier in the day, the Lions fought hard for head coach Dan Campbell and knocked off the Packers, 20-16. That victory gave the Seahawks the No. 7 seed in the NFC playoffs, and it also made Smith $1 million richer by hitting his last incentive.

Smith might have to send a thank you note to the Lions for pushing Seattle to the playoffs and gifting him a $1 million bonus.


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