SEATTLE — Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith was announced as the National Football League's (NFL) Comeback Player of the Year in a ceremony Thursday night, culminating a resurgent season that saw the longtime backup thrive in a starting role.
Smith beat out San Francisco 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey and New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley for the award. Smith is the fifth consecutive quarterback to win the Comeback Player of the Year award joining Joe Burrow (2021), Alex Smith (2020), Ryan Tannehill (2019) and Andrew Luck (2018).
Smith replaced longtime franchise quarterback Russell Wilson in 2022, leading the Seahawks to nine wins and a playoff spot in the National Football Conference (NFC). The 32-year-old set franchise records in passing yards (4,282), completions (399) and led the NFL with a 69.8% completion percentage.
The veteran journeyman spent five seasons with three teams before finding a home in Seattle in 2020. Still, the second-round draft pick was a backup quarterback for six consecutive seasons until Wilson's trade to the Denver Broncos opened up the potential role. Smith beat out Drew Lock for the starting quarterback job in training camp and finished the 2022 season earning his first Pro Bowl nod.
With his career year in the books, Smith is looking to cash in on a multi-year contract worth upwards of $40 million per year. As things stand, the Seahawks appear committed to bringing Smith back as its quarterback in the upcoming season.
Two weeks before the NFL's announcement Thursday night, a group of football writers recognized Smith as the league's Comeback Player of the Year and the Most Improved Player in 2022.
The Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) announced Smith's awards on Jan. 27 for his resurgence in his 10th NFL season. It was just the third time a player has won the Comeback Player of the Year and Most Improved Player in the same season. Smith joined Ryan Tannehill (2019) and Jon Kitna (2003) for the rare distinction.