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Mike Macdonald on Geno Smith, Drew Lock being part of Seahawks' future: 'That's a tough question'

Change begets change.

After 14 seasons with Pete Carroll as a constant in Seattle, the Seahawks' future is now in the hands of head coach Mike Macdonald, whose primary responsibility will be halting the team's playoff hiatus at a single season.

In today's NFL, that often means locking in plans at the quarterback position, something Macdonald wasn't quite ready to do Sunday when asked if Geno Smith and Drew Lock will both be involved in the future of the organization going forward.

"That's a tough question, and it's one that I probably can't answer right now," Macdonald told KCPQ Seattle's Aaron Levine. "But we're doing a lot of work on those guys. And I've had conversations just to get to know them. Understand who they are as people and their background, goals and what their family's like and where they're from. I didn't know anything about them coming into this whole thing. So, right now we're in the phase of figuring out who they are. Obviously, one or two, or both, would fit into our plans moving forward. But right now, probably don't have that answer for you."

For Smith, signs point toward him being a part of -- at least -- Seattle's immediate future.

He still has two years remaining on the deal he signed last March in the wake of his 2022 NFL Comeback Player of the Year campaign. The team allowed his $12.7 million base salary to become guaranteed by keeping him on the roster through Feb. 16, and NFL Network Insider Tom Pelissero reported on Friday that Seattle converted $9.6 million of his roster bonus into a signing bonus to clear $4.8 million in cap space.

Even after a slight step back for Smith in 2023, the new brass is working in conjunction with him to open up spending money elsewhere.

Smith emerged from a nearly decade-long disappearing act two seasons ago under Carroll with 4,282 passing yards, 30 touchdowns, 11 interceptions and a league-leading 69.8 completion percentage as the Seahawks made a surprise postseason appearance.

He missed two games due to injury last season and frequently played hurt, perhaps sapping his efficiency on the way to throwing for 3,624 yards, 20 TDs and nine picks.

He's made two consecutive Pro Bowls, regardless, and is, at worst, the perfect candidate to serve as a bridge QB entering his age-34 season.

As for Lock, who likewise appeared to be an NFL castoff for a number of years, he enjoyed a single, exhilarating moment of redemption in 2023 rather than a season's worth like Smith did the year prior.

Subbing in for Smith during a Monday night game against the Eagles in December, Lock led a 92-yard game-winning drive to reassert himself as a signal-caller capable of magic off the bench.

Now he's set to become a free agent, and Macdonald's answer regarding Lock's future might mean the 27-year-old's next chance comes elsewhere.

The start of free agency on March 13 and the draft from April 25-27 should shed more light on Macdonald's hesitance, giving an answer on the QB room.

Sitting at No. 16 overall, it's possible the Seahawks see a prospect slip, capitalize and set up a transition plan at quarterback to pave the new regime's road to success.

They could just as easily commit to Smith having a third year starting without looking in the rearview by either running it back with Lock or another veteran option at QB2.

Whatever transpires, it will go a long way in setting the offensive tone during Macdonald's first foray into head coaching.

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