Seahawks OTA Notebook: Geno Smith still viewing contract as year-by-year

Seattle Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner speaks with reporters after an organized team activity practice on May 22, 2023 in Renton, Wash. (photo by Curtis Crabtree / FOX 13 Seattle)

The Seattle Seahawks had their first of nine voluntary organized team activities (OTAs) set to take place over the next three weeks along with a mandatory team mini-camp in June.

It presented one of the first chances for the new class of rookies to get on the field with their veteran counterparts. However, offseason workout rules highly restrict the type of work that can be accomplished at this stage of this year. Full 11-on-11 sessions are not permitted, pads aren't allowed, and the offense and defense primarily remain separated with individual and group work on different fields.

So with that in mind, what are some of the items of note coming out of the first workout of spring?

– Geno Smith still views his job security as a year-to-year proposition

Geno Smith signed a three-year contract extension with the Seahawks this offseason. After a slew of one-year deals to serve as the backup at multiple stops across the NFL, Smith finally got the contract he was hoping for in March after a Pro Bowl campaign for Seattle last year.

But just because Smith signed a multi-year deal with the team doesn't mean he's viewing his hold on the starting quarterback job in Seattle as a permanent proposition.

"It's still year-by-year," Smith said. "That's how I've got to look at it. I take it one year at a time for me. My celebration was I picked up my baby, hugged him up and went back to the weight room. Stay in it, I've just got to keep in it and focusing on the ball."

Smith knew the Seahawks were considering quarterbacks in the NFL Draft and has been around the league long enough to know that roster spots and depth chart positioning can change quickly.

"Going into my 11th season, obviously it's a blessing to even do that," Smith said. "But you know, who knows when the clock strikes midnight, right. So I cherish every single opportunity. I cherish every single practice, every single moment out here and in the classroom with my teammates and so I think that's where my perspective has changed a little bit from being a young guy to being an older vet. Obviously I still feel young but there's some things to think about and so I'm very excited about the future. I think I can do this thing for, God willing, a long time. So I just want to keep working and try and be better every day."

– Bobby Wagner happy to be back in Seattle

After a year spent with the Los Angeles Rams, linebacker Bobby Wagner is back where he wants to be with the Seattle Seahawks.

"Feels good to be back. Nice to be back in 54. Nice to be back in some beautiful weather. It's cool," Wagner said on Monday.

Wagner is back in the middle of Seattle's defense after signing a one-year deal with the team this offseason. A divorce made sense for both sides at the time a year ago. The Seahawks were facing a reset with their roster and Wagner was looking for a team primed to chase a Super Bowl. Wagner's one-year run with the Los Angeles Rams didn't go to plan as the team was devastated by injuries and missed the playoffs.

"Seattle was always home," Wagner said. "Regardless of the situation, it was always Seattle or California. I was always going to be in Seattle or California and whenever I'm done, it's going to be Seattle and California."

With Jordyn Brooks facing a long recovery from a torn ACL late last season and Wagner released by the Rams as they now settle in to a rebuild, a return engagement between Wagner and the Seahawks made too much sense for both sides.

Dee Eskridge draws praise from Geno Smith:

The first two years of Dee Eskridge's professional career have mostly been a write-off due to a run of injuries that have kept him from getting into the lineup.

Eskridge has appeared in 20 total games for Seattle over the last two seasons, but he's managed just 17 receptions for 122 yards and a touchdown.

But quarterback Geno Smith was bullish on what Eskridge could do this upcoming season.

"Dee is going to do some things," Smith said. "He's getting ready to do many things. I know things have started slow for him but doesn't matter. He is a physical specimen. He's got everything it takes. He's studying his butt off. I've been with him every single day and we are watching extra film and he looks to be really taking that next step."

Eskridge was Seattle's top draft pick in the 2021 class. The Seahawks made just three selections that year with Eskridge's second-round selection leading the way.

Smith said he and Eskridge trained together in Florida last year and will do so again when offseason activities wrap up in Seattle. 

"I really see the growth in his mindset and his mentality. He wants it," Smith said. "He's always wanted it and he's always had that ability, but obviously he's had some setbacks but I can see just in his mental makeup that he's ready to take that next step and it's my job to help him and that's why I want to be there with him. He's working his butt off. He's super explosive out here on the field. He's one of the more explosive guys I've ever seen. If we can get him where I think he'll be, I think it will help us out a lot."

Roster Moves:

Ahead of Monday's practice, the Seahawks signed undrafted nose tackle LaTrell Bumphus and released linebacker Chris Garrett.

After practice, the Seahawks reportedly reached an agreement to re-sign veteran cornerback Artie Burns as well getting fourth-round draft pick Anthony Bradford signed to his rookie deal.

Adam Schefter of reported the return of Burns to the team on a one-year deal. Brady Henderson of reported Bradford's agreement with the team.

Bumphus appeared in 55 career games at the University of Tennessee with 24 starts. He racked up 66 tackles with three sacks, one forced fumble, two fumble recoveries and two passes defended.

Burns appeared in just three games for the Seahawks last year. He opened training camp as the presumptive starter at right cornerback for Seattle before a hamstring injury in training camp allowed Tariq Woolen a clear path into the starting lineup. He played just 16 defensive snaps and eight special teams snaps during the 2022 seasojn for Seattle.

Woolen wasn't at the voluntary practice on Monday and first-round pick Devon Witherspoon is still being eased in to action due to a minor hamstring issue.