Dave Canales has departed Seattle for Tampa Bay as the new Buccaneers offensive coordinator.
Having played a key role in the renaissance of quarterback Geno Smith's career this past season, might Canales persuade the veteran QB to follow him to Florida?
Seahawks general manager John Schneider believes he's got a head start that bodes well for his squad bringing Smith -- and potentially backup Drew Lock -- back to Seattle.
"Obviously, Dave has a great relationship with Drew and Geno," Schneider said this week, via Seattle Sports 710AM. "Shoot, he did a great job working with Geno (and) staying after practice with Drew.
"Those guys would work their tails off for a good hour, hour and a half after practice. They'd be out there in the dark throwing the ball, working on footwork and ball carriage and everything. … (But) free agency doesn't start until the middle of March so there's a huge period here where we have time to work through things."
Indeed, free agency does not begin until the new league year kicks off on March 15. Thusly, Schneider has time to work out a new deal with Smith (and/or Lock) before the QB technically hits the free-agency waters.
Schneider is confident in how contract discussions are progressing thus far.
"Good talks so far," Schneider said. "We're in it. We're just trying to figure out what's best, and we'll do what's right."
It's the second consecutive offseason in which the QB position has been at the forefront for the Seahawks and Schneider.
Last offseason, Seattle sent franchise quarterback Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos in a franchise-altering swap. At the time, many scratched their heads at the Seahawks agreeing to trade away Wilson. However, after Wilson and the Broncos' dreary 2022 campaign and Seattle's surprising 9-8 playoff run, trade grades have most certainly changed. Much of the Seahawks' stunning success was due to Smith, who led the league with a 69.8 completion percentage while collecting a first-ever Pro Bowl selection and career highs of 4,282 yards passing and 30 touchdown passes.
Canales was part of head coach Pete Carroll's staff from 2010 through this past season, so he has three years of experience coaching Smith.
With Tom Brady's retirement having left a massive QB opening in Tampa, the Buccaneers need a new starter. While Smith has seemingly been a slam dunk to return to Seattle since the season ended, that was before his QB coach took a job as OC with the Bucs.
Time is on Schneider's side as it relates to negotiations, but if Smith elects to see how much he can command in the open market, his familiarity with Canales would seemingly be alluring.
Smith was last seen turning in a terrific five-touchdown performance in the Pro Bowl Games. Prior to the flag football game, Smith maintained his confidence that a new deal would be worked out to keep him in the Emerald City. Four days later, Smith won The Associated Press NFL Comeback Player of the Year and by his and Schneider's accounts, the quarterback's chances of coming back to Seattle remain on high.