Going into last Thursday’s exhibition opener against the Broncos, Geno Smith looked to have a strong grip on the Seahawks backup quarterback job behind Russell Wilson.
However, Smith completed just three passes for 58 yards during one half of action as Seattle’s starter in place of Wilson. After being outperformed in all facets by Paxton Lynch, he underwent surgery to remove a cyst from his knee this weekend, leaving his status for next week’s game against the Vikings in limbo.
Seeking an insurance policy, Seattle swiftly signed former Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett, who participated in his first practice with the team on Sunday. According to coach Pete Carroll, the Seahawks have had their eyes on the dual threat signal caller for quite some time.
“J.T. is a guy who we’ve always been aware of.” Carroll said. “We’ve watched him and known that he’s out there and looked for opportunities maybe to get a shot.”
The 6-foot-2, 225-pound Barrett previously starred for the Buckeyes, earning First-Team All-Big Ten honors three times, finishing fifth in Heisman voting as a redshirt freshman in 2014, and setting more than 20 school records. He wrapped up his collegiate career with 9,434 passing yards, 3,263 rushing yards, and 147 combined touchdowns.
Despite his illustrious career in Columbus, Barrett endured a whirlwind of a rookie campaign after signing with the Saints as an undrafted free agent in 2018, bouncing on and off of the team’s practice squad throughout the regular season. In total, he was involved in an absurd 23 total transactions before being signed to a future/reserve deal in January.
The 24-year old Barrett’s turbulent NFL journey hit another skid on August 1, as the Saints released him once again only a few days into training camp. Possessing excellent size and athleticism for the position, Carroll hopes to give him a fair chance in an audition with the Seahawks.
“He’s played in the bigtime, he’s a leader, he’s real smart, he’s got a strong-enough arm. I just like the kind of guy that he is, he’s a QB. He’ll jump in here and we’ll see what he can do, we’ll check him out.”
Given how minor Smith’s injury is, Barrett may not be on Seattle’s roster very long before he’s searching for a job again. But there’s a strong possibility he could play in Minnesota on Sunday, and if he performs well, he offers an ideal skill set behind Wilson and the team may choose to keep him around for a bit longer.