Quarterback Geno Smith, who took over as Seattle’s signal caller in 2022 after playing in only five games with the Seahawks in the previous three seasons and set franchise records for passing yards and completion percentage, is the 2022 NFL Comeback Player of the Year and the 2022 NFL Most Improved Player of the Year chosen in voting by the Professional Football Writers of America (PFWA).
Smith is the third player to earn both the PFWA’s Comeback and Most Improved awards in the same season, joining Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Jon Kitna in 2003 and Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill in 2019. The Most Improved Player of the Year award was first presented in 2000. The Comeback Player of the Year award dates to 1992.
Smith joined the Seahawks in 2019, and he did not see any action that season. He played in one game in 2020, and when starter Russell Wilson suffered a finger injury in 2021, Smith started three games in his place. After Wilson was traded to the Denver Broncos in the offseason, Smith became a starter in Week 1 for the first time in eight seasons. Smith set Seattle single-season franchise records for attempts (572), completions (399), yards (4,282) and completion percentage (69.8). He led the NFL in completion percentage, and he was first in the league with nine games with a 70-percent or higher completion percentage. He had 10 games with a passer rating of 100 or more, and he finished fifth in the NFL in passer rating (100.9). Smith threw a career-high 30 touchdown passes, and he joined Dave Krieg and Wilson as the only QBs in Seattle franchise history with 30 passing TDs in a season. He was the NFC Offensive Player of the Week for Week 4 and the NFC Offensive Player of the Month for October.
Smith is the first member of the Seattle franchise to receive either the Comeback Player of the Year or Most Improved Player of the Year honors.
2022 COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR: QB Geno Smith, Seattle Seahawks
2022 MOST IMPROVED PLAYER OF THE YEAR: QB Geno Smith, Seattle Seahawks
PFWA COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR: 1992 – QB Randall Cunningham, Philadelphia Eagles; 1993 – RB Marcus Allen, Kansas City Chiefs; 1994 – QB Dan Marino, Miami Dolphins; 1995 – QB Jim Harbaugh, Indianapolis Colts; 1996 – RB Jerome Bettis, Pittsburgh Steelers; 1997 – WR Robert Brooks, Green Bay Packers; 1998 – QB Doug Flutie, Buffalo Bills; 1999 – DT Bryant Young, San Francisco 49ers; 2000 – DE Joe Johnson, New Orleans Saints; 2001 – RB Garrison Hearst, San Francisco 49ers; 2002 – QB Tommy Maddox, Pittsburgh Steelers; 2003 – QB Jon Kitna, Cincinnati Bengals; 2004 – RB Willis McGahee, Buffalo Bills; 2005 – WR Steve Smith, Carolina Panthers; 2006 – QB Chad Pennington, New York Jets; 2007 – WR Randy Moss, New England Patriots; 2008 – QB Chad Pennington, Miami Dolphins; 2009 – QB Tom Brady, New England Patriots; 2010 – QB Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles; 2011 – QB Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions; 2012 – RB Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings; 2013 – QB Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers; 2014 – TE Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots; 2015 – S Eric Berry, Kansas City Chiefs; 2016 – WR Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers; 2017 – WR Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers; 2018 – QB Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts; 2019 – QB Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans; 2020 – QB Alex Smith, Washington Football Team; 2021 – QB Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals; 2022 – QB Geno Smith, Seattle Seahawks.
PFWA MOST IMPROVED PLAYER OF THE YEAR: 2000 – QB Jeff Garcia, San Francisco 49ers; 2001 – QB Kordell Stewart, Pittsburgh Steelers; 2002 – QB Chad Pennington, New York Jets; 2003 – QB Jon Kitna, Cincinnati Bengals; 2004 – QB Drew Brees, San Diego Chargers; 2005 – DE Osi Umenyiora, New York Giants; 2006 – RB Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers; 2007 – QB Derek Anderson, Cleveland Browns; 2008 – RB DeAngelo Williams, Carolina Panthers; 2009 – WR Miles Austin, Dallas Cowboys; 2010 – RB Arian Foster, Houston Texans; 2011 – WR Victor Cruz, New York Giants; 2012 – WR Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys; 2013 – WR Alshon Jeffery, Chicago Bears; 2014 – RB Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers; 2015 – (tie) QB Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins and CB Josh Norman, Carolina Panthers; 2016 – LB Vic Beasley, Atlanta Falcons; 2017 – QB Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams; 2018 – TE George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers; 2019 – QB Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans; 2020 – QB Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills; 2021 – (tie) CB Trevon Diggs, Dallas Cowboys and RB Cordarrelle Patterson, Atlanta Falcons; 2022 – QB Geno Smith, Seattle Seahawks.