Quarterback Alex Smith, who won the NFL Comeback Player of the Year award in 2020 by helping the Washington Football Team win the NFC East title, will be released by the franchise, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Friday.
Washington, which went 7-9 in 2020, wants to upgrade at quarterback this offseason, and with Smith turning 37 in May and due to count $ 24.4 million against the salary cap, a release became inevitable.
The move will save Washington $ 14.9 million against the ceiling while Smith becomes a free agent.
Smith had two years left on a contract he signed after Washington traded for him in 2018. He made it clear to Washington that he would continue to play.
But his tenure in Washington will be defined by the fractured right fibula and tibia he suffered in November 2018 and subsequent comeback with his first game act on October 11, 2020. In between, Smith underwent 17 surgeries to fight an infection and chose not to get his legs amputated.
Washington kept him partially on the list because he was too expensive to release. But it was also not certain that he had finished playing. Although many doubted he could pull it off – both inside and outside the organization – a number of people with the franchise would often say, “if anyone can do it, Alex can.”
After an ESPN documentary aired last spring, some members of the organization were still wondering if a doctor would even clear Smith to play, but he passed all tests and was cleared. With each milestone, Smith had to prove he could take the next step – being on the track for 11-to-11 work; to make the list play; start.
He did all this, and after starting quarterback Dwayne Haskins was benched and Kyle Allen was injured, Smith started six games in 2020. Washington went 5-1 in those starts. During his three years there Washington went 11-5 in games, Smith started and 6-27 with someone else in the quarterback.
However, Smith told GQ Magazine that his comeback threw a “wrench” into the team’s plans and that he did not feel wanted by the organization over the past summer.
“They did not see it, did not want me there, did not want me to be a part of it, did not want me to be on the team, the list, did not want to give me a chance,” Smith told the magazine. on, it was a whole new regime they came into; I am like the remnant, and I am wounded, and I am this responsibility.
“Heck no, they did not want me there. At the time you can imagine, everything I had been through, I could not have cared less about all that. Whether you like it or not, give I think this is a chance at this point. “
Smith has not said with certainty that he will return for the 2021 season, but sources told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler that he wanted to continue playing.
Smith’s value went beyond his stats last season – he threw six touchdowns for eight interceptions. His reassuring manner, experience and leadership proved to be valuable to his young teammates. Washington started rookie Antonio Gibson by running back and of his top five wide receivers, only one came in last season with more than 58 career receptions – journeyman Dontrelle Inman. If Washington would not get much production, it would at least need someone who could control the game like Smith.
Smith got bone marrow in his calf in the first half of a Dec. 13 win over the San Francisco 49ers, which prevented him from playing in the second half. He missed the next two games – both losses – and struggled in part in the season finale due to injury. Smith lobbied to play in Washington’s playoff game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but he was not mobile enough for the coaches’ tastes and was inactive.
Smith, No. 1 in the 49ers draft for 2005, has started 167 career fights. His team’s record in these games is 99-67-1. He spent seven years with the 49ers, who traded him to the Kansas City Chiefs. Smith spent five years with the Chiefs; they were 1-4 in the playoffs with him. Kansas City drafted Patrick Mahomes in the first round of 2017 and traded after this season Smith to Washington in exchange for cornerback Kendall Fuller and a third-round pick.
Washington recently extended quarterback Taylor Heinicke to a two-year deal with incentives that make it worth up to $ 8.75 million. Kyle Allen is an exclusive rights agent and is expected to return. It also has Steven Montez, who signed last offseason as an unnamed free agent.