The Washington football team released quarterback Alex Smith on Friday, who won the 2020 NFL Comeback Player of the Year award by helping the franchise win the NFC East.
Washington, who went 7-9 in 2020, wants to level up to quarterback this offseason and, with Smith turning 37 in May and facing $ 24.4 million against the salary cap, a release has become inevitable. .
The move will save Washington $ 14.9 million over the cap, while Smith will become a free agent.
Smith still had two years on a contract he signed after Washington traded it for him in 2018. He made it clear to Washington that he wanted to keep playing.
But his tenure in Washington will be defined by the fractured right fibula and tibia he suffered in November 2018 and his subsequent return with his first game on October 11. amputated leg.
Washington kept it on the list in part because it was too expensive to release. But it wasn’t sure either that he was done playing. While many doubted that he could be successful – both inside and outside the organization – a number of people with the franchise would often say, “If anyone can do it, Alex can. . “
Yet after an ESPN documentary aired last spring, some in the organization questioned whether a doctor would even allow Smith to play, but he passed all tests and was cleared. At every milestone, Smith had to prove he could take the next step – being on the pitch for an 11v11 job; make the list; playing; departure.
He did it all and, after starting QB Dwayne Haskins was benched and Kyle Allen was injured, Smith started six games in 2020. Washington went 5-1 in those starts. In his three years there, Washington went 11-5 in games started by Smith and 6-27 with anyone else at quarterback.
Smith, however, told GQ Magazine that his return threw a “wrench” into the team’s plans and that he didn’t feel wanted by the organization last summer.
They didn’t see it, didn’t want me there, didn’t want me to be part of it, didn’t want me to be part of the squad, of the roster, didn’t want to give me a luck, “Smith told the magazine.” Be careful, it was a whole new diet, they entered; I’m like the leftovers and I’m hurt and I’m that passive.
“Heck no, they didn’t want me there. At that point, as you can imagine, all that I had been through, I couldn’t have cared less about it all. Like it or not, I give it a go at this point. “
Smith has not said for sure he will return for the 2021 season, but sources have told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler that he wants to continue playing.
Smith’s value topped his stats last season – he threw six touchdowns to eight interceptions. His calming manners, experience and leadership proved invaluable to his young teammates. Washington started rookie Antonio Gibson as a running back and of its top five wide receivers only one entered last season with more than 58 career receptions – sidekick Dontrelle Inman. If Washington wasn’t going to have a lot of production, it at least needed someone who could handle the game like Smith.
Smith sustained a calf bruise during the first half of a Dec. 13 victory over the San Francisco 49ers, preventing him from playing in the second half. He missed the next two games – both losses – and struggled in the season finale in part due to injury. Smith lobbied to play in Washington’s playoff game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but he wasn’t mobile enough for coaches to taste and was inactive.
Smith, the No. 1 pick in the 2005 draft by the 49ers, has started 167 career games. 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 in 2017 and, after that season, traded Smith to Washington in exchange for cornerback Kendall Fuller and a third-round pick.
Washington recently extended quarterback Taylor Heinicke on a two-year contract with incentives worth up to $ 8.75 million. Kyle Allen is an exclusive rights free agent and is expected to return. He also has Steven Montez, who signed the last offseason as an undrafted free agent.