Alex Smith portends end to tenure with the Washington Football Team

Dec 13, 2020; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Washington Football Team quarterback Alex Smith (11) walks along the sideline against the San Francisco 49ers during the second half at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Reigning NFL Comeback Player of the Year Alex Smith was among the most heart-warming stories of the past several months around the league.

By now, it’s well known that Smith suffered a devastating leg injury during Week 11 of the 2018 season. More than a dozen surgeries later and after pretty much battling for his life, the three-time Pro Bowl quarterback was back on the field for his Washington Football Team this past October.

As Smith tells us, Washington would have preferred that he did not make his way back on the gridiron for the team. This is a real thing.

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Alex Smith claims Washington Football Team did not want him to return from leg injury

Alex Smith
Jan 3, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Washington Football Team quarterback Alex Smith (11) in action against the Philadelphia Eagles during the first quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

“They didn’t see it, didn’t want me there, didn’t want me to be a part of it, didn’t want me to be on the team, the roster, didn’t want to give me a chance. Mind you, it was a whole new regime, they came in, I’m like the leftovers and I’m hurt and I’m this liability. Heck no, they didn’t want me there,” Alex Smith told Clay Skipper of GQ in a recent interview. “At that point, as you can imagine, everything I’d been through, I couldn’t have cared less about all that. [laughs] Whether you like it or not, I’m giving this a go at this point.”

Given what Smith had gone through to recover from the brutal injury he had suffered less than two years earlier, this had to be bittersweet.

The former No. 1 pick would go on to lead Washington to a 5-1 record in six starts and a spot in the NFL Playoffs after it won the NFC East. In the process, he was a run away winner of the NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award on the eve of the Super Bowl earlier this month.

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Is Alex Smith going to be back with the Washington Football Team?

It was noted following the 2020 season that Smith was contemplating retirement. That’s no longer the case. He wants to play somewhere next season. However, it remains unlikely that will be in the nation’s capital.

As Smith noted in the interview with GQ, Washington has an entirely new brass. That now includes general manager Martin Mayhew and vice president Marty Hurney. Meanwhile, head coach Ron Rivera was noncommittal about Alex Smith returning next season.

Washington made a major play for Matthew Stafford before he was dealt from the Detroit Lions to the Los Angeles Rams. The team could very well be in on disgruntled Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson and is kicking the tires on other options.

All the while, Washington can save $13.6 million against the 2021 NFL salary cap by releasing Smith. It is currently $30.77 million under the estimated cap.

Where might Alex Smith land in 2021?

NFL Free Agency: Washington Football Team QB Alex Smith
Dec 7, 2020; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Washington Football Team quarterback Alex Smith (11) gestures at the line of scrimmage against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. Washington won 23-17. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s assume Smith is released here before the start of NFL free agency. There’s not a limited number of teams who would be interested in his services as a backup.

Unfortunately, it does not appear that the 36-year-old signal caller is starter-caliber anymore. Despite leading Washington to a 5-1 record last season, he threw six touchdowns against eight interceptions.

If Smith is relegated to backup duties, teams with young quarterbacks like the Cincinnati Bengals, Los Angeles Chargers and Miami Dolphins could come calling. Perhaps, a reunion with his former San Francisco 49ers squad could also be in the cards.