A report came out on Sunday that showed that Washington’s veteran quarterback Alex Smith has a desire to keep playing in the NFL in the 2021 season, but there’s a belief that it may not be with the Washington Football Team.
Due to his massive $24.2 million cap-hit, there’s a strong likelihood that Washington ends up releasing Smith and choosing to go with a new quarterback yet to be named. There’s a chance that he could restructure his contract and stick around, but it seems clear that he wants to go somewhere and still see some playing time.
So where would he go if released from Washington? We have a few ideas, taking into account the fact that Smith can still contribute on the field, and he also brings immense value as a mentor for young quarterbacks (think Patrick Mahomes and Colin Kaepernick.) Here are our top options:
Of all the teams that Smith could sign with should he be released, the Jaguars by far make the most sense. Consider first that Jacksonville’s new coach, Urban Meyer, was Smith’s college coach at Utah, and the two still have a very close relationship. Now also consider that with the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, the Jaguars are expected to take Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence to be their franchise guy. Could he need a few weeks to adjust before taking over as the starter? Maybe, but probably not. Nonetheless, the presence of Smith in the QB room could do wonders for Lawrence as he transitions into the NFL.
Washington Football Team
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Of course, there is no guarantee that Alex Smith isn’t in a Washington uniform next season. In order for that to happen, though, there needs to be a restructuring of the contract so that he isn’t such a massive hit on the salary cap. It also depends a lot on where Ron Rivera decides to go with the QB position. Will they have a young player from the draft that needs to be mentored? Do they trade for a veteran player or someone who is on the edge of success like Marcus Mariota or Sam Darnold? Smith’s proximity to those players could be extremely valuable, so let’s not pencil Smith in another uniform before realizing the value that he could still bring to Washington, assuming that he agrees to take a little bit less.
New York Jets
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The Jets are an interesting option, because there are a couple ways that they could go with their QB position, and Alex Smith makes sense in both scenarios. With the No. 2 overall pick, many people are expecting the Jets to draft one of the top QBs in April, which would mean that Sam Darnold is finding a new squad. We’ve talked already about the value that Smith could bring to a rookie QB working to find his footing in the league, and his presence as a bridge quarterback for a handful of weeks could be beneficial. Likewise, if Darnold were to stay in New York and try to succeed under a new coaching staff, Smith could also come in as more of a mentor and try to help him take that next step. Of course, this is less desirable for Smith, who clearly still wants to play.
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The Panthers are another wild-card team when it comes to the QB position, as there are a number of things that they could do this offseason. A lot of people think that they may try to trade up in the draft to acquire one of the top prospects, which brings Smith into play for us. The bridge-QB idea works if Carolina chooses to go with a rookie who needs to be introduced to the NFL.
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What’s the plan with Mitch Trubisky? Or Nick Foles? Could a trade-up in the draft be possible? The Chicago Bears seem less like a landing spot for Smith, but we are going to keep our options open here and at the very least label them a wildcard.
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Another wild card team when it comes to QB, the Broncos have had some rumors come up recently that suggest that they might not be too thrilled with Drew Lock as of late. There is a chance that they could be in the mix for a Deshaun Watson trade, which would take them out of the conversation for Alex Smith, but if they ride it out with Lock, the presence of Smith could definitely help him take a step forward.
(AP Photo/Chris Szagola)
We don’t love the cross-division move, but Jalen Hurts sure could use a mentor, and it seems like Carson Wentz is going to be gone by the start of the 2021 season.