Smith stepped in for Jalen Ramsey in the midst of the season and posted a 5-1 record as a starter, leading Washington to an unlikely playoff berth––thus earning AP Comeback Player of the Year honors.
But, it’s “time’s up” for Smith in Washington, apparently. Washington has officially decided to part ways with the veteran signal-caller, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported, per league sources.
The Washington Football Team has informed QB Alex Smith that he has been released as expected, setting free the AP Comeback Player of the Year and closing the door on one of the coolest stories in the NFL last season. Smith is believed to still want to play.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 5, 2021
Smith still plans on playing, but where will he end up next? Who know’s yet.
While there have been no reports linking Smith to the Atlanta Falcons, it could be a good place for him to retire.
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Smith Isn’t Done Yet
Smith ended the 2021 season injured once again, sidelined with a lingering calf injury. Taylor Heinicke took over in the Wild Card round, falling to the eventual 2021 Super Bowl champs, the Tampa Bay Bucs.
Early post-season, Smith reflected on 2020 and told The Ringer’s Kyle Brandt that last season “only fueled him more” at giving him one more shot and said he would talk to his wife about coming back in 2021.
“Obviously, it was unfortunate at the end to get the bone contusion and struggling with that the last couple weeks, but for me, it was completely unrelated to obviously my prior injury,” Alex Smith said, when asked about his 2020 season-ending injury. “So I’m excited, I’m excited to see what I can do this offseason. I feel like I’ve got a list of things, football-wise and just life that I want to go do that I’ve been wondering about ever since I broke my leg and wondering if I’d ever do again. I want to go chase those down this offseason.”
Well, the wife seemingly gave him the “OK” and he’s coming back for more and Atlanta could certainly use this motivation in the locker room.
The Falcons Need At Backup
That’s two very important spots to fill. Of course, for one, the Falcons will look to the upcoming NFL Draft for a rookie QB to sit behind Ryan. Then, they should look for a veteran in free agency. That’s where Smith comes in.
Smith is coming off a 2020 season in which he threw for 1,582 yards, with six touchdowns, and eight interceptions in six games.
Washington, realistically, only started Smith because they didn’t have any other option left and the NFC East was terrible this past season, so a playoff berth wasn’t too hard to get. I’m not knocking Smith but he, respectively, would make a very good third-string quarterback for Atlanta. And with Washington’s situation last season, Atlanta shouldn’t feel bad about putting him there. He could also always battle it out with whoever the rookie ends up being for the No. 2 spot. However, the cherry on top is the fact that he isn’t the Deshaun Watson, a high-priced player that most teams are currently dreaming of…he’s pretty washed up, making him very affordable.
What’s better than an affordable, incredibly inspiring veteran to join MVP Matt Ryan in shaping Atlanta’s next franchise QB? Let me know when you know.
The Falcons Would Be Getting A Coach in Smith
Smith was drafted No. 1 overall in the 2005 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers. He eventually lost his starting job to Colin Kaepernick and was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs ahead of the 2013 season.
After the Niners letting go of Smith, head coach Jim Harbaugh admitted that Smith was more of a coach to Kaepernick than he, himself, ever was.
“He’s prepared and been involved in the game planning, in preparations, he’s prepared himself as the starter each week,” Harbaugh said of Smith in 2013 via Pro Football Focus. “That’s what he’s done, that’s what we expect of him and that’s what he has delivered. Another person really to credit in Colin’s success because Alex has really helped coach Colin and has been right there by his side. Sitting there in meetings every single day. He coaches Colin now more than I do, and that speaks high of the kind of person and teammate that Alex Smith is.”
Smith spent five seasons in KC before his role was taken over by a rookie, this time being Patrick Mahomes.
He was, once again, traded to the Washington Football Team in 2018. In his season debut, Smith threw for 255 passing yards and two touchdowns in a win against the Cardinals and he helped lead the Redskins to a 6–3 start before the infamous leg injury.
Despite several setbacks, Smith is not done yet. Let’s do this, Atlanta.