The Washington Football Team plans to let the NFL’s 2020 comeback player of the year, quarterback Alex Smith, depart this offseason as the organization reconfigures the position group, a person with knowledge of the situation confirmed to USA TODAY Sports on Monday.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the situation.
The move doesn’t come as a surprise despite the inspirational campaign that Smith orchestrated last season, returning from a devastating 2018 broken leg to play for the first time midway through the season before leading Washington on a run to the NFC East title.
Smith, who turns 37 in May, has a $24.4 million cap hit for 2021. Though he provided a steadying force to the offense, his mobility was indeed limited because of the injury – which required 17 surgeries to repair, including the insertion of a titanium rod in his tibia and the transferal of muscles from his calf area to the front of his leg.
Smith missed four of last season’s final five games, including Washington’s playoff defeat to the eventual champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers, with an injury related to that surgically altered calf.
Smith recently revealed to “GQ” that Washington did not want him to return in 2020.
“When I decided to come back, I definitely threw a wrench in the team’s plan,” he told the magazine. “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.
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“Mind you, it was a whole new regime,” Smith continued. “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. At that point, as you can imagine, everything I’d been through, I couldn’t have cared less about all that. Whether you like it or not, I’m giving this a go at this point.”
He maintains a desire to play in 2021, but Washington has other plans for its QB depth chart. In addition to re-signing Taylor Heinicke, who started in the playoff game, Washington is expected to draft a quarterback and sign a veteran in free agency or acquire one via trade.
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