2020’s NFL Comeback Player of the year winner QB Alex Smith is hitting free agency and searching for a new landing spot following his release from the Washington Football Team. After teams were reminded how vital the QB is to success, where are some potential landing spots that we could see Alex Smith sign with during free agency?
As Alex Smith looks for a new landing spot during free agency, someone needs to be working on his movie
I mean, honestly, find me a better story than that of Alex Smith and his incredible comeback. For those who watched the ESPN 30 for 30 called “Project 11” that Stephania Bell put on, you got a taste of how arduous this task was.
To go from his gruesome injury in 2018 to battling for his life, the recovery, and ultimately getting back to the NFL, was incredible. And Alex Smith did not just get back; he played pretty damn well, too, all things considered.
Seeing his first action in Week 10, Alex Smith started six games for Washington during the regular season. Smith completed 168 of 252 passes (66.7%) for 1,582 yards and 6 touchdowns.
Since his selection in the 2005 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers, Alex Smith will do something he never has before, hit free agency. Washington’s decision to release Alex Smith saves Washington $14.7 million in salary cap, with $8.6 million in dead money.
Podcast: More than Football with Trey Wingo Note: This article continues after the podcast player. To subscribe to More than Football with Trey Wingo and Brett Yarris, find us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast player.
Will a reduced salary cap impact the free-agent QBs pursuing new landing spots in 2021?
Due to lost revenue of the 2020 season, the NFL salary cap took a massive hit. While it has yet to be nailed down, current estimations have the salary cap at around the $185.5 million range. Earlier in the year, the NFL and NFLPA agreed on a floor of $180 million. There is a chance, however, we see it creep closer to $190 million.
Because of the loss of revenue and lower salary cap, teams will have to make difficult decisions regarding veterans. When it comes to quarterbacks, this is massive as they draw the highest salaries.
However, now that Dak Prescott is officially off the table, there are no “big-name” free agents at QB. That includes former Washington Football Team QB Alex Smith. Nevertheless, this won’t keep teams from calling Alex Smith, hoping to land him as someone who can fill the hole due to underproduction the year prior.
As we saw in 2020, having a guy who can come in and maintain the offense provides a massive advantage. Someone like former Washington Football Team QB Alex Smith could be that guy for an organization, if not a bridge-starter. At the same time, that would require Alex Smith to be receptive to that idea which all indications are he wants to be a starter, not a plan B.
As he hits free agency, where are some potential landing spots for Alex Smith in 2021?
Could the Chicago Bears be a potential landing spot as a reunion in free agency for Alex Smith?
While it might seem like ages ago, there is familiarity for both Washington QB Alex Smith and Bears HC Matt Nagy that could help draw interest. He served as Smith’s quarterback coach and offensive coordinator with Kansas City.
Mitch Trubisky is a free agent, and given the rumors of a Nick Foles’ trade, it’s safe to say they are open to other options. Bears general manager Ryan Pace said, “everything is on the table,” referencing Chicago’s future at quarterback. Both Pace and Nagy are on the hot-seat, and bringing on Alex Smith in free agency could be a move the Bears take a shot on in 2021.
Could the Jacksonville Jaguars be a potential landing spot for former Washington QB Alex Smith in free agency?
This one might surprise a few people. Sitting with the number one overall pick in the draft, Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence‘s name is already on the card. But does Head Coach Urban Meyer want him starting from Day 1?
According to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport, this is a genuine possibility. Meyer was Alex Smith’s coach at Utah, and Smith could be an extremely valuable teacher to Lawrence. There have been rumors circulating of the Jaguars trading Gardner Minshew as well. Adding Smith would allow them to slow-play Lawrence’s debut while adding a more than competent backup. Furthermore, it gives Jacksonville the ability to deal Minshew to gain more assets.
Is Denver a landing spot as someone who could pursue Alex Smith in free agency?
Depending on who you ask, everyone has a different opinion on Denver Broncos QB Drew Lock. There is a camp that believes he needs another year to prove himself. Then, there is an even louder group that wants to move on from the Missouri product. Even though he only played in 13 games, Lock led the NFL with 15 interceptions, throwing for 2,933 yards and 16 touchdowns.
If Alex Smith chose Denver as a landing spot, he would compete with Lock for the QB1 spot in camp. While I am personally in the Pro-Lock camp, Smith and his veteran presence could be a welcome sign for the Broncos’ offense that is teeming with talent.
Alex Smith could choose New England as a landing spot in free agency
It is no secret the Cam Newton experiment failed. As they sit without a franchise QB, bringing in someone like Alex Smith in free agency makes sense.
According to Spotrac, the Patriots have the third-most cap space at $72.61 million. Bringing in Alex Smith in free agency would likely not cost very much (less than $12 AAV), and the team could allocate that money across the rest of their needs. Particularly, a pass catcher or an attempt to keep G Joe Thuney on the team in 2021.
Want more NFL news and analysis?
Be sure to follow us on Twitter (@PFN365) to stay up to date with all things around the NFL. Also, continue to visit Pro Football Network for NFL news and in-depth analysis concerning the 2021 season and beyond.