WFT Didn’t Want Alex Smith To Return?

Where (and if) Alex Smith will play in 2021 remains an open question. If the 36-year-old QB returns to the Washington Football Team, he will need to do so on a reworked contract. WFT could also release him, thereby clearing nearly $15MM off its books, but the team would need to find a suitable replacement first.

Smith’s return from a horrific injury suffered in November 2018 was one of the best stories of last season, and though he didn’t light the world on fire, Washington did go 5-1 in games that he started. The club finagled a division title thanks to their strong finish with Smith at the helm, and there was no reason to believe that there might be bad blood between WFT and the veteran signal-caller.

But in a recent interview with Clay Skipper of GQ, Smith said the team initially did not want him back. “When I decided to come back, I definitely threw a wrench in the team’s plan,” Smith said. “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.”

He did not mention anyone by name, but he said the “new regime” — led by head coach Ron Rivera, who was hired last January — viewed him as a liability. He continued, “[T]hey tried to put me on PUP for two weeks, then they tried to IR me. I felt like I still hadn’t had my fair shake at that point. I wanted to see if I could play quarterback and play football, and I feel like I hadn’t been given that opportunity yet to find that out.”

Ultimately, Smith said he and the team “worked through all that stuff,” but one wonders why WFT was opposed to having him return. After all, his 2020 salary of $16MM was fully guaranteed, so it wouldn’t have made any sense to release him, and his career accomplishments dwarf those of Dwayne Haskins — a player the new regime was also unhappy to inherit — and Rivera import Kyle Allen. Rivera’s presence added immediate legitimacy to an organization that badly needed it in the wake of the Bruce Allen years, but Smith’s comments recall the type of dysfunction that has long plagued Dan Snyder‘s outfit.

We recently heard that Smith was unlikely to retire, and while he reiterated in the GQ interview that he has a lot of football left in him, he still needs to “have a very real conversation” with his wife about the matter. So at this point, it seems that retirement remains on the table.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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15 comments on “WFT Didn’t Want Alex Smith To Return?

  1. arty!

    Shocking news, after 17 surgeries a football team doesn’t want you back!?

    Feel good story for the ages, but take care of your family Alex and retire.

    • arty!

      Classless comment? I guess you missed Alex’s story, here’s the Cliff Notes version. He grossly had his leg broken. There was talk in all sports media that amputation was discussed. Many of the 17 surgeries were do to infections. And NFL is one of the most physically demanding sports we know.

      So yeah, looking at that from a team perspective, I fully understand why any team would be hesitant to bring back a player after that ordeal.

  2. manos

    “Find a suitable replacement first”? Really? It’s a great story that he came back and all and I’m rooting for the guy but let’s be honest, it wouldn’t be that hard to replace him.

    • Rory Parks

      Yes. As other reports have indicated, they aren’t going to release him if they don’t pick up an established vet or use a high-end draft pick on a QB. “Suitable” doesn’t necessarily mean All-Pro.

  3. Appalachian_Outlaw

    The WFT doesn’t know what they want, which has long been a problem there. That franchise is so poorly run. They didn’t want Haskins, and now it comes out they didn’t want Smith… and yet they did decently well with Smith.

  4. fuchholz

    how could they not want a guy can throw the ball without gripping the laces

  5. kevin

    that’s messed up to do someone who put it all out there for u and got hurt bad . I mean you should give the guy a chance then evaluate him . but to just basically say ah we don’t want u now that u had that many surgeries is messed up.

    I get the regime change but an established player coming back from a bad injury u give the guy respect and see what he’s got.

    I mean at worst case he gets hurt or isn’t as good and is a backup and a mentor for ur younger qbs . I mean he was getting paid as it was

  6. fathead0507

    He’s not a starting caliber QB anymore.. that’s why they or is fans want him back at $25mill cap .. he’s 38yr so he’s well past his prime as well..

  7. Clevelandallday

    I’m not saying he doesn’t have his limitations. But there is one stat that has to mean something. He was 5-1. Not really sure who they think they can bring in to replace him that will be better. In my view this is a weak quarterback class outside of Lawrence. Maybe Fitzpatrick can be argued but unless they pull off a unforeseen trade for a good quarterback I think Smith is still the best option for them.

  8. crosseyedlemon

    Washington didn’t want Alex Smith back but they wanted HC Ray Flaherty back after he lost the 1940 title game to the Bears 73-0. Ouch!

  9. badco44

    Bottom line is he will get cut simple because he can’t take hits anymore and has very little movement n the pocket. You can’t expect to be paid top money, and your QB life expectancy be so low… good luck with your future Alex and try to have some class along the way. Remember, this is a business and the team has to do what’s best for the team…. period

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