Alex Smith (QB)

NFC East Notes: Redskins, Smith, Cowboys, Prescott

With graphic details and graphic images,’s Elizabeth Smith and Stephania Bell bring us the story of Alex Smith‘s gruesome injury and his road to recovery.

“Our first priority is we’re going to save his life,” a hospital worker said to Alex’s wife, Elizabeth, just days after the injury. “And then we’re going to do our best to save his leg. And anything beyond that is a miracle.”

Smith said that he feels “very much lucky to be alive” after the horrific injury and ensuing sepsis infection. And, after celebrating his 36th birthday in May, the Redskins quarterback is working towards an NFL return. Mrs. Smith, meanwhile, is conflicted.

When I think about Alex returning to football, there’s part of me that wants him to do whatever he has the inner drive to do. If that means stepping back on the football field and throwing on those pads, then I want him to prove that to himself. But obviously there’s part of me asking, “‘Is it worth ever doing that again? Do you know what we just went through?'”

Here’s more on the Redskins, the Redskins’ quarterback situation, and the rest of the NFC East:

  • Talk of Tua Tagovailoa going to the Redskins didn’t bother starter Dwayne Haskins.“Throughout the whole process Ron [Rivera] was just telling me to trust him,” Haskins said (via JP Finlay of NBC Sports). “I did so it worked out.” The Redskins were long expected to take Chase Young with the No. 2 pick, but there were Tua rumblings on draft week. Ultimately, they took the Ohio State edge rusher and passed on the Alabama star.
  • If the Cowboys can’t work out an extension with Dak Prescott by July 15th, they’ll have to wait until after the 2020 season to resume negotiations. That deadline puts some serious pressure on the team to get something done with their beloved QB, but COO Stephen Jones says he won’t break the budget. “There’s all sorts of analytics out there that show if your quarterback takes up too big a percentage of your salary cap, it decreases your chances to win,” Jones said (via PFT). “We’re just trying to figure out the right fit. No one wants to sign Dak to a longer term deal more than Jerry and myself. We’re on the record time and time again on what we think of him as a leader. He has the ‘it’ factor. He’s a fierce competitor. He wants to win as well, and it’s just gotta be right for him and right for us.”
  • The Cowboys are feeling really, really good about their Day 2 and Day 3 haul in the draft, Todd Archer of writes. Before the draft, they had a “high-second-round” grade on cornerback Trevon Diggs – they landed him at No. 51 overall. They assigned a second-round grade to defensive tackle Neville Gallimore, and snagged him in the third. In the fourth round, they see yet another steal – the scouting department gave center Tyler Biadasz a high-third-round score and snagged him with the last pick of the fourth round. Time will tell, but the Cowboys are doing cartwheels over their 2020 middle-round choices.
  • Carlos Hyde, who racked up 1,000+ yards rushing in Houston last year, is still available. The Eagles are interested, but they only want him at the right price.
  • Recently, the Giants reworked Cooper Rush‘s contract to dial down his base pay but also give him a chunk of guaranteed money. That may bode well for his odds of making the roster, but he’s got lots of competition.

Alex Smith: ‘Lucky To Be Alive’ After Leg Condition

Alex Smith‘s long road back to a potential NFL comeback might not end up coming to fruition, but the Redskins quarterback considers himself “very much lucky to be alive” after the infection and numerous surgeries that became required on his broken leg.

Information about Smith’s surgery history has continued to trickle out over the past year and change, but the veteran passer revealed during an appearance on ESPN’s Outside the Lines (via’s Stephania Bell) he developed sepsis. The potentially life-threatening condition stemmed from the infection Smith encountered, and the possibility of leg amputation was very real following the November 2018 injury.

[The] next thing I remember is waking up several weeks later faced with the decision of amputation or limb salvage at that point,” Smith said during the interview of a choice presented to him weeks after the injury.

The former 49ers and Chiefs quarterback opted for numerous surgeries to save his injured leg. Smith suffered a compound right tibia fracture and a right fibula fracture. The most recent information indicated Smith underwent 17 operations on the leg since suffering the injuries during a Redskins-Texans game in November 2018.

Smith since overcame the infection and has made strides over the past 14 months. He remains interested in returning to action, and Ron Rivera brought up the injured passer’s name unprompted during a recent interview.

I also don’t want to forget Alex Smith,” Rivera said during an appearance on The Team 980’s Doc & Galdi show. “Here’s a guy that’s doing everything he can to come back, and if Alex can come back and be the player that he was, we have a good situation; we [would] have competition at that position.”

Smith, who will turn 36 in May, is on Washington’s payroll at $21.4MM in 2020. His $16MM 2020 base salary is fully guaranteed. Dwayne Haskins remains expected to be the Redskins’ Week 1 quarterback.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Redskins Rumors: Snyder, Rivera, Kerrigan

Although since-fired team president Bruce Allen took most of the heat for the Redskins’ personnel decisions during the 2010s, Dan Snyder has continued to play a role in the franchise’s football operations. Allen was also believed to be on the side of drafting Dwayne Haskins, but John Keim and Jason Reid of write Snyder appeared to lead that charge — even though the owner once criticized for his big-ticket moves has contributed less input on that front in recent years. Some in Washington’s building placed a third-round grade on Haskins, per Keim and Reid. Haskins was viewed as a first-round pick for most of the pre-draft process. While Ron Rivera is expected to have more control over Redskins personnel matters than Jay Gruden, sources informed the ESPN duo they still expect Snyder to be involved.

Here is the latest out of Washington:

  • New defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio confirmed the Redskins will shift back to a 4-3 base defense, Les Carpenter of the Washington Post notes. Both Rivera and Del Rio have used 4-3 bases for most of their respective careers, so this should come as no surprise. However, Snyder is believed to have made this a point of emphasis, per Keim and Reid. The Redskins have not deployed a 4-3 base defense in 11 seasons, though with teams’ increased nickel usage, transitions in front-seven schemes are not as significant as they once were. This will make Washington’s starting lineup interesting, however, with the team having three talented interior defenders — Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne and 2019 sack leader Matt Ioannidis — up front.
  • Ryan Kerrigan just completed a down year, registering a career-low 5.5 sacks and missing the first two games of his career. The productive Redskins edge defender is going into a contract year, but Keim tweets Kerrigan and previous Redskins management had engaged in extension talks in 2019. Kerrigan, 31, would like to stay with Washington on a third contract.
  • Rather than retirement, Alex Smith will continue his efforts to return to the field. The Redskins quarterback has missed the past 22 games because of a gruesome leg injury that required numerous surgeries. “I still have dreams of getting back to where I was and getting back out there,” Smith said, via NBC Sports Washington’s Ethan Cadeaux. “This has been a crazy ride with a lot of unforeseen turns, but without a doubt, that’s still my goal.” Smith, 35, is set to count $21.4MM against Washington’s cap this season. No cap savings can come of a Smith release until 2021.

NFC East Notes: Cowboys, Redskins, Eagles

The Cowboys may be without their top wide receiver when they face the Eagles in a key NFC East battle on Sunday night. Amari Cooper left Sunday’s loss to the Jets after only three snaps due to a quadriceps injury, and while the issue isn’t getting any worse, it could derail his availability for Week 7, according to Todd Archer of (Twitter link). Despite missing nearly all of Week 6, Cooper still ranks fifth in the NFL in receiving yards (515) and is tied for second with five receiving touchdowns. Cooper hasn’t practiced this week, another indication that he’ll be either out or limited for Dallas’ showdown with Philadelphia.

Here’s more from around the NFC East:

  • Redskins quarterback Alex Smith has undergone an astounding 17 surgeries on his broken right leg, as Thom Loverro of the Washington Times writes. Last December, a report indicated Smith had gone under the knife six times, so either that report was inaccurate, or Smith has undergone an additional 11 surgeries this calendar year. Ben Standing of The Athletic caught Smith throwing with team officials at Fedex Field on Monday, an encouraging sign. Smith, who was confined to a wheel chair for four months post-surgeries, indicated as recently as June that he wants to play in the NFL again.
  • Under interim head coach Bill Callahan, the Redskins are making a number of changes, and the club is feeling more upbeat as a result, per Ian Rapoport of One such change was making quarterback Colt McCoy a healthy scratch against the Dolphins on Sunday, reports Albert Breer of McCoy, who started Washington’s Week 5 loss to the Patriots, is possibly viewed as former head coach Jay Gruden‘s “guy,” per Breer, which may have played a role in his inactive status. McCoy joined the Redskins in 2014, the same year as Gruden.
  • Eagles cornerback Ronald Darby returned as a limited practice participant on Wednesday, tweets Mike Kaye of Darby has missed Philadelphia’s past three games after suffering a hamstring injury against the Lions in Week 3. The Eagles can use all the help they can get at cornerback — they’ve given up the most touchdowns to wide receivers of any team in the NFL (11), and only the Buccaneers have allowed more yardage to opposing wideouts.

NFC Notes: Zeke, Buckner, A. Smith

Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott is definitely considering a holdout, though Yahoo’s Charles Robinson reports that Elliott has not yet made up his mind one way or another. However, Robinson acknowledged earlier today (via Twitter) that the situation could go sideways fast. He writes that the club has discussed an extension for Elliott for a month or so, but those talks have not progressed in any meaningful way, so Elliott is now exploring his options.

Critically, Robinson notes that Elliott must report to training camp by August 6 in order to get a fourth accrued season towards free agency and preserve his right to hold out next summer if he so chooses. That reality gives Dallas a little more leverage, but Robinson also reports that the two sides are still working towards an agreement and that Elliott’s toying with the idea of a holdout has not yet strained the relationship between player and team.

Elliott and his camp will take this week to assess his options. If Elliott agrees to report on time, perhaps the team will assure him that it will prioritize an extension for him before the regular season. To date, a new deal for Elliott has not been on the top of Dallas’ to-do list.

We rounded up some NFC notes earlier today, and now we’ll dive into more items from the National Football Conference:

  • Vaughn McClure of says that Grady Jarrett‘s 2019 salary cap number will shrink to $11MM as a result of the extension he signed today. That will give the Falcons just shy of $11MM in cap space, which will help them sign Deion Jones to a new deal (Jones’ $1.45MM 2019 cap number will almost certainly go up if and when the club inks him to an extension of his own).
  • The last we heard, the 49ers and DeForest Buckner had not made much progress in extension talks, and Joel Corry of CBS Sports says that the contract San Francisco gave to Dee Ford after acquiring him via trade could be complicating Buckner negotiations (Twitter link). The club is set on using a team-friendly structure just like it always does — and just as it did with Ford — and it will not change its M.O. for Buckner, which is surely a sticking point for 2016’s No. 7 overall pick.
  • Kevin Patra of reports that Redskins QB Alex Smith was able to shed the external fixator that had been keeping his leg in place since the horrific injury he suffered last year, an injury that has put his playing career in serious jeopardy. But Smith is committed to returning to the field, and this is a big step in his recovery.
  • Seahawks RB C.J. Prosise may be a release candidate, but Seattle head coach Pete Carroll says the oft-injured tailback is very much in the mix for a roster spot. Carroll said, per John Boyle of, “[Prosise] has been fit throughout, he’s really strong, worked out really hard in the offseason to get his strength right, and his weight is up, but he’s fit and has really been able to do a little bit of everything. So to add him into the competition is really nice. So we’re fired up about C.J. being back.”

Alex Smith Interested In Playing Again

The Redskins have essentially ruled out Alex Smith for the 2019 season. He has undergone several surgeries to repair his gruesome leg injury and remains without a timetable to return to practice.

But the 35-year-old quarterback has not announced intentions to retire yet. Smith wants to give what will be a daunting comeback a go but indicated he his a long ways off.

That’s the plan,” Smith said, during an interview with Fox5DC’s Angie Goff (video link), of making a comeback. “I got to conquer some more steps before I get there. Learn to run again. But yeah, I’m already throwing. Throwing’s not a problem. I feel like I can throw, but dropping, moving around, change of direction … the stronger I get every week, the more I do, the more hopeful I am that (coming back) is a real possibility.”

Infections and around a half-dozen procedures have Smith wearing an external fixator on his injured leg. But Smith said he is walking now and has been able to play golf. This comes after he was confined to a wheelchair for four months post-surgeries. He has resumed throwing passes at the Redskins facility, though those activities have obviously come with considerable movement restrictions.

While Smith is still tethered to the four-year, $94MM extension he signed last year, one that has him taking up $20.4MM of Washington’s 2019 cap, the Redskins drafted Dwayne Haskins in the first round and traded for Case Keenum. Smith is signed through 2022.

Next season, Smith’s cap number will rise to $21.4MM. Both Keenum and Colt McCoy will be free agents, so the Redskins will have some decisions to make regarding who will join Haskins in their 2020 quarterback room. NBC Sports Washington’s J.P. Finlay does not see Smith and Haskins coexisting as healthy quarterback options. It would be a tough fit, salary-wise, but the Redskins will have a significant amount of money committed to Smith whether he’s on the team or not. It would cost them more than $32MM in dead money to release Smith next year.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Redskins Expect Alex Smith To Miss The Entire 2019 Season

The Redskins are expecting Alex Smith to miss the entire 2019 season with his leg injury, sources told Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link). Washington’s team president Bruce Allen recently gave an update on Smith’s status to the media, and he didn’t sound overly positive, so this isn’t shocking news.

Allen said the team is going to explore all options with respect to potential new quarterbacks, and also added that the team still likes Colt McCoy. McCoy was initially inserted as the starter when Smith got hurt, but soon went down with a season-ending leg injury of his own. Smith recently made his first public appearance since the gruesome injury, and had a bulky apparatus on his leg.

Soon after Smith got hurt in a Week 11 game against the Texans, news came out that he was battling an infection in his leg. The updates only got worse from there, and we heard last month that he was unlikely to be ready for Week 1 of 2019. With the news that the team is expecting him to miss the entire season, it’s fair to wonder if Smith will ever be able to return, as there has been consistent concern since the injury that it could be career-threatening.

Thanks to the four-year contract extension he signed in 2018 shortly after he was acquired from the Chiefs, Smith is under contract with the Redskins through the 2022 season. The 34-year-old is set to carry a $20.4MM cap number in 2019. The Redskins pick 15th in this Aprils’ draft, and could be a candidate to draft a signal caller. Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins is currently projected to be off the board by then, but Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray and Missouri’s Drew Lock could be potential targets at 15.


Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Injury Updates: Redskins, Smith, Ravens, Jefferson, Texans, Reid

Alex Smith to recover from the devastating leg injury he suffered midway through the 2018 season, and Redskins team president Bruce Allen recently provided an update, per Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. Allen didn’t sound overly confident in Smith’s prospects of being ready for 2019, saying “If anyone can come back, it’s Alex”, but finishing with a “we’ll see.” He also left the door open to drafting a quarterback this April, and sounded as if the team is preparing for being without Smith.

He seemed open to the possibility of Colt McCoy starting, saying “we like Colt a lot.” McCoy initially filled in for Smith but soon went down with his own season ending leg injury. He was then replaced by Josh Johnson who looked a lot better than expected, but Allen didn’t mention Johnson at all in his comments. Smith was recently seen out in public for the first time since his injury, wearing a bulky apparatus on his injured leg.

Here are more injury updates from around the league:

  • Recently extended Ravens coach John Harbaugh spoke to the media today, and provided updates on several injured players, per Jamison Hensley of (Twitter link). Harbaugh said guard Alex Lewis, who recently underwent shoulder surgery, should be back by training camp, and that safety Tony Jefferson, linebacker Za’Darius Smith, and cornerback Tavon Young would all be out around 4-6 more weeks, putting them on track for OTA’s.
  • Texans rookie safety Justin Reid had a great rookie season, earning very high marks from Pro Football Focus, and he was playing hurt throughout the year. Reid had been dealing with wrist issues, and he will undergo wrist surgery, per Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. It’s unclear how long he’ll be sidelined, but it doesn’t sound like anything major and he should be ready in time for offseason work.
  • In case you missed it, the 49ers hope to have Jimmy Garoppolo throwing by OTA’s.

NFC East Rumors: Manning, Redskins, Eagles

Eli Manning‘s future with the Giants remains uncertain, and Manning’s agent has yet to hear from the team about his status. While Tom Condon said (via Paul Schwartz of the New York Post) he believes Manning will be back with the Giants for his age-38 season, he has not spoken with team brass about this yet. Both parties are in Mobile, Ala., this week for the Senior Bowl, so a conversation could transpire regarding a Manning 16th season with New York. The Giants have also not expressed any public desire to ask for a Manning pay cut, per Schwartz. The two-time Super Bowl MVP has one more season, at a $23.2MM cap number, remaining on his Giants deal. When asked earlier this month about Manning’s future with the Giants, Dave Gettleman did not commit to the popular quarterback coming back. Manning has not previously played into a contract year.

Here is the latest from the NFC East:

  • A series of leg surgeries have Alex Smith‘s career in doubt, but the Redskins quarterback made his first public appearance since the injury Monday at the Wizards-Pistons game (via NBC Sports Washington, on Twitter). The 34-year-old passer’s injured right leg was heavily supported by an apparatus, with the quarterback also using crutches at the game. Smith underwent nearly six operations because of his severe leg injuries and a subsequent infection.
  • Former Redskins secondary coach will Torrian Gray resurface at Florida, where he will become the Gators’ DBs coach, John Keim of tweets. Washington wants its new hire to become the passing-game coordinator, Keim adds (via Twitter). The Redskins also let linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti leave for the Packers, so Greg Manusky‘s new staff will look a bit different next season.
  • Jason Peters has one more season and a $10.66MM cap number left on his Eagles deal. The reigning Super Bowl champions are navigating the NFL’s worst cap situation, being one of two teams projected to be over the cap (at $14MM-plus over). Despite the team being able to save $8MM by releasing Peters, Reuben Frank of NBC Sports Philadelphia expects the Eagles’ longtime left tackle starter to be back for one more season. Noting seventh-round project Jordan Mailata being too raw to deploy in Peters’ place, Frank sees the Eagles cutting costs elsewhere and bringing back Peters for his age-37 season. While Andrew Whitworth turned 37 last month, no other NFL tackle has played past his 37th birthday since Ray Brown — a full-time guard starter until age 42, when he shifted to tackle, who retired at 43 with the 2005 Redskins.

Alex Smith Unlikely To Be Ready By Week 1

The additional surgeries Alex Smith underwent recently have pushed his best-case timetable back. The Redskins quarterback is not expected to be ready by the time the 2019 regular season begins, Ian Rapoport of reports (video link).

While Smith’s playing future is up in the air, his previous rehab timeline was believed to have him ready for the preseason. The 34-year-old passer, who was released from the hospital last week, has a long road ahead for a potential return to action.

Washington has not yet decided if it wants to draft another quarterback or take the free agent route, per Rapoport.

Smith’s recent extension ties him to Washington through 2023. Colt McCoy has one more season remaining on his contract, but the Redskins may well need to have another starter-level option in the fold. They went the trade route with Smith, and Rapoport throws Joe Flacco into the mix as a possible option in a regional trade. Adding Flacco’s contract on top of Smith’s would be considerably onerous for Washington, however, if a trade is worked out.

Infection-related complications increased Smith’s surgery count to around six, so it’s impossible to determine at this juncture if the former 49ers and Chiefs starter is going to return at all. But the Redskins will have to plan to be without Smith for at least part of the 2019 season, even in the best-case scenario, at this point.

Washington missing the playoffs would bring a mid-first-round pick. While 2019 is not (as of now) viewed as a hotbed for quarterback prospects, the Redskins are still unlikely to be able to draft the prospect pool’s top passer without trading up. However, with Smith’s contract on the books, the team may opt for a Day 2 passer if the decision is made to invest in a rookie. The Redskins acquired Kirk Cousins with a Day 3 pick in 2012.

As for a bridge option in the event Smith is on track to return at some point in 2019 or after, Teddy Bridgewater and Tyrod Taylor are expected to be available. There will be competition for both, however. Washington is projected to hold just more than $17MM in cap space, which ranks 29th at the moment.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.