Alex Smith (QB)

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 NFL.com 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.

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Latest On Jay Gruden, Alex Smith

It is difficult to blame Redskins head coach Jay Gruden for the team’s slide out of the playoff race this year given the spate of injuries that he has had to contend with, but he was mentioned as a hot seat candidate before the season even began — despite a 2017 campaign that was also marred by injury — so it stands to reason that his future with the club is questionable at best. Indeed, Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network (video link) reports that Washington’s assistant coaches have become increasingly worried about their own futures, and a number of them have made calls around the league to determine what other options they might have in 2019.

Rapoport makes it clear that the team has made no decision on Gruden one way or another, though the behind-the-scenes activity RapSheet is describing does not paint a very promising picture. Gruden, though, is likely to land on his feet as a coordinator or perhaps even as a head coach in 2019, and he says he is not allowing his future distract him. Gruden said (via John Keim of ESPN.com), “It doesn’t weigh on me at all. I’ll wait to get final word when the season is over.” 

Gruden is under contract through the 2020 campaign thanks to a two-year extension signed in 2016 that includes $10MM in fully-guaranteed money, but he is already the longest-tenured head coach that the team has had under owner Dan Snyder, and assuming Josh Johnson does not pull off a miraculous stretch run, the Redskins will miss the playoffs for the third consecutive year. And, as might be expected when a team is going through the type of struggles the Redskins are battling, there is a perception that Gruden has lost the locker room, though he adamantly refutes that notion.

The team’s season really went south, of course, when starting quarterback Alex Smith suffered a brutal leg injury in November. Per Keim and Adam Schefter of ESPN.com, Smith has finally been released from the hospital, and while there is still of course no certainty as to whether he will be able to resume his playing career, the prognosis is encouraging. If Smith were unable to play again, the Redskins would be dealing with a potentially calamitous financial and on-field situation, which Gruden may be happy to get out of.

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Redskins Discussed Colin Kaepernick; Latest On Team’s QB Outlook

The Redskins saw their once-promising 2018 season take a nosedive when starting QB Alex Smith broke his tibia and fibia in a loss to the Texans last month. Washington lost its next two games and also saw its backup signal-caller, Colt McCoy, suffer a season-ending injury of his own. So while the Redskins are technically still alive in the NFC playoff race, they now have to find a way to qualify for the postseason with Mark Sanchez under center.

The team recently signed Josh Johnson to serve as Sanchez’s backup, but Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports that the Redskins did discuss Colin Kaepernick before signing Johnson. Washington head coach Jay Gruden said Kaepernick was “talked about and discussed,” but the team ultimately did not reach out to him (in fact, Schefter says that no club has contacted Kaepernick to gauge his interest or arrange a workout this year).

Gruden, of course, said that the decision to not pursue Kaepernick was a purely football one. He said the Redskins would have needed to change their offense too much to accommodate Kaepernick’s skill set, and that it may have been a different story if the team needed a new QB in Week 1 rather than Week 14. He did suggest that Kaepernick, who has not played a regular season snap in nearly two years, would have been a backup to Sanchez anyway and would not have been a candidate for the starting job. Gruden said, “[w]hen you’re talking about a backup quarterback this late in the game you want someone with a similar skill set to the quarterback you have. Not that Colin can’t do some of the things we’ve talked about, but we want someone with a little more familiarity.”

Speaking of Smith, Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reports that the 34-year-old remains in the hospital (video link). Smith suffered an infection stemming from the above-referenced injury and had to undergo another procedure as a result. Rapoport suggests that Smith is still battling the infection, and no one has been able to definitively say that Smith will be able to play football again. At the very least, he seems highly unlikely to be ready for the start of the 2019 season, so the Redskins will need to acquire a QB either via free agency or the draft.

Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap.com explores Smith’s contract situation and the Redskins’ options with respect to that contract in excellent detail. Ultimately, he suggests that Washington may have to defer as much as much as $27.2MM to future years just to have enough money to conduct business in the 2019 and 2020 seasons, and the entire article is well-worth a read, especially for Redskins fans.

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Latest On Alex Smith

Alex Smith‘s future in the NFL remains uncertain, and the 14th-year quarterback continues to undergo surgical procedures.

A report earlier this week indicated Smith was dealing with an infection, which stemmed from his broken leg puncturing skin. But the 34-year-old passer had another operation done to remove implants inserted into his leg, and Mike Garafolo of NFL.com reports (video link) the infection caused this latest surgery.

Since suffering a gruesome leg injury, Smith has undergone nearly six surgeries, Garafolo reports. However, the former No. 1 overall pick remains optimistic about resuming his career.

Initially, Smith was facing a six- to eight-month recovery timetable. That would have put him on track to return in time for the Redskins’ 2019 training camp. The latest news appears to amend that rehab timeline, and Smith’s 2019 season could be in jeopardy. The former 49ers and Chiefs quarterback is signed through the 2022 season, with ’19 being the first year on his latest extension. Washington guaranteed Smith $55MM at signing.

The 6-6 Redskins have gone from a Smith-Colt McCoy depth chart to Mark SanchezJosh Johnson. McCoy suffered a fractured fibula but is under contract in 2019, unlike the in-season injury replacements.

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NFC East Rumors: Redskins, Cowboys, Eagles

Redskins quarterback Alex Smith is currently battling a leg infection in his broken fibula and tibia, but he’s still optimistic about resuming his playing career, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Doctors are removing tissue to clear the infection, but the issue remains extremely serious. Smith’s broken bone punctured his skin, which can result in increased likelihood of infection even though Smith underwent immediate surgery. Washington is now down to its third quarterback of the season in Mark Sanchez, as No. 2 Colt McCoy is also done for the year after suffering a fractured fibula of his own.

Here’s more from the NFC East:

  • Although Sean Lee himself has indicated he’ll be ready to play on Sunday, the Cowboys may hold out the veteran linebacker until Week 15, per Rapoport (Twitter link). When he does return, Dallas will need to decide how to divvy up its snaps in the second level of its defense. Lee, of course, is a superstar when on the field, but Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith are both immensely capable, as well. Pro Football Focus grades both Vander Esch and Smith as top-seven linebackers league-wide, and Vander Esch is in consideration for Defensive Rookie of the Year. Given that NFL clubs are using nickel (two-linebacker) packages on more than two-thirds of plays, one of the Cowboys’ ‘backers will have to take a back seat.
  • Although he’s now the Redskinsbackup quarterback, Josh Johnson still intends to play for the Alliance of American Football’s San Diego Fleet in spring 2019, tweets Rapoport. Johnson was protected as the first overall pick in a recent AAF draft, and he’ll suit up when the league begins its season next year. One of several quarterbacks — including Landry Jones and Ryan Mallett — who worked out for Washington after Smith went down, Johnson had the edge given his history with head coach Jay Gruden. He’s the only signal-caller behind Sanchez on the Redskins’ depth chart.
  • The Eagles‘ offensive struggles shouldn’t be blamed on offensive coordinator Mike Groh, argues Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Groh, notably, doesn’t call the plays in Philadelphia, as head coach Doug Pederson holds those duties. The Eagles suffered a major brain drain this offseason, losing both ex-OC Frank Reich to the Colts and ex-QBs coach John DeFilippo to the Vikings, and now rank just 20th in offensive DVOA after finishing eighth a season ago.

Redskins’ Alex Smith Battling Leg Infection

Redskins quarterback Alex Smith is battling an infection in his broken fibula and tibia, sources tell Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). It’s a serious matter and one that could potentially threaten his playing future. 

[RELATED: Latest On Reuben Foster]

When Smith suffered the gruesome injury against the Texans, his broken bone punctured his skin. The nature of the injury increased the likelihood for infection and that’s exactly what happened, even though Smith underwent immediate surgery to lessen the chance of that happening.

Smith, 34, posted the best campaign of his NFL career in 2017 as a member of the Chiefs before being shipped to the Redskins for a third-round pick and cornerback Kendall Fuller. Smith had reverted to his conservative ways in Washington and his yards per attempt average dropped by more than a yard from 2017-18. Among the 26 quarterbacks with at least 250 attempts, Smith ranked 19th in adjusted net yards per attempt and 20th in passer rating at the time of the injury.

The Redskins turned to Colt McCoy after the injury, but McCoy is likely done for the year after suffering a fractured fibula of his own. Mark Sanchez is now under center for Washington with the newly-signed Josh Johnson as his backup.

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Latest On Redskins QB Alex Smith

Quarterback Alex Smith will need 6-8 months to recover from the broken leg he suffered on Sunday, according to head coach Jay Gruden. It’s far from ideal, but the injury is not expected to threaten his career, and that’s good news considering the gruesome nature of the break. 

When Smith went down against the Texans, his broken bone actually punctured his skin, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. The 34-year-old will face a lengthy and painful rehab process, but the timeline estimated by doctors would put him in line to suit up for training camp in 2019.

The injury sounds like a career-ender to the layman, but as Dr. David Chao writes for the San Diego Union-Tribune, the bone puncturing the skin merely increases the likelihood for infection. Smith underwent immediate surgery to lessen the chance of that happening, however, and modern medicine should take care of the rest.

Thanks to the four-year contract extension he signed in 2018, 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 and his $16MM base salary will be fully guaranteed by remaining on the roster on the fifth day of the 2019 league year.

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Redskins QB Alex Smith Breaks Tibia, Fibia

Redskins quarterback Alex Smith was carted off the field during today’s game against the Texans after suffering a gruesome leg injury. Following the contest, head coach Jay Gruden announced Smith broke his tibia and fibia and will require immediate surgery.

With Smith out for the rest of Sunday’s contest against the Texans (and presumably for the remainder of the year), Washington will turn to backup Colt McCoy, who has not attempted a pass since 2015. McCoy is considered one of the NFL’s better No. 2 quarterbacks, and the Redskins even considered deploying him as a starter in recent years, as Mike Florio of Pro football Talk tweets. But he does represent a downgrade from Smith and the 6-3 Redskins, who are currently leading the NFC East.

Smith, 34, posted the best campaign of his NFL career in 2017 as a member of the Chiefs before being shipped to the nation’s capital in exchange for a third-round pick and cornerback Kendall Fuller. Smith had reverted to his conservative ways in Washington, as his yards per attempt had dropped by more than a yard from 2017-18. Among the 26 quarterbacks with at least 250 attempts, Smith ranks 19th in adjusted net yards per attempt and 20th in passer rating.

Smith and McCoy are the only signal-callers on the Redskins’ roster, as the club traded third-stringer Kevin Hogan to the Broncos prior to the regular season. Washington doesn’t have a quarterback on its practice squad, either, so it could dip into a free agent market that includes Sam Bradford, Matt Moore, Mark Sanchez, Paxton Lynch, and Nathan Peterman as they aim to find a new backup.

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East Notes: Smith, Pryor, Giants

Although other quarterback deals soon overshadowed this one, the Redskins made a commitment to Alex Smith. And the details of his contract have him entrenched in Washington into the next decade. Smith received a $27MM signing bonus, and his 2018 and ’19 base salaries — $13MM and $15MM, respectively — are also fully guaranteed at signing, Rich Tandler of NBC Sports Washington notes. On the fifth day of the 2019 league year, Smith’s 2020 salary ($16MM) becomes fully guaranteed, per Tandler. So, barring something crazy, the Redskins are essentially tethered to Smith for three seasons. The deal runs through 2022, but non-guaranteed base salaries of $19MM and $21MM are on tap in those respective seasons. Washington would save $13MM by cutting Smith after the 2020 slate. Smith’s contract will call for cap hits of $18.4MM (2018), $20MM (2019), $21.4MM (’20), $24.4MM (’21) and $26.4MM (’22).

Here’s the latest from the East divisions as teams sit midway through their OTA calendar.

  • Former Redskins receiver Terrelle Pryor has run into more injury trouble, encountering another ankle malady that’s sidelined him from Jets OTAs. But Todd Bowles said, via Calvin Watkins of Newsday, this latest issue is unrelated to the one that forced him to undergo surgery while a member of the Redskins. The Jets have a host of wide receivers under contract, and Pryor is attempting to carve out a role and rebound from his poor performance in Washington.
  • Speaking of wideouts, the Giants may not be necessarily done adding talent at that position. When asked earlier this month if the Giants had their No. 3 wide receiver on their roster, Pat Shurmur said, via Tom Rock of Newsday, “I don’t know.” This was before New York added Russell Shepard in the latter stages of free agency. But Big Blue signed Cody Latimer, and he’s been playing on the outside in that No. 3 role during OTAs, per Rock. Shepard likely represents Latimer’s top competition for this job, barring another outside hire. The Giants cut Brandon Marshall, and Dez Bryant‘s been mentioned as wanting to join this receiving contingent. They have $8.3MM in cap space.
  • Shurmur is hoping Eli Apple can rebound from what’s been a rough start to his career, and he’s not going to hold what the 2016 first-rounder did during the previous regime against him. “You hear things,” Shurmur said (via Rock) regarding Apple’s past behavior, “but I’m sure glad that I truly believe in a clean slate. He’s been nothing but professional; he’s been out here competing. He’s one of the guys that has been here almost every single day, and I haven’t seen anything that somebody might have thought I heard. He’s been greatIn terms of his stature, his skill set, yeah, he’s what you’re looking for.” The Giants cut Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and did not use a draft pick on a corner. They signed William Gay, Teddy Williams and B.W. Webb, however. But Apple could well have a promising route to a starting job despite the tumultuous 2017.

Chiefs Didn’t View Broncos As Smith Option

Although Andy Reid has dealt a starting quarterback to a team in his division before, sending Donovan McNabb to the Redskins in 2010, the Chiefs did not seriously entertain that notion in fielding offers for Alex Smith.

The two-time defending AFC West champions did not appear to consider the Broncos as a realistic trade destination for Smith, chairman Clark Hunt said (via Mike Klis of 9News).

I think it’s pretty typical in the NFL not to seek trades within the division,’’ Hunt said, via Klis. “That’s pretty standard fare particularly when we’re talking about a high-profile player.”

The Chiefs’ starting quarterback from 2013-17 reportedly drew widespread interest, with as many as six teams contacting the Chiefs. Although the Broncos haven’t been mentioned as one of the suitors, their need for a passer to complement a veteran nucleus would have made the 33-year-old Smith a logical option. But it appears Hunt wasn’t going to seriously entertain a potential Denver offer.

The Broncos’ current power structure got a good look at Smith during his Kansas City tenure. Smith faced the Broncos nine times as a Chief, going 4-5, losing the first five matchups to the then-Peyton Manning-led team before helping turn the tide in the division and helping Kansas City to back-to-back season sweeps in this rivalry series. Patrick Mahomes‘ appearance against the Broncos in Week 17 helped illustrate the direction the Chiefs were going.

The Chiefs ended up acquiring a third-round pick and Kendall Fuller, who has two more years of rookie-deal control.

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