One of the greatest comebacks in NFL history was completed by Washington Football Team quarterback Alex Smith this past season as he nearly died due to complications from a gruesomely broken leg suffered in the 2018 season. Smith started six games for Washington in 2020, going 5-1 SU and 5-0-1 against the spread, and was deservedly named NFL Comeback Player of the Year. However, the NFL is a cutthroat business and Washington will be releasing the 36-year-old for financial reasons. SportsLine offers odds on Smith's next team – but it surely won't be as a starter.
Smith, 37 in May, was to be owed $26.2 million for the 2021 season and releasing him before June 1 will save Washington $14.7 million against the salary cap. Smith said recently that he knew Ron Rivera's coaching staff "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."
Washington already has re-signed Taylor Heinicke and could also re-sign Kyle Allen. The team chased Matthew Stafford and has been linked to the likes of Deshaun Watson and Cam Newton in free agency/via trade. The club also could take a QB with its No. 19 overall pick in the first round of April's draft so there was no room for Smith.
Four teams make immediate potential sense for Smith: Jacksonville, Kansas City, Miami and Chicago – assuming Smith wants to keep playing. He has strongly indicated a desire to and said that his performance last season "only emboldened me that I can play at this level" and "I still feel like I have more left to go gain" on the field.
The three-time Pro Bowler Smith has zero chance to start for the Jaguars, who will be drafting Trevor Lawrence No. 1 overall, but Smith, himself a former No. 1 overall pick, played for new Jags coach Urban Meyer at Utah way back when. He would be a good mentor for Lawrence, and perhaps the Jags could trade current backup Gardner Minshew for a late-round pick. Smith could also mentor Tua Tagovailoa in Miami with Ryan Fitzpatrick a free agent; or the Fins could simply re-sign Fitz.
Of course, Smith was the former starting QB for the Chiefs and actually started in Patrick Mahomes' rookie season of 2017 as Mahomes sat and learned – by all accounts, the two got along very well. "I learned a ton from Alex," Mahomes said previously. "Just seeing how he went about every single day, the game plan, recognizing coverages. He didn't hold anything back from me. He taught me. That's just the type of person he is." K.C. traded Smith after that season to Washington.
Smith hasn't won a Super Bowl (has been in seven playoff games) and there is no better place to chance a ring than with the Chiefs, who are +550 favorites at William Hill Sportsbook to win Super Bowl 56. Chad Henne served as Mahomes' backup in 2020, and he is under contract for 2021 but could be released.
Then there's Chicago, where Matt Nagy likes to collect past-their-prime quarterback whom he has ties to – i.e. Nick Foles. Nagy was the quarterbacks coach in Kansas City from 2013-15 and then the offensive coordinator from 2016-17.
When Smith was named Comeback Player of the Year last month, Nagy sent him a message that read: "Eleven, you're an inspiration to me and an inspiration to so many others. I love you like a brother. I'm proud of you." Bears fans would stage an open revolt, however, if the team's only QB move this offseason was adding Smith to Foles.
How about Smith back to the 49ers to serve as the backup/insurance for Jimmy Garoppolo? San Francisco GM John Lynch last week said the team needs a better backup quarterback behind the injury-prone Jimmy G. Smith could serve in the same role behind inconsistent young Drew Lock in Denver or (also inconsistent) Carson Wentz in Indianapolis.
A team that drafts the likes of BYU's Zach Wilson, Ohio State's Justin Fields, North Dakota State's Trey Lance or Alabama's Mac Jones also could look at Smith to serve as a bridge QB/teacher for next season. New England, for example
Via SportsLine oddsmakers: Favorites to sign QB Alex Smith
- Jaguars +250
- Chiefs +400
- Bears +500
- Broncos +700
- 49ers +800
- Colts +1000
- Patriots +1200
- Dolphins +1500
SportsLine's proven model simulates every college basketball game 10,000 times. It absolutely crushed its March Madness picks in the last tournament, beating nearly 90 percent of all CBS Sports brackets one year after finishing in the top five percent. Join SportsLine now to get winning college basketball picks.