Alex Smith, with $16 million guaranteed salary, will make the Washington roster

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Reports are emerging that quarterback Alex Smith has earned a spot on the Washington 53-man roster. It’s for good reason: Washington will pay Alex Smith $16 million this year, whether he’s on the team or not.

Smith’s 2020, guaranteed for injury at signing, became guaranteed for skill, injury, and salary cap on March 17. Because Smith couldn’t have passed a physical on March 17, the injury guarantee became fully vested.

Besides, Smith still has significant skills, if healthy. And now that he’s participating in 11-on-11 drills, he definitely seems to be healthy. And if he can play like he did before he suffered a badly broken leg that nearly resulted in an amputation and actually put his life in jeopardy, Smith provides a strong insurance policy in the event that Week One starter Dwayne Haskins is injured or ineffective.

The first overall pick in the 2005 draft, Smith has endured coaching changes, a benching, and trades from San Francisco to Kansas City and then to Washington. The contract he signed after joining Washington ties the two sides together for at least one more year. Come 2021, it will be interesting to see whether Smith get a chance to become the starter for a fourth NFL team.