Alex Smith: My comeback threw wrench into WFT’s plans

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After benching Dwayne Haskins and watching Kyle Allen go down with an ankle injury, the Washington Football Team turned to Alex Smith as their starting quarterback.

It was Smith’s first time in that role since the 2018 leg injury that threatened his life and career, but he was able to do well enough that Washington won five of his six starts and won the NFC East title. While having Smith on hand worked out for the team, Smith told Clay Skipper of GQ that he didn’t feel overly welcome when he first told the team he was going to try to play again.

Smith said the team “never thought I was coming back” and that “it wasn’t like open arms” when he said he was planning to return to action.

“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. Mind you, it was a whole new regime, they came in, I’m like the leftovers and I’m hurt and I’m this liability. Heck no, they didn’t want me there. At that point, as you can imagine, everything I’d been through, I couldn’t have cared less about all that. Whether you like it or not, I’m giving this a go at this point.”

Smith had a guaranteed salary of $16 million last season, so there wasn’t much reason for Washington not to give him a shot once he did get cleared to play. He remains under contract for 2021, but the team would only be on the hook for $8.6 million of his $23.3 million cap hit if they decided to move on without him.

There’s been no word on their plans and Smith didn’t say anything definitive about his plans regarding playing in 2021 in the interview, but he did reiterate that he believes he has more to do on the field.

42 responses to “Alex Smith: My comeback threw wrench into WFT’s plans

  1. I don’t think there’s any doubt he helped them “limp” (no pun intended) into the playoffs last year. But as good of a story it was, the play wasn’t stellar and wasn’t going to provide any major come from behind victories against big opponents. The late season “cramping” or whatever it truly was proves he won’t be able to sustain a full season as QB1.

  2. Sounds like he wants out. I’d like to see him reunite with Urban Meyer. If he’s OK backing up a rookie again.

  3. He brought WFT stability and leadership but if that leg doesn’t get stronger he can’t play an 8 game season let alone a 16 game season. Against the Eagles he looked flat out terrible, like it hurt just to move.

  4. *Did Alex just talk his way of the WTF team? Fantastic comeback story of courage and perseverance.

  5. In an odd way Alex Smith’s presence on the roster was a good and bad for the team. The good was saving their season from imploding because of how terrible Haskins was, helping them win the division. The was that if they had lost more games they’d be in better position to draft one of the better QBs in April.
    Making the playoffs for one year, versus potentially losing out on drafting your quarterback for the next dozen years isn’t a just a wrench, it’s an anvil.

  6. I think Ron Rivera is a smart coach. I think he will look at the physical health of Alex Smith and his leadership, look at the free agents available at QB, look at who may be available in the draft, and then decide what direction the WFC need to go.

  7. Haskins should have approached it the same way. New regime didn’t pick him and didn’t want him as the starter, but he could have worked hard to show them he belonged in the NFL. All the negative comments about Smith here seem to be ignoring reality, he can’t talk his way off a team that doesn’t want him. They have multiple backups under contract and are openly pursuing an upgrade at starter.

  8. The WFT was still horrible, do not pat yourself on the back to much. Comeback story was great…..his play was not. Its not like they really had a choice in playing him in the end.

  9. Well….it’s Washington. They aren’t exactly known as an organization with any real leadership or class. At least within the Snyder era.

  10. Gotta give Smith credit, though. I can’t think of anyone who came back from such a horrific injury. Theismann didn’t, Kaufman didn’t. At the time, I was thinking that Smith would be lucky to walk again. Now he’s got another big injury, the chance of returning to the WFT.(And Daniel Snyder.)

  11. We still love Alex Smith, and hope whatever he does after Washington gets him as much success as possible. Come back and back up Mahomes if nothing else!

  12. malcomreynolds says:
    February 23, 2021 at 3:06 pm

    In an odd way Alex Smith’s presence on the roster was a good and bad for the team. if they had lost more games they’d be in better position to draft one of the better QBs in April.

    ===============

    That’s true and you never know what makes more of a difference. Some teams get high draft picks every year and are still lousy. At some point a team has to start believing it can win and is entitled to win. Hopefully that is what can come from Smith’s work (and that of the others who stepped up down the stretch to get them into the playoffs).

  13. I wish Alex Smith only the best. He will be on a team somewhere. You need two QB’s in the NFL these days because your starter at some point is often going to get nicked up or blown up (season ending injury). I didn’t see the QB’s before Smith lighting it up last season so I don’t believe he has seen his better days. He still has gas left in the tank.

  14. I’m glad that Alex did the amazing things that many of us doubted he could do. Imagine if he had been horribly injured again after he came back, and the backlash Ron Rivera, Snyder and everyone else would have received. It was Smith’s choice to come back, but don’t tell me that you didn’t have a sick feeling in your stomach wondering if every play you watched may be his last and whether it was worth it.

  15. His statements are false. If Rivera didn’t want him on the team, he wouldn’t have been. Not sure what he’s talking about.

    The references to Snyder and dysfunction are just old lazy narratives. Rivera was in charge of football operations. We already know if the Cowboys or Eagles had won the division, they would be given credit but if WFT wins it, then there is some excuse or denigration about winning the division. Whatever.

  16. “In an odd way Alex Smith’s presence on the roster was a good and bad for the team. The good was saving their season from imploding because of how terrible Haskins was, helping them win the division. The was that if they had lost more games they’d be in better position to draft one of the better QBs in April.
    Making the playoffs for one year, versus potentially losing out on drafting your quarterback for the next dozen years isn’t a just a wrench, it’s an anvil.”

    This is a losers mentality.

    Its been proven out – having a winning culture breeds more winning. Generally, the only way to establish that culture is to start to win. Its BETTER for the WFT to have gone to the playoffs and get playoffs experience than to be 2-14 and have a high pick. Because what that experience does to the ENTIRETY of the roster can’t be underestimated.

    CONSIDER – Seattle when they made the playoffs with a losing record and beat the Saints. It seems like a hollow victory and/or a bad beat for the saints, but what it did for that roster set off a winning culture that took off. Guys have to know what it FEELS like to win, what it TAKES to win, and gain confidence and assurance they have what it takes.

    There are teams that tank for picks year in, year out and are terrible. And teams that consistently compete in each conference that pick end of round every year and are winning machines.

    The best thing for Ron Rivera and for that team was to get a taste of winning. They weren’t getting Trevor anyway. And the rest of QB look to be the normal crapshoot. I’d take trying to get a winning feeling / culture anytime over the higher pick.

    And if they are smart, they’ll offer a nominal pay cut / extension to Smith and keep him around at a manageable cap number.

  17. I like — “At that point, as you can imagine, everything I’d been through, I couldn’t have cared less about all that. Whether you like it or not, I’m giving this a go at this point.”

    Dude refused medical advice to amputate his leg, and ended up having 17 surgeries. That’s impressive willpower.

  18. People are confusing Alex Smith the person with Alex Smith the player.

    As a person, he’s an inspiration. He could have died from his injury. He should have lost his leg. And there was no way he’d play again. Yet he did.

    As a player, he’s never been a very good QB for the WFT. As a fan of the team, I’ve watched almost every down he’s played for them. As much as I hate to say it, the team often wins in spite of his play, not because of it.

    I think what he’s saying is likely true. And he’s saying it publicly to get released ASAP. It’s coming anyway, but he probably wants as much time as possible to get a chance to start somewhere else. It won’t be with Washington.

  19. It seems the failure of Haskins is what threw the wrench in the plans. I applaud Smith for coming back, but it looks like he should retire

  20. Seriously, name one player coming out of Washington in the last 21 years that is more relevant than Alex Smith other than RGIII??

    At this point in life I remember RGIII more for his Subway commercials more than anything he did on the football field minus his OL taking him down the field as Mike Shanahan ruined his career.

    Solid franchise.

  21. Alex Smith was obviously very inspirational this past season, but WFT (like all 32 teams) have to move forward. That team needs a QB upgrade. Smith is not the answer.

  22. orivar says:
    February 23, 2021 at 5:44 pm
    WFT would be dumb do lt him go.

    He is scheduled to make north of 20 million. Washington would be FOOLISH to keep him at that price. That’s why you are a fan and not running a team.

  23. As mentioned above, I too would love to see Alex Smith leave DC for KC to backup Patrick Mahomes. It would be a win/win for all parties involved. Smith knows the system and would fit right back in replacing a much less talented Chad Henne. It would also be a great benefit for Mahomes to have someone as intelligent and experienced as Smith sitting next to him on the bench and in the quarterbacks room. And lastly, when Alex Smith hangs up his cleats he would be in a great position to move right into a coaching role with the Chiefs. Smith is not your normal athlete, he is highly intelligent man. Smith earned a bachelor’s degree in economics in two years with a 3.74 GPA, having matriculated with 64 credit hours earned before attending college, and began work on a master’s degree before being drafted. I could see him under the tutelage of Andy Reid moving up the ladder as former QB’s Doug Pederson and Frank Reich have done.

  24. Dear Alex, please retire and go enjoy your life. Enough already you have nothing to prove and you can go out your own way.

  25. As a chiefs fan, I wish you the best of Luck Alex. Your playing days are numbered, but you will be part of the game for a long time…..QB coach at the very least.

  26. flaccotoboldin says:
    February 23, 2021 at 5:47 pm

    …CONSIDER – Seattle when they made the playoffs with a losing record and beat the Saints. It seems like a hollow victory and/or a bad beat for the saints, but what it did for that roster set off a winning culture that took off…
    ————————————————————————————————
    Really? The Seahawks had the exact same 7-9 losing record the following season. The winning culture took off when they drafted Russell Wilson, Bruce Irvin and Bobby Wagner in 2012.

  27. skinsdiehard says:
    February 23, 2021 at 5:46 pm
    His statements are false.
    —————————————–
    He’s talking about feeling unwelcome in the locker room. It’s what he experienced. How could that be false?

  28. Come to Philly Alex, start this year and teach a young QB how to be a pro..Your story is inspiring and Philly is known for Blue Collar guys (and snowballs but that’s another story) Plus, you can play Washington 2 times a year.

  29. Several posts about how Alex Smith just isn’t that good. OK, he’s no Brady… but:

    From the day Smith joined the WFT:

    11-5 with him as a starter.

    6-26 with anyone else.

    He’s not the long term answer at all – and if they can find a better QB for next year, they should not hesitate ti sign him. But those numbers above are fact, not smoke.

  30. It’s a QB league, and unless you have an elite QB, you’re really not trying to win a championship. I think Dan Snyder is finally willing to step aside and let Ron Rivera try to turn the franchise into a winner. Alex has been in the league since 2005 and has a total of two playoff wins. He’s not what Washington needs right now. You saw how long Haskins lasted. Rivera didn’t come on board to be a yes man, and I think Snyder is all in on going for a title. I don’t know why Smith would risk injury, at this point in his life, anyway. He’s a very intelligent man, and could do just about anything. I think he wants out of Washington, and the feelings are mutual. I’ve seen Joe Montana move on from San Francisco, and Tom Brady move on from New England. Those two guys had 10 Super Bowls between them when they left their teams, and I didn’t hear any whining from them. Life goes on.

  31. There’s no way any team would take a $23 million salary cap hit to keep Alex Smith on the roster. Anyone that thinks otherwise got caught up in the feel good story.

  32. If he leaves or gets cut Washington gets an extra 14 mil of cap space.

    That will bump them up from 6 most space to 4th most. Then we can concentrate on trying to keep some of our beast coming up for contracts next year.

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