The Washington Football Team officially released Comeback Player of the Year Alex Smith on Friday, making the quarterback a free agent and saving the club nearly $15 million against the salary cap.
Smith turns 37 in May and had two years left on his contract, with cap charges of $23.3 million and $25.3 million.
He returned from multiple leg surgeries and a life-threatening infection to help Washington win the NFC East title last season, which he began as the team’s third-string QB.
Washington turned to Kyle Allen after Dwayne Haskins was ineffective (and later released), and Smith took over after Allen suffered a season-ending injury in Week 9.
Smith played in eight regular-season games, starting six, and completed 168 of 252 passes (66.7 percent) for 1,582 yards and six touchdowns. He was unable to play in Washington’s wild-card loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers because of a calf injury.
The No. 1 overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft by San Francisco, Smith is 99-67-1 as a starter and has passed for 35,650 yards and 199 touchdowns in 174 games with the 49ers (2005-12), Kansas City Chiefs (2014-17) and Washington.
The three-time Pro Bowl selection (2013, 2016 and 2017) forced Washington’s hand when he made it clear that he hoped to continue playing in 2021.
“When I decided to come back, I definitely threw a wrench in the team’s plan,” Smith said in a GQ interview last month. “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.”
Washington recently extended quarterback Taylor Heinicke to a two-year deal. Allen is expected to re-sign as an exclusive-rights free agent. Undrafted free agent Steven Montez is also on the roster.
–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)