Alex Smith’s career in Washington is officially over.
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Friday that the Washington Football Team has informed the quarterback that he’s been released, per sources informed of the situation.
News of Washington parting ways with the reigning Comeback Player of the Year surfaced earlier this week. On Friday, the team made the move.
“I had a chance to meet with Alex Smith this week and we had a very honest and real discussion,” Washington head coach Ron Rivera said in a statement released by the team. “We had the chance to reflect on the 2020 season and talk about moving forward into next year. After the conclusion of that meeting we decided that it would be best for both parties to move on and we will be granting Alex his request to be released. I want to thank Alex for his contributions this past year. He made such an impact on our young roster and his leadership was one of the key factors in our late season success and in making the playoffs for the first time since 2015. Everyone here in Washington wishes Alex and his family the best going forward and appreciates all that he gave to our organization.”
Smith made an inspirational comeback from a grisly, career-threatening leg injury in 2018 that required 17 operations to save his leg from amputation.
One of the greatest comeback stories in professional sports, Smith missed all of 2019 before returning for the 2020 season and posting a 5-1 record as a starter. He missed the club’s playoff game due to another injury. Washington would not have made the postseason without Smith’s contribution.
In a recent GQ article, Smith noted that his unexpected return “threw a wrench” in Washington’s QB plans for 2020. It was the first signal that his run in Washington was probably coming to an end.
Smith has said several times since the end of the season that he still wants to continue his career. A reunion with Matt Nagy in Chicago could make sense for both parties. Smith has also proven to be a reliable tutor, so he could land with a club seeking a bridge and mentor to a rookie.
Releasing Smith saves Washington $14.7 million on the salary cap, with $8.6 million in dead money.