"I'm told that Alex Smith after a great comeback year, going 5-2 down the stretch, he does want to continue playing football," ESPN's Jeremy Fowler said on SportsCenter. "He's leaning that way, but he's got a large cap hit. Washington could save $13.6 million if they did move on. And many people around the league believe their answer at quarterback is not in the building. So maybe they could work something out with Smith, but he does want to play somewhere."
Smith threw for 1,582 yards and six touchdowns against eight interceptions in 2020, winning the NFL's Comeback Player of the Year award after returning from a life-threatening leg injury.
Washington owes Smith an $18.8 million base salary in 2021, a number the team is almost certainly unwilling to pay. Given the relative minimum dead money on Smith's deal, the likeliest scenario is either he agrees to a significant pay cut or finds himself a free agent.
While Smith gained clearance to continue playing football, the effects of his injury are obvious every time he steps on the field. His mobility is almost nonexistent, and Smith has to wear a special brace to avoid drop foot.
It's unclear if any team would be willing to take on the potential risk of signing Smith if he hits the open market.
Washington recently signed Taylor Heinicke to a two-year contract with incentives that could be worth up to $8.8 million. The deal essentially locks Heinicke into at least being a backup in the 2021 season after a strong performance in place of an injured Smith down the stretch.
Kyle Allen, who started four games at quarterback, is also an exclusive-rights free agent.