Alex Smith Released by Washington Football Team Ahead of 2021 Free Agency

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistMarch 5, 2021

Washington Football Team's Alex Smith (11) in action against the Philadelphia Eagles during an NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Philadelphia. Washington defeated the Eagles 20-14. (AP Photo/Rich Schultz)
Rich Schultz/Associated Press

The Washington Football Team will start fresh at quarterback after releasing veteran Alex Smith on Friday: 

Washington Football Team @WashingtonNFL

We have released QB Alex Smith https://t.co/wdDya9oVqa

Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network first reported the news Friday:

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

The Washington Football Team has informed QB Alex Smith that he has been released as expected, setting free the AP Comeback Player of the Year and closing the door on one of the coolest stories in the NFL last season. Smith is believed to still want to play.

The move helps save $14.7 million in cap space, leaving $8.6 million in dead cap for the 2021 season, per Spotrac

Smith was the NFL's Comeback Player of the Year in 2020 after returning from life-threatening leg injuries that kept him out for all of 2019.

The 36-year-old returned to the field in Week 5 and eventually became Washington's starter in Week 10 after the team struggled behind Dwayne Haskins, and Kyle Allen got injured. The team went 5-1 with Smith as a starter that led to the team eventually winning the NFC East title despite a 7-9 overall record.

Despite the team's success, Smith still had limited production under center with just six passing touchdowns and eight interceptions in eight appearances. His 34.8 Total QBR would have been the worst in the NFL if he had enough playing time to qualify.

Washington will look for an upgrade its offense to pair with a defense that ranked No. 4 in the NFL in points allowed.

The transaction leaves Taylor Heinicke as the only quarterback left under contract after he signed a two-year extension worth up to $8.75 million in February. The 27-year-old appeared in just one game during the regular-season for Washington but started the playoff game and fared well against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Kyle Allen is an exclusive rights restricted free agent, while Steven Montez spent last year on the practice squad.