Rapoport on Alex Smith: 'Don't Sleep on the Bears' to Sign QB After WFT Release

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 2, 2021

FILE - Washington Football Team quarterback Alex Smith warms up before an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles in Philadelphia, in this Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, file photo. Washington’s biggest offseason need is to figure out its quarterback situation. Trade for DeShaun Watson? Sign Cam Newton? Roll with Alex Smith and Kyle Allen? Coach Ron Rivera says “nothing is off the table.” (AP Photo/Chris Szagola, File)
Chris Szagola/Associated Press

The Chicago Bears are reportedly a potential landing spot for quarterback Alex Smith following his expected release from the Washington Football Team.

Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reported the update Tuesday:

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

From @NFLTotalAccess: WFT QB Alex Smith will be a free agent, likely today, and he becomes an intriguing option in the QB world. https://t.co/8je0UVB5aJ

Smith was voted the 2020 NFL Comeback Player of the Year for returning from a life-threatening leg injury to play again.

His numbers didn't jump off the page. He completed 66.7 percent of his throws for 1,582 yards with six touchdowns and eight interceptions in eight games. Washington went 5-1 in his six starts, however, compared to a 2-8 mark with other signal-callers.

The connection to Chicago makes sense given Smith's work alongside Bears head coach Matt Nagy with the Kansas City Chiefs. Nagy was the team's quarterbacks coach (2013-15) and offensive coordinator (2016-17) while Smith was in K.C. (2013-17).

In 2018, the three-time Pro Bowl selection praised Nagy after the Bears hired him:

"He and I spent five years together and we were about as close as it gets from a coach-and-player relationship. To see him grow as a quarterbacks coach, then go to coordinator and now I am pumped for him as he becomes a head coach.

"I think he is going to do awesome. He has the 'it' deal. I don't know how to say it, but he is so comfortable around the guys, so comfortable in front of the room. Leading guys, he is so real, honest and very gifted from an X's and O's standpoint."

Nick Foles is Chicago's only quarterback under contract for 2021, but he's got a potential out in his deal after next season that could save the team $7 million toward the 2022 cap, per Spotrac. So, barring a major bounce-back campaign, he's likely heading into his final year with the club.

It wouldn't be a surprise to see the Bears sign another veteran like Smith to a team-friendly contract while also grabbing a QB in the middle rounds of the draft.

Smith could compete with Foles for the starting role in 2021 and then transition into a mentor/backup role the following year.

The 36-year-old University of Utah product may want to see whether another team is willing to offer a more direct route to the starting job, though.