WFT's 2021 NFL Draft, Free-Agent QB Options After Reported Alex Smith Release

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistMarch 5, 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

Alex Smith's time with the Washington Football Team has reportedly come to an end. ESPN's Adam Schefter reported the three-time Pro Bowl quarterback was released Friday. 

Following the release of Dwayne Haskins in December, Washington's quarterback room is going to have a very different look in 2021. Taylor Heinicke, who started the Football Team's playoff loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, will be back after signing a two-year extension last month. 

Even though Heinicke showed promise with 352 total yards against the Bucs, Washington head coach Ron Rivera might be looking for a more proven commodity to lead his offense next season. 

Keim noted that Washington offered a first- and third-round draft pick for Matthew Stafford before the Detroit Lions agreed to trade him to the Los Angeles Rams

Other trade candidates the Football Team has explored include Sam Darnold and Marcus Mariota, per Keim. Potential free agents who could be a fit include Ryan Fitzpatrick and Andy Dalton.

Jameis Winston is also an impending free agent, but Keim noted the New Orleans Saints are "likely" to re-sign him. 

It seems unlikely that Dak Prescott, the best quarterback not currently signed, will hit the market since NFL Network's Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport have reported the Dallas Cowboys intend to franchise tag the two-time Pro Bowler if they can't work out a long-term deal. 

Washington's success last season likely puts it out of the running for one of the top quarterbacks in the draft. The team's first-round pick is at No. 19 overall. It's widely expected that Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Justin Fields and Trey Lance will be off the board within the first 15 picks. 

Alabama's Mac Jones is a potential wild card, but ESPN's Todd McShay projected him to go No. 9 overall in his most recent mock draft. 

There are options later in the draft that Washington could target. Florida's Kyle Trask, who led the nation with 43 touchdowns and ranked second with 4,283 yards, is likely going to be available on Day 2.

Georgia's Jamie Newman and Texas A&M's Kellen Mond are also development options for a team in need of depth at the position. 

Smith was named the NFL Comeback Player of the Year in 2020 after playing in games for the first time in two years. The 36-year-old suffered a series of complications following leg surgery in November 2018 to repair a spiral and compound fracture to his tibia and fibula suffered when he was sacked in a game against the Houston Texans. 

After beginning last season as Washington's backup, Smith became the starter in Week 9. He went 5-1 in six starts to help the Football Team win the NFC East for the first time since 2016 before a calf injury kept him out of the team's playoff appearance.

Despite the club's success, Smith's release has been expected since the end of the season. He was set to count $23.3 million against the salary cap in 2021, per Spotrac, but Washington will save $14.9 million when his release becomes official.