Posted on January 31, 2018, by Bryan Zarpentine
With Super Bowl LII just a few days away, a major trade has temporarily stolen the spotlight. Late Tuesday, several sources confirmed that the Kansas City Chiefs have agreed to trade quarterback Alex Smith to the Washington Redskins. The Chiefs will receive a 3rd round pick and cornerback Kendall Fuller in return.
The trade can’t become official until the new league year begins on March 14. At that time, Smith will also sign a four-year extension with the Redskins. The extension includes $71 million in guaranteed money and an average salary of $23.5 million. With the extension, Smith figures to be Washington’s quarterback through the 2022 season.
Late in the season, there were rumblings that the Chiefs would consider trading Smith this offseason. Chiefs head coach Andy Reid appears to be high on rookie Pat Mahomes. With just one year left on Smith’s contract, it made sense for the Chiefs to trade him and get something in return with Mahomes in line to be the team’s quarterback of the future.
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Nevertheless, it was surprising to see the Chiefs move so quickly to trade him. The inclusion of Fuller in the deal reportedly made Kansas City willing to pull the trigger on a deal so long before the offseason officially begins. There were at least six other teams that contacted the Chiefs about Smith.
Smith, who will turn 34 in May, is coming off one of the best seasons of his career. For the first time in 12 NFL seasons, he threw for over 4,000 yards. He also threw a career-high 26 touchdown passes with just five interceptions. However, Smith and the Chiefs continued to struggle in their playoffs, losing at home to the Titans in the Wild Card round last month. The Chiefs were 1-4 in the playoffs during Smith’s five seasons in Kansas City. Smith will now look to turn that around following his trade to the Redskins.
From Washington’s perspective, acquiring Smtih answers the question about what the team will do with incumbent starter Kirk Cousins. The Redskins have been reluctant to give Cousins a long-term deal. As a result, he’s played the last two seasons under the franchise tag. Such a move would have been unlikely in 2018, as it would have forced Washington to pay Cousins $34.5 million.
As for Cousins, he knows for sure that he will hit the open market this summer now that a return to Washington has been ruled out. With Drew Brees set on staying in New Orleans, Cousins figures to be the best quarterback available in free agency this offseason. The Bills, Broncos, Browns, Cardinals, Jets, and Vikings all figure to have interest in signing Cousins, giving him plenty of potential suitors.
Ultimately, the fact that Smith was traded isn’t a huge surprise. He’s not been able to shake his lack of postseason success during his time in Kansas City. After the team’s collapse in the playoffs this season, it makes sense for he and the Chiefs to part ways. Meanwhile, the trade has solved Washington’s quarterback quandary once and for all, giving them a quarterback who has proven time and time again that he can guide his team to the playoffs.