The Washington Redskins have been clouded with uncertainty the last couple of offseasons as the team has had issues getting quarterback Kirk Cousins to sign a long-term contract. After having their best shot of signing Cousins a couple of seasons back, Cousins now wants to choose his own path via free agency. The fact that he could walk in free agency leaving Washington this year without a signal caller was something the front office was not willing to chance.
That’s why the team made a blockbuster-type of move just moments after Donald Trump’s ‘State of the Union’ address ended last night. The news came just as fast as it was shocking, “The Redskins acquire Alex Smith via trade with Chiefs” was a trending headline within minutes.
Redskins acquire QB Alex Smith
Chiefs have agreed to trade Qb Alex Smith to the Redskins, as @TerezPaylor reported.
Kirk Cousins now will be leaving Washington.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 31, 2018
On the agreement in principle. Alex Smith will average $23.5 million per year in new money on the extension and $70 million in guarantees. Nobody will be able to review that contract for awhile because officially there is no contract. https://t.co/kY9DTZH2RT
— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) January 31, 2018
On the surface, the trade itself serves a glaring need for Washington but also leaves a hole on the defensive side of the ball. The Redskins sent second-year cornerback Kendall Fuller and a third-round draft pick to the Kansas City Chiefs in exchange for quarterback Alex Smith. If you’re Washington, you never want to trade away a low-cost, high-energy player with a future, but you also don’t want to end up stuck without a quarterback…it’s a dangerous position to be in.
Fuller was one of the bright spots of the Redskins defense in 2017, a bright kid with great ball skills; he was poised to ease into the starting lineup this fall once Bashaud Breeland finds another team in free agency. Trading a player that could be a future All-Pro is risky, and considering the team’s history of trading young corners, I’m not sure if this is the greatest of moves. One positive thing to note is the Redskins already have cornerbacks Fabian Moreau and Joshua Holsey to step into the role Fuller vacates, not to mention the NFL draft seems loaded with defensive backs this year. Washington also has Quinton Dunbar on the roster even though he looks better as depth on the outside; he could progress into a starter eventually or at least push others.
— NBC Sports Commanders (@NBCSCommanders) January 31, 2018
More cap dollars to spend
Essentially what the move does is open the Redskins up to being able to spend cap dollars on improving the roster in free agency. It also effectively ends the Cousins conversation of “will he stay or will he go,” which has been taxing for the franchise and the fanbase.
It’s important to note that, while losing Fuller is not ideal, trading him to improve the most important position on the field is smart if you’re in the Redskins situation of not knowing who will be under center in 2018. Rumor has it that six teams were actively pursuing a trade for Smith, with a high second-round pick being the going rate to get a trade finalized.
While the full contract numbers for Smith are still unknown, the guaranteed money is said to be $71 million over four years after the team signed him to an extension following the trade. That guaranteed money is probably closer to $40-45 million, considering the last year is likely only guaranteed for injury. That breaks down a lot cheaper than the $28-$34 million yearly guarantee the franchise tag would have cost the Redskins for another season of Cousins, who simply refused to sign any long-term deal Washington put in front of him.
Multiple teams – and one person labeled it as “six” – expressed some form of interest to KC about trading for QB Alex Smith, per sources. KC was listening to offers from other teams this morning.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 31, 2018
The Redskins now have the option to draft a mid-round quarterback, such as University of Richmond’s Kyle Lauletta, to sit behind Smith for a couple of seasons, or they could just roll with Colt McCoy as the backup and look to draft someone further down the line. Alex Smith, after all, is a Pro Bowl quarterback who should be an instant fit in Jay Gruden’s system.
The Washington Redskins new starting quarterback (according to reports) is coming off his best season throwing downfield pic.twitter.com/W0Rm638XdY
— PFF (@PFF) January 31, 2018
The Redskins will receive a third-round compensatory pick for losing Cousins once he signs elsewhere, which effectively cancels out the third-rounder they sent Kansas City in this deal.
So what is your opinion Redskins Nation? Was this a bad trade for the team? Let’s hear your opinions in the comments.
[Featured Image by Wikimedia Commons]