Jan 3, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Washington Football Team quarterback Alex Smith (11) in action against the Philadelphia Eagles during the first quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Alex Smith heard from multiple teams before retiring

A handful of teams contacted Alex Smith before the veteran quarterback announced his retirement this week, Sports Illustrated reported Thursday.

Smith, 36, heard from the Jacksonville Jaguars, Houston Texans, New England Patriots, Philadelphia Eagles and Indianapolis Colts, per the report.

The Jaguars offered Smith a contract but reportedly wanted him to sign a waiver related to the leg injury that caused him to miss the entire 2019 season. He required 17 surgeries to save his leg, repair the injury and fight a life-threatening infection.

Smith was named the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year in 2020 after winning five of his six starts for Washington. He completed 66.7 percent of his passes for 1,582 yards, six touchdowns and eight interceptions.

Washington released him last month in a move that saved the club nearly $15 million against the 2021 salary cap.

The No. 1 overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft by San Francisco, Smith was 99-67-1 as a starter and passed for 35,650 yards and 199 touchdowns in 174 games with the 49ers (2005-12), Kansas City Chiefs (2013-17) and Washington.

–Field Level Media

Jan 3, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Washington Football Team quarterback Alex Smith (11) walks up the field at the end of the third quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Alex Smith retires from NFL after 16 seasons

Dec 27, 2020; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Chicago Bears safety Tashaun Gipson Sr. (38) breaks up a pass intended for Jacksonville Jaguars tight end Tyler Eifert (88) during the second quarter at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Alex Smith, the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year in 2020, announced his retirement on Monday in a video posted to Instagram, 16 years after he was the first pick in the NFL draft.

Smith led the Washington Football Team into the playoffs more than two years after the devastating injury he sustained in Week 11 of the 2018 season. He required 17 surgeries to save his leg, repair the injury and fight a life-threatening infection.

Washington released him last month. Smith became a free agent, and the move saved the club nearly $15 million against the 2021 salary cap.

Smith, who turns 37 next month, started the 2020 season as Washington’s third-string quarterback. The team turned to Kyle Allen after Dwayne Haskins was ineffective, and Smith took over after Allen suffered a season-ending injury in Week 9.

He played in eight regular-season games, starting six, and completed 168 of 252 passes (66.7 percent) for 1,582 yards and six touchdowns. He was unable to play in Washington’s wild-card loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers because of a calf injury.

The No. 1 overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft by San Francisco, Smith was 99-67-1 as a starter and passed for 35,650 yards and 199 touchdowns in 174 games with the 49ers (2005-12), Kansas City Chiefs (2014-17) and Washington.

–Field Level Media

Jan 3, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Washington Football Team quarterback Alex Smith (11) passes the ball against the Philadelphia Eagles during the third quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Washington officially releases QB Alex Smith

The Washington Football Team officially released Comeback Player of the Year Alex Smith on Friday, making the quarterback a free agent and saving the club nearly $15 million against the salary cap.

Smith turns 37 in May and had two years left on his contract, with cap charges of $23.3 million and $25.3 million.

He returned from multiple leg surgeries and a life-threatening infection to help Washington win the NFC East title last season, which he began as the team’s third-string QB.

Washington turned to Kyle Allen after Dwayne Haskins was ineffective (and later released), and Smith took over after Allen suffered a season-ending injury in Week 9.

Smith played in eight regular-season games, starting six, and completed 168 of 252 passes (66.7 percent) for 1,582 yards and six touchdowns. He was unable to play in Washington’s wild-card loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers because of a calf injury.

The No. 1 overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft by San Francisco, Smith is 99-67-1 as a starter and has passed for 35,650 yards and 199 touchdowns in 174 games with the 49ers (2005-12), Kansas City Chiefs (2014-17) and Washington.

The three-time Pro Bowl selection (2013, 2016 and 2017) forced Washington’s hand when he made it clear that he hoped to continue playing in 2021.

“When I decided to come back, I definitely threw a wrench in the team’s plan,” Smith said in a GQ interview last month. “They didn’t see it, didn’t want me there, didn’t want me to be a part of it, didn’t want me to be on the team, the roster, didn’t want to give me a chance. Mind you, it was a whole new regime, they came in, I’m like the leftovers and I’m hurt and I’m this liability. Heck no, they didn’t want me there. At that point, as you can imagine, everything I’d been through, I couldn’t have cared less about all that. Whether you like it or not, I’m giving this a go at this point.”

Washington recently extended quarterback Taylor Heinicke to a two-year deal. Allen is expected to re-sign as an exclusive-rights free agent. Undrafted free agent Steven Montez is also on the roster.

–Field Level Media

Jan 3, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Washington Football Team quarterback Alex Smith (11) passes the ball against the Philadelphia Eagles during the first quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

QB Alex Smith named PFWA Comeback Player of the Year

Quarterback Alex Smith was named 2020 NFL Comeback Player of the Year by the Professional Football Writers of America, recognizing his return to play from a devastating leg injury.

Smith led the Washington Football Team into the playoffs more than two years after the injury he sustained in Week 11 of the 2018 season. He required 17 surgeries to save his leg, repair the injury and fight a life-threatening infection.

The organization also named Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen the Most Improved Player of the Year after he raised his completion percentage by more than 10 points and threw for 1,455 yards and 17 touchdowns more than he did in 2019 to lead the Bills into Sunday’s AFC Championship Game.

Now 36, Smith started the season as Washington’s third-string quarterback. The team turned to Kyle Allen after Dwayne Haskins was ineffective, and Smith took over after Allen suffered a season-ending injury in Week 9.

Smith played in eight regular-season games, starting six, and completed 168 of 252 passes (66.7 percent) for 1,582 yards and six touchdowns. He was unable to play in Washington’s wild-card loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers because of a calf injury.

Allen, 24, led the Bills to the AFC East title with a 13-3 record. He completed 69.2 percent of his passes on the regular season, up from 58.8 percent in 2019, and connected on 37 touchdown passes.

–Field Level Media

Dec 13, 2020; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Washington Football Team quarterback Alex Smith (11) throws a pass against the San Francisco 49ers during the first half at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Washington QB Alex Smith will take time to ponder NFL future

Washington Football Team quarterback Alex Smith said he’s going to take some time to ponder his future in the game.

Smith made an inspirational recovery from a devastating compound fracture suffered in a game against the Houston Texans in November 2018 — one that required 17 surgeries to treat the injury and a life-threatening infection — to lead Washington’s charge to the playoffs in 2020, but a calf injury kept him out of Saturday’s wild-card loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

He told reporters on Sunday that this season was a thrill.

“I had so much fun this year, especially given all the COVID stuff,” he said. “But to be back in the locker room, to be on the field with the guys, to be playing a game I love and to lose yourself in it, it’s one of the greatest feelings in the world. You cannot duplicate it outside of here.

“And for me, I’m going to take a few weeks. My wife has been through a lot and my family, certainly I’m going to take their input. But that’s something that right now I’m still just living in the moment and not getting ahead of myself. That is for another time and place.”

Smith, 36, was 5-1 as the starter on a team that finished 7-9 — good enough to win the NFC East. Washington started the season with Dwayne Haskins at quarterback, then turned to Kyle Allen, who went down with a season-ending dislocated ankle in Week 9.

Undrafted quarterback Taylor Heinicke started Saturday’s playoff game. Smith said he understood coach Ron Rivera’s decision to start Heinicke but that watching from the sidelines was “really difficult.”

“I was willing to absolutely go out there, but coach felt with [Tampa Bay’s] defense, the pressure they brought, their defensive line, that it just wasn’t fair, and obviously (decided to) go with Taylor and his ability to use his legs,” Smith said. “And I totally get that. Totally understood it.”

Washington enters the offseason with a big question mark at quarterback, and Smith might not be the answer. He has two years remaining on a contract that is due to pay him $18.75 million in 2021 and $20.75 million in 2022.

Should the team cut him, it will save $14.7 million against the salary cap. Washington also could bring him back at a reduced salary.

Smith, who was the No. 1 selection in the 2005 NFL Draft, said there are a lot of considerations as he mulls his future.

“Again, I’m going to get away and with a clear head, sit down and go over everything and make the best decision,” Smith said. “But I can’t say how much I loved the opportunity to be here (as) a part of this team, to get back out there and obviously play this amazing game.”

Smith finished the season with a 66.7 percent (168 of 252) completion rate and 1,582 passing yards in eight games. He threw six touchdown passes and eight interceptions.

–Field Level Media

Dec 27, 2020; Landover, Maryland, USA; Washington Football Team quarterback Taylor Heinicke (4) attempts a pass against the Carolina Panthers during the second half at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Washington QB Taylor Heinicke to start vs. Buccaneers

Washington Football Team quarterback Taylor Heinicke will start Saturday’s NFC wild-card game against the visiting Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Washington announced approximately 3 1/2 hours prior to the game that fellow quarterback Alex Smith is inactive versus the fifth-seeded Buccaneers. Smith was listed as questionable with a calf strain that limited his participation in practice sessions throughout the week, leading to Heinicke receiving first-team reps.

Steven Montez will serve as the backup quarterback on Saturday.

Heinicke, 27, relieved an ineffective Dwayne Haskins — who summarily has been released — in Washington’s 20-13 loss to the Carolina Panthers on Dec. 27. He completed 12 of 19 passes for 137 yards with one touchdown in that game.

Smith returned from a two-game absence because of the injury to lead Washington to a 20-14 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, clinching the NFC East with a 7-9 record.

Smith, 36, sports a 5-1 record since taking over as the starter in Week 10. After missing all of 2019 recovering from a leg injury and a life-threatening infection, he has completed 66.7 percent of his passes for 1,582 yards with six touchdowns and eight picks in eight appearances this season.

–Field Level Media

Dec 7, 2020; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Washington Football Team quarterback Alex Smith (11) during a time-out against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field.  Washington won 23-17. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Alex Smith questionable for Washington against Tampa Bay

Last-minute questions remain as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers face the Washington Football Team in an NFC wild-card playoff game Saturday night at Landover, Md.

The No. 5 seed Buccaneers will make an expected game-time decision on big-play wide receiver Mike Evans (knee), who is listed as questionable after being a limited participant in Tampa Bay’s Thursday practice.

The Bucs will be without defensive lineman Jeremiah Ledbetter (calf) and LeSean McCoy (illness). Cornerback Carlton Davis (groin) is listed as questionable. Davis was a full participant on Thursday.

Evans had 70 catches for 1,006 yards with 13 touchdowns this season working with quarterback Tom Brady, who will be making his 42nd career playoff start.

Washington, meanwhile, has several issues offensively. Quarterback Alex Smith (calf) remains questionable to play after being a limited participant on Thursday.

Backup QB Taylor Heinicke took first-team reps with the Washington offense on Wednesday, and would be the projected starter if Smith cannot go. Coach Ron Rivera said earlier in the week that a quarterback rotation, with Smith and Heinicke, could also be in play.

Leading wide receiver Terry McLaurin (ankle) and running back Antonio Gibson (toe) are also listed as questionable for Washington, and both were limited in Thursday’s practice. Linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis (ankle) was also limited, and is also questionable.

Out for Washington will be linebacker Thomas Davis Sr. (knee).

All-Pro guard Brandon Scherff (shoulder), defensive tackle Jonathan Allen (not injury related) and cornerback Kendall Fuller (knee) were full participants on Thursday for Washington.

For Tampa Bay, defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh (not injury related) did not participate in practice on Thursday but has no availability designation. Outside linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul (knee) was limited and running back Ronald Jones (finger) fully participated on Thursday; both are expected to play.

–Field Level Media

Dec 27, 2020; Landover, Maryland, USA; Washington Football Team quarterback Taylor Heinicke (4) attempts a pass against the Carolina Panthers during the second half at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Washington QB Taylor Heinicke receives first-team reps

The Washington Football Team may elect to rotate their quarterbacks after all.

Backup Taylor Heinicke received first-team reps in practice on Wednesday, one day after coach Ron Rivera floated the notion of the team rotating its quarterbacks in Saturday’s NFC wild-card game versus the visiting Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Heinicke was granted the first-team reps with fellow quarterback Alex Smith limited by a calf strain.

Smith returned from a two-game absence because of the injury to lead Washington to a 20-14 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, clinching the NFC East with a 7-9 record. However, Smith’s mobility appeared limited, leaving Rivera to devise an alternate plan for a matchup with the blitz-happy Buccaneers (11-5).

Smith, 36, sports a 5-1 record since taking over as the starter in Week 10. After missing all of 2019 recovering from a leg injury and a life-threatening infection, he has completed 66.7 percent of his passes for 1,582 yards with six touchdowns and eight picks in eight appearances this season.

Heinicke, 27, relieved an ineffective Dwayne Haskins — who summarily has been released — in Washington’s 20-13 loss to the Carolina Panthers on Dec. 27. He completed 12 of 19 passes for 137 yards with one touchdown in that game.

–Field Level Media

Jan 3, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Washington Football Team quarterback Alex Smith (11) passes the ball against the Philadelphia Eagles during the third quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Washington mulls rotating QBs in wild-card game

Washington Football Team coach Ron Rivera said Tuesday he is considering rotating quarterbacks in Saturday night’s wild-card game against Tampa Bay.

Quarterback Alex Smith returned from a two-game absence because of a strained calf to lead Washington to a victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, clinching the NFC East with a 7-9 record. However, Smith’s mobility appeared limited, leaving Rivera to devise an alternate plan for a matchup with the blitz-happy Buccaneers (11-5).

“We have to definitely look at that,” Rivera said Tuesday. “The truth of the matter is we play a very aggressive defense this week; it’s something we most certainly have to look at.”

Enter Taylor Heinicke, who was signed to Washington’s practice squad on Dec. 8 after a two-year hiatus from the league.

Smith’s calf injury, on the same leg that was seriously injured in 2018, came in a Week 14 victory at San Francisco. Dwayne Haskins started the next two games while Smith recovered, but the team released the former first-round draft pick on Dec. 28.

Heinicke played in Washington’s game against the Carolina Panthers on Dec. 27, subbing for a benched Haskins and throwing for 137 yards and a touchdown in his first NFL action since 2018 when he was with the Rivera-coached Panthers.

Rivera said Smith “had his moments” during the Eagles’ game but noted some instances that the veteran would have benefited from better mobility. Heinicke should be better prepared to help the cause after taking 25 snaps against the Panthers.

“We’ll just know as we go through the game and we get in certain situations or circumstances, we may have to consider something like (multiple quarterbacks),” Rivera said. “I can’t tell you what (the deciding factor) would be. It has to be something that comes up in the moment of the game.”

–Field Level Media