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Report: Alex Smith will become a free agent

The former Chiefs quarterback is about to be released from the Washington Football Team.

Washington Football Team v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Per Monday reports from NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and Kim Jones, Washington Football Team quarterback Alex Smith will be parting ways with the club in the next few days.

After the 2017 season, the Kansas City Chiefs traded Smith to Washington to make way for their new young quarterback, Patrick Mahomes, receiving a third-round draft pick and cornerback Kendall Fuller in return.

The Chiefs traded that pick to the Cincinnati Bengals in order to move up and select defensive end Breeland Speaks with the 46th pick of 2018’s second round. Fuller started 15 games for the Chiefs in 2018 and was active for 11 more in 2019, starting four games of the regular season — and snaring the game-sealing interception at the end of Super Bowl LIV.

But Smith — after signing a new four-year contract worth $94 million — suffered a catastrophic leg injury in Week 10 of 2018. He missed the rest of 2018 (and all of 2019) before staging a heroic comeback in 2020, playing in eight games and going 5-1 as a starter. He’s now collected $71 million for the 16 starts he made in Washington. His release will clear $18.8 million against Washington’s 2021 salary cap, leaving behind $8.6 million in dead money.

The former first-overall pick — who will be 37 when the season begins — may be able to find work as a reserve quarterback with another team. One possibility could be a reunion with Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy, who was Smith’s position coach during his first three years in Kansas City.

But at least for the moment, a reunion with the Chiefs seems less likely. Kansas City has backup quarterback Chad Henne — who carries a cap hit of just $1.6 million — under contract through 2021. Smith will likely be able to command more than that on the open market.

But it’s also true that Smith is extraordinarily familiar with (and was successful within) the team’s offense under head coach Andy Reid — and meshed well with Mahomes during the season they played together. While it might not happen this season, there’s always the possibility that Smith — either as a player or a coach — could eventually find a role in Kansas City.