Super Bowl week means plenty of Patriots and Eagles dialogue, correct? Well, yes but that’s not the only NFL news getting any love. The offseason hasn’t even kicked off yet and the league has already seen a big move made via trade. First reported by Terez Paylor of The Kansas City Star on Tuesday evening, the Chiefs traded Alex Smith to the Washington Redskins for cornerback Kendall Fuller and a 2018 third-round draft pick, ending Kirk Cousins’ time as the quarterback in Washington.
— Jeff Rosen (@jeff_rosen88) January 31, 2018
Acquiring Smith allowed several dominoes to fall. Along with trading for Smith, the Redskins and the quarterback agreed to a 4-year, $94 million-dollar extension with $71 million guaranteed. That’s a quite a bit of dough for a soon to be 34-year old proclaimed “game manager” but hey, that’s not my money. With Smith taking the reins, that means out the door goes Kirk Cousins.
No more Cousins may sadden some Cowboys fans, as Dallas won six of seven games against Cousins during his stint as the Redskins quarterback. Being that Cousins is set to be a free agent and Washington was not willing to pay him elite quarterback money or franchise tag him for a third consecutive year (which would have paid him over $34 million), this trade made sense for both sides.
It feels so long ago that Smith and the Chiefs were 5-0 and Smith was looking like the league MVP. Though the Chiefs declined down the stretch and blew an embarrassing lead to the Titans in the Wild Card round, Smith had an impressive season as the numbers go. Smith threw for over 4000 yards for the first time in his career along with 26 touchdowns and only five interceptions, giving him his second consecutive Pro Bowl appearance and third in his five seasons in Kansas City.
So, what is there to expect from an Alex Smith led Washington offense? A lot of what we saw from him in Kansas City. Both Kansas City and Washington run a variation of the West Coast offense, which will make the transition for Smith much easier under Coach Jay Gruden. Until the surge of Tyreek Hill last season, receivers in the Chiefs system weren’t known to make many plays so it will be interesting to see the chemistry built with a big outside target like Josh Doctson. Running back Chris Thompson and injury-riddled tight end Jordan Reed make for perfect components to an offense for Smith, who both can relate to weapons he had in Kansas City, Travis Kelce and Kareem Hunt in the passing game.
With similar numbers this season, Smith threw eight fewer interceptions than Cousins and has thrown less interceptions than Cousins in each of the last four seasons which is a huge plus. Cousins threw an interception in each of the Redskins division games this season, including two in a loss at Dallas and three in the final game of the season at the Giants.
Now, what does this mean for the hierarchy in the NFC East? Don’t look into it too much. The change at quarterback doesn’t seem to put a 7-9 Redskins team over the top nor does it make them necessarily worse. Though with a new quarterback under center, having Smith be comfortable in the West Coast offense adds some stability but the defense must improve.
The division is only going to get better. The Super Bowl bound Eagles are going no where, as the majority of their roster is young and locked into lengthy deals. The Giants are in a slight rebuild as a new regime takes over but don’t let their 3-13 record fool you; this team still has talent. And the Cowboys? We seem to be in some sort of limbo but this limbo won’t have a season-long investigation that hinders our playoff hopes next season (let’s hope).
The NFC East will continue to be a battle as it seems to always be and the Redskins will remain competitive with Smith as their new quarterback.
But overall, what do we think of an Alex Smith led Washington Redskins team? Nothing. Why?
Because they’re still the Washington Redskins. That’s why.
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