SALT LAKE CITY — In an unsurprising move, the Washington Football Team (isn’t it time for them to announce a new name?) made it official on Friday; the club would be parting ways with quarterback Alex Smith.
The releases comes not long after Smith told GQ Magazine that his determination to make it back on the field after his devastating leg injury kept him away from football for nearly two years threw a “wrench” in Washington’s plans.
According to Smith, the team seemed to want Smith to walk away after his injury so they could establish a long-term solution to their long-standing issues at the QB position. Smith remained resolute, endured more than a dozen surgeries and made it back to the gridiron midway through this season. It was one of the most inspiring stories in sports history, I wrote about it last month (check it out, my grandma said it was really good!).
For his efforts, the NFL media rewarded Smith with the Comeback Player of the Year Award. The squad formerly known as the Redskins, rewarded Smith with his release.
To Washington’s credit, they posted a nice little tribute video on the team’s social media accounts.
But that’s that. Washington wants to find a permanent fix at QB, (they really should be looking for a new ownership group before anything else, but whatever) so the 36-year-old Smith will be looking for a new home.
Smith has stated that he doesn’t plan to retire just yet, so the rumors have already been swirling as to where he could end up. It is probably a safe assumption that his next team could be his last.
To me, it’s clear where he should go. It would be a perfect ending to Smith’s career and his legacy as a great teammate and mentor to young superstars to sign with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
It’s a foregone conclusion that the Jags, who possess the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft, will select former Clemson star Trevor Lawrence. The 6-foot-5 gunslinger with the golden, shoulder length hair has had his name written in Sharpie on the top of NFL Draft boards for at least a couple of years. He’s considered to be the best football prospect since John Elway by nearly every football pundit of record. He’s supposed to be everything that Andrew Luck, who was similarly touted, was claimed to be.
Jacksonville also has a new head coach. You’ve probably heard of him; Urban Meyer. The former college football icon, who coached Smith at the University of Utah from 2003-04, has made the leap to the pros to lead the Jaguars into the Lawrence Era.
Do you see where I’m going with this?
The fit makes almost too much sense.
Smith’s days as an effective starting quarterback in the NFL are likely over. That’s too bad, because he never really got the record he deserved for being quite good, especially in the second half of his career.
When he was pushed out of San Francisco, which drafted Smith with the No. 1 overall pick in 2005, and into Kansas City, Smith thrived. He led the Chiefs to a resurgence, winning 10-plus games in each of his five seasons in the red and yellow. However, what he is best remembered for is being a terrific mentor to another hotshot up-and-comer, Patrick Mahomes. When Smith handed the reigns to Mahomes, the youngster was in an excellent position to become who he is now, the next great football global icon.
Smith has received enormous praise from many Chiefs fans, coaches, and even Mahomes himself, for the way he handled that situation. Smith left the Chiefs better than he found them. Longtime Kansas City fan and aging-resistant Hollywood icon Paul Rudd gushed about what Smith had done for the organization during the Chiefs’ Super Bowl parade two years, when they won it without the former Ute.
Clearly, the smart play for the Jaguars would be to reunite Smith with his former college coach to bring Lawrence up to his lofty potential as easily as possible.
Smith doesn’t need to start, or even play, unless needed. The starting gig is definitely going to belong to Lawrence from the second his name is called first during the Draft on April 29. Just make sure Smith is in the QB room with him and Meyer right from the start.
It won’t be quite as much of a storybook ending for Smith as winning a Super Bowl or an MVP, but it would be the perfect way for him to end his remarkable career.
Again, it makes too much sense for it not to happen.