Now that Alex Smith has started two games and relieved in two games with a Thanksgiving special on tap for today at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, against the Dallas Cowboys ... the questions are starting to be asked by the national media for 2021.
Will Alex Smith return to the Washington Football Team next year?
The answer apparently is yes, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, assuming that Smith wants to return and makes it through the final month-plus without major injury.
It should not be a surprise that a team that does not have their quarterback of the future on the roster would be interesting in having a capable, hard-working, inspiration on their roster now that Smith's proven that he's physically back.
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What is a slight surprise is this: Smith is scheduled to count over $23 million against the cap next year, which is not an absurd figure in today's NFL ... but 2021 is the first year that Washington could get out of the Cap Hell that the organization agreed to when they signed Smith to the long-term extension upon trading for him.
Not to mention, Kyle Allen is an exclusive-rights free agent so he'll almost surely be back ... and then there's the real fun part.
Is Dwayne Haskins back? If he is, he counts almost four million against the cap and if he's traded to a new team (a possible scenario), he still is scheduled to count about $4.3 million in dead money ... Essentially an even exchange with the exception of having the player to not having the insurance policy.
To add another layer to the potential mess: Does Washington pick a quarterback in the first round of the April NFL Draft? Depending on where they fall in the draft (top 10?), that quarterback could cost another couple of million against the 2021 cap.
To sum it up: Washington could be looking at a cap figure for quarterback in 2021 of roughly $30 million ... which would be OK if that money was being spent on Aaron Rodgers or Russell Wilson.
Not so OK if its a pile of three or four guys and WFT is still not sure if they have the guy.
Either way, things can change and change significantly over the next few weeks for all sides.
Most importantly, for once, Washington actually has something to be proud about on a national stage of an estimated 30-million people watching as Smith trots onto the field for his third start in a row.
That level of journey is complete ... before we even get to 2021.