Philadelphia Eagles

Washington releases starting QB in very uncertain NFC East


The NFL offseason's quarterback churn continues.

The Washington Football Team is reportedly expected to part ways with veteran starter Alex Smith, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport:

This news is less than surprising after some eye-catching comments from Smith to GQ made headlines last week, including saying he didn't exactly receive "open arms" when he told the organization he intended to return from his life-threatening injury to try and play football again.

But it still marks a new era for Washington at the quarterback position. Was it the right move?

According to, Smith was ranked the 27th-best starting QB from the 2020 season - four spots behind the Eagles' Jalen Hurts, three spots behind Daniel Jones, and eight spots ahead of new Colts QB Carson Wentz. Smith was also the highest-ranked Washington starter, 10 spots ahead of Taylor Heinicke and 12 spots ahead of Kyle Allen.

Smith reportedly intends to play football next year, so here are a few possible landing spots for the vet, who will be 37 years old when the 2021 season kicks off:

New England Patriots

Smith seems like a pretty good fit for Bill Belichick's no-nonsense, hard work style. If the Patriots decide to kick the quarterback can down the road once again, Smith can compete for the starting job on a cheap contract much like Cam Newton in 2020. And if Belichick drafts his QB of the future, Smith could start the first few weeks and also serve as a great mentor for a young guy.

Denver Broncos

Drew Lock isn't very good, and the Broncos don't have any answers at QB on their depth chart. Denver has young and intriguing weapons at the skill positions, which makes this an enticing spot for Smith, and if the Broncos can't muscle their way into discussions for Deshaun Watson, Russell Wilson, or Derek Carr, perhaps Smith competes with Lock for the QB1 job.

San Francisco 49ers

This is a little storybook-y, I know, but Smith began his long and winding career in San Fran as the No. 1 overall pick a lifetime ago. Maybe the 49ers decide to give Jimmy Garoppolo one more year to figure things out, and bring Smith in as a backup QB with an eye on transitioning to coaching? Stranger things have happened.

As for the NFC East, the QB landscape has changed dramatically this offseason. Here's where each team will stand at the position when the 2021 league year begins:


  • Jalen Hurts


  • Taylor Heinicke


  • Ben DiNucci
  • Cooper Rush
  • Garrett Gilbert


  • Daniel Jones
  • Joe Webb
  • Clayton Thorson

Not a whole lot of talent in there, huh? Yikes. 

It's highly likely the Cowboys bring back Dak Prescott again in 2021, either on another franchise tag or by finally giving him the long-term deal he deserves. If he's back, Prescott is immediately the best QB in the division.

After Prescott... it's either Jones or Hurts, and maybe by Week 1 it's a rookie. 

What a strange time it is for the NFC East.

Subscribe to the Eagle Eye podcast:

Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Spotify | Stitcher | Art19 | Watch on YouTube

Contact Us