The Kansas City Chiefs have traded quarterback Alex Smith to the Washington Redskins. The return to the Chiefs is being reported as multiple draft picks and a player. The trade cannot be commenced until the start of the league’s new year, which begins March 14.
Update: The Chiefs receive Washington’s 2018 third round pick plus excellent slot corner Kendall Fuller, who just finished his second season. Smith will reportedly sign a four-year extension with Washington worth $70 million guaranteed and up to $94 million.
Regardless of the return and the teams having to wait about a month-and-a-half to finalize the deal, this trade, of course, means two things:
First, the Chiefs will be implementing Patrick Mahomes II under center next season.
Second, Kirk Cousins will be leaving the nation’s capital.
The Denver Post
It had been rumored since last year’s draft, when Kansas City traded up and took Mahomes 10th overall out of Texas Tech, that the Chiefs would be moving on from Smith. He led the Chiefs to the AFC West title for the second consecutive season in 2017, but then was behind center during the team’s ugly collapse against the Titans in the Wild Card Round.
With the trade, the Chiefs will save $17 million against the cap that general manager Brett Veach can now spread around to address numerous areas of need. Plus, the team will evidently be receiving cornerback Kendall Fuller and a third round draft pick. That all helps.
This is one of the moves the Chiefs needed to make in order to move forward, and the Redskins make sense as a landing spot. But what is even more interesting about this trade is what it means for the quarterback market, as one QB leaves the trading block while another hits free agency.
Kirk Cousins is now free to choose his next team. Before the season began–a season in which Cousins, once again, played under the Franchise Tag–it seemed like he was destined to reunite with his former offensive coordinator, Kyle Shanahan, now the head coach in San Francisco. But before the trade deadline, the 49ers swung a deal with New England for Jimmy Garoppolo, who looks like that franchise’s answer at the most important position on the field.
So now the question is: what now for Cousins?
The Denver Broncos certainly make sense. That team, outside of the Browns, has dealt with the worst quarterback situation in the league since Peyton Manning hung it up.
Speaking of the Browns–if the team is not entirely enamored with either UCLA’s Josh Rosen or USC’s Sam Darnold (or, for that matter, Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield), then the team could turn to Cousins. Cleveland will have the cash to do it, and it would certainly elevate the team more next season than would rushing Rosen/Darnold/Mayfield into the starting job.
The Jets and Bills are also potential landing spots. A quite desperate team is located in Phoenix, where the Cardinals are currently without a starting-caliber quarterback. Bringing in Cousins would make new head coach Steve Wilks’ and new offensive Mike McCoy’s jobs a lot easier.
And don’t sleep on the Minnesota Vikings, who made it to the NFC Championship game, but now have three quarterbacks with expiring deals. Cousins would be an upgrade over all three of Sam Bradford, Teddy Bridgewater, and Case Keenum.
The Super Bowl isn’t even here yet, but the NFL offseason is already off to a crazy start.