“And Washington… let’s build something great together.”
More than six weeks ago, the full fury of the Washington Redskins fan base was unfurled when it was revealed that the Redskins would be trading upstart cornerback Kendall Fuller and a third-round pick for veteran quarterback Alex Smith. D.C. would not have been a welcoming place for Smith that night.
That night, fans and pundits alike were endlessly scheming on how to nullify the trade and get back their starting cornerback. The trade could not be finalized until March 14. The Washington Redskins, in theory, could back out and get back their valuable assets.
But here we are. It’s March 14. And Alex Smith will soon be a Washington Redskin.
Mysteriously, time has a way of endearing such a proposition. But it helps when the quarterback you trade for is Alex Smith.
There are still those who are vehemently opposed to going through with the trade, but since the inception of the deal, the sentiment surrounding the trade has lightened substantially. Part of that may be the constant reminders of the Washington Redskins’ last quarterback, Kirk Cousins, who got cold feet in negotiations for three straight years before ditching D.C. for a big paycheck. But regardless of the cause, the effect has been well-observed.
Alex Smith wants to be a Redskin, and in turn, the fans want him.
Observing Smith from afar, and gauging the reaction his fan base had to the trade, it wasn’t hard to see that Smith, as polarizing as his playoff record may be, is a player and a person that naturally attracts respect.
For Washington Redskins fans, having a quarterback this sincere and transparent will be a pleasant change. A change for the better. In a Player’s Tribune article written by Smith himself, Smith said the following of his pending journey from the nation’s center to the nation’s capital.
"As tough as it is for me to say goodbye to K.C., I could not be more excited about this new opportunity in Washington — joining a team with a rich tradition, a great fan base, and a talented roster and coaching staff that I have admired from afar.I’m pumped to get out there and get to work. Start learning the playbook. Meeting my new teammates. Integrating myself and my family into the community. Bringing the same work ethic, experience and willingness to do whatever it takes to win — which is what has always mattered most to me — to Washington.I’m just looking forward to starting something new with the Redskins … and finishing it."
If you don’t want Alex Smith after reading that, then you might need to blink twice and read it again.
Yes, the Washington Redskins lost a very talented cornerback. And the offshoring of a third-round pick will hurt them in this year’s draft, which is deep at positions of need for the Washington Redskins.
But such is the opportunity cost a team must pay to achieve stability at the quarterback position. The Washington Redskins knew they were never going to sign Kirk Cousins. And so they made the most out of that situation. And just because the Washington Redskins lost something in the trade doesn’t mean they can’t build again. Alex Smith said it best, at the end of his Player’s Tribune article.
“Washington… let’s build something great together.”
A new era has begun. The foundation is in place. Now… it’s time to build.