With Alex Smith’s future in question, and his contract equally questionable, the Redskins know they have an issue at the quarterback position.
In hindsight, the Washington Redskins didn’t know Alex Smith would suffer a compound fracture, ending his first season with the team prematurely, and putting his career outlook in doubt. They didn’t know he’d tie down over $50 million in guarantees, preventing them from doing anything with his contract, and putting a stranglehold on their cap flexibility.
They didn’t know. But that doesn’t matter anymore. It happened, and now, the Redskins need to figure out how to move forward.
Going all-in on a quarterback solution in 2019 might not be the best idea, but per NFL insider Benjamin Allbright, the Redskins are actively surveying their options at the position, both in free agency and in the NFL Draft. Allbright specifically referenced Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (His pre-existing relationship with Jay Gruden gives this merit) and West Virginia quarterback Will Grier as a incoming rookie option on Day 2 of the 2019 NFL Draft.
It makes sense that the Redskins are interested in prospecting this year’s quarterback crop; if Alex Smith can’t go in 2019, they’ll be tasked with taking on the NFC East with Colt McCoy or Josh Johnson under center. While Johnson was a nice story for a short period in 2018, neither is capable of leading this team to consistent wins.
That said, the free agent quarterback market might not be the best option for Washington. They already have a boatload of money locked up in Alex Smith’s contract, due to hefty quarterback guarantees, and they’ll only saddle more cash if they sign a free agent, even if it’s a mid-tier starter such as Andy Dalton. Case Keenum got $25 million guaranteed last year. Dalton will command at least that much.
It’s not a good short-term or long-term strategy to have two starting quarterback contracts on the books, and even Washington, for their lack of foresight, should recognize this, and at least make necessary cuts to free up space.
More likely, however, is the possibility that they do opt to take a quarterback in Round 2 or 3. Grier was mentioned, but signal callers such as Brett Rypien, Daniel Jones, and others have merit in that range as well. Doug Williams was at Daniel Jones’ bowl game, when Jones threw for over 400 yards and scored six total touchdowns. He may go in Round 1, but if he slips, expect the Redskins to be interested.
Whatever the case, we know now what was already believed to be the truth: The Redskins are in the market for a new quarterback, to steady the ship while Alex Smith’s future looms in doubt. With such a unique situation to settle, no predictions are accurate.