The news breaking late last night that the Chiefs starting quarterback, Alex Smith, to the Washington Redskins sent shockwaves throughout the league right before Super Bowl 52. The terms of the deal were fairly simple, the Chiefs will receive the Redskins 2018 third-round pick and cornerback Kendall Fuller. This trade can not go fully into effect into the league year starts on March 13th, but the fallout from this trade is already being felt league-wide. In addition to the trade, Alex Smith was quick to sign a four-year extension worth $94 million, with a huge $71 million in guaranteed money.
So where does this leave the current Washington Redskins star quarterback, Kirk Cousins? For starters, he will potentially be completely free to shop offers around from all quarterback-needy franchises, and take his pick of a final destination. However, if the Redskins want to try and recoup something from Cousins other than a compensatory third-round pick, they may try and transition tag Cousins and hope for a trading partner in the process. Either way, Cousins is a clear winner here as his path to freedom and a big contract becomes even clearer now.
QB Alex Smith and Washington now have reached an agreement on a new four-year contract extension, per sources. Smith, who had one year left on his contact, tied to Washington for next five seasons. Smith gets long-term deal from Washington that Cousins could not.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 31, 2018
Another key factor in the Redskins decision to move on from Cousins was the looming large payday that would have been required to even have a chance of retaining their franchise quarterback. The Redskins front office must’ve felt like their partnership was broken, and decided to pull the trigger on a new franchise-caliber quarterback in Smith. Smith, who is due $17 million in the 2018 season, comes relatively cheaper than Cousins, allowing the Redskins to build assets around him in free agency and the draft.
— 106.7 The Fan (@1067theFan) January 31, 2018
This trade basically boiled down to the fact that it was a near-clear assumption that Cousins would not return to Washington, and the Redskins plan B in Colt McCoy wasn’t a true viable option. So how do Cousins and Smith compare? Alex Smith is much better at protecting the football as the stats below show. Additionally, Smith has a better overall quarterback rating, overall record, and led his team to the playoffs for the second consecutive season.
Alex Smith vs Kirk Cousins last season 🧐 pic.twitter.com/qVHndmeJAR
— Zac (@DCzWall) January 31, 2018
Time will tell which side “won” this trade, but at first glance it looks like the Chiefs are the ones looking great since they planned to move on from Smith anyways. Cousins is another clear winner, as he has a clear path forward to open free agency. And finally, the Redskins are a winner by finding a way to salvage finding another franchise quarterback when the one they drafted was clearly on his way out the door. Thanks for the memories, Kirk, you deserved better than this messy breakup.
Photo Credit: Sporting News
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