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What’s Next For Former Utah Football Great Alex Smith?

Alex Smith #11 of the Washington Football Team (L) and Urban Meyer (R) speak during the first half of the game between the Washington Football Team and the Philadelphia Eagles at FedExField on December 15, 2019 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Washington Football Team is reportedly planning to release former Utah Utes quarterback Alex Smith prior to the start of the new NFL year.

Smith has been a member of the Washington organization since 2018.

After a three-year run with his third NFL team, Smith, who wants to keep playing in 2021, will be looking for a new franchise this offseason.

What teams make the most sense for the former Utah great?

 

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Potential landing spots for Alex Smith

Chicago Bears

If Smith wants to play next season as a starting quarterback the Chicago Bears could be one of his better possible landing spots. Chicago has struggled to find solid footing at the quarterback position in recent years. In 2017, the Bears selected Mitchell Trubisky with the No. 2 overall pick. Last season, Trubisky own the starting job before getting replaced by Nick Foles. Foles didn’t finish the year leading the Bears and Trubisky ended 2020 as the team’s starter. Prior to becoming the Bears’ head coach, Matt Nagy was Smith’s quarterback coach and offensive coordinator with the Kansas City Chiefs. A Nagy-Smith reunion makes a lot of sense.

Denver Broncos

The Broncos are another team looking for a solid foundation at quarterback. Since Peyton Manning’s retirement, Denver has been on the look for a long-term solution. In 2019, the Broncos drafted Drew Lock. In two seasons, Lock has done little to prove he’s the guy. Denver has a new general manager in George Paton and could choose to reset at QB this offseason. Smith could come into Mile High and be an immediate starter or serve as a veteran teacher for a young draftee.

Houston Texans

Assuming the Texans trade away Deshaun Watson, Houston will have problem at quarterback. If Watson gets shipped somewhere, expect the Texans to trade for a young signal-caller as part of the deal or select one in the 2021 NFL Draft. Like with the Broncos, Smith could step in and serve as a bridge quarterback for a young player.

Jacksonville Jaguars

If Smith is content with playing as a backup in 2021, how much fun would it be to see a reunion with his college coach? Urban Meyer is entering his first season in the NFL and will likely select Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence with the No. 1 overall pick in April’s NFL Draft. Lawrence will also likely be Jacksonville’s starter in the season-opener. However, a veteran like Smith would be a great asset for not only Lawrence but also somewhat of another coach for Meyer.

Kansas City Chiefs

Could a return to one of his former teams be in the cards for Smith? Prior to his time with Washington, Smith played in Kansas City from 2013-17. After the 2017 campaign, the Chiefs traded Smith to pave the way for Patrick Mahomes. Smith’s potential return to Kansas City would be to backup the Super Bowl LV MVP and try to win a ring in the final portion of his NFL career. Chiefs head coach Andy Reid recently said that there was “nobody better than Alex Smith.”

New England Patriots

The Tom Brady era in New England has been over for a season and the Patriots were unable to find a long-term replacement in Cam Newton last year. New England could look to Smith as stable solution for the 2021 season as the Patriots try to return to the postseason. The Patriots might try to draft a young quarterback and like with other teams, Smith could come in and serve as a starter/teacher.

New Orleans Saints

Is Drew Brees retiring or returning for 2021? That question has yet to be answered. Assuming Brees retires, the Saints could look at Taysom Hill as the team’s starter for next season or try to re-sign fellow 2020 backup Jameis Winston. New Orleans has potential money problems because of the salary cap, and as a starter or not, could look at Smith as a cheap solution for another QB on the roster.

New York Jets

The Jets are another team that could be searching for its future quarterback in the 2021 NFL Draft. New York currently owns the No. 2 overall pick. If the Jets decide to move on from Sam Darnold, they’ll likely use the pick to choose his replacement or trade it as part of a deal to obtain a current gunslinger (ex. Deshaun Watson). If New York chooses the draft route, Smith could come in and start in front of young quarterback like BYU’s Zach Wilson or Ohio State’s Justin Fields.

Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles traded quarterback Carson Wentz to the Indianapolis Colts as part of an already crazy offseason in Philly. With a new head coach in Philadelphia in Nick Sirianni, the Eagles could look to reset at quarterback instead of turning to 2019 draft pick Jalen Hurts. The former Alabama/Oklahoma quarterback finished out the 2020 season after Wentz was benched. I predict that Hurts will get a chance to prove himself to Sirianni. However, if the leash is short with Hurts, having a reliable backup in Smith would make a lot of sense. If Philadelphia doesn’t use their top 10 pick in April’s NFL Draft, they’ll likely go the veteran backup route and Smith would be a great option.

San Francisco 49ers

Return to a former team option number two. Smith’s first NFL team and his home from 2005-12 was the San Francisco 49ers. The Niners are another team potentially looking for a new quarterback in 2021. Jimmy Garoppolo has been discussed by NFL experts are a player who could be on the move this offseason. While I think it’s unlikely that Smith would be the starter in San Francisco next season, I think the thought of a reunion is pretty cool.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Buccaneers are looking to repeat as Super Bowl champions next season. The only reason why Smith would join Tampa Bay would be to ring chase. Joining the Bucs as Tom Brady’s backup would be a clear sign that Smith wants to try and win it all before retiring. Playing as a starter would no longer be a priority for Smith in that scenario.

Alex Smith in 2020

Last season, Smith posted a 5-1 record as Washington’s starter. He helped the team win the NFC East and reach the postseason.

He finished the season throwing for 1,582 yards, six touchdowns, and eight interceptions.

Alex Smith’s NFL Career

Smith was drafted out of Utah by the 49ers with the first overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft.

During his career, Smith has played for the Niners, Chiefs, and Washington.

Through 174 career games, Smith has completed 62.6 percent of his throws for 35,650 yards, 199 touchdowns, and 109 interceptions.

Kyle Ireland is a Locals in the NFL Insider for KSLSports.com and host of the Yards After College Podcast. Follow him on Twitter (@kyleireland) and Instagram (@kyleirelandksl).

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