Washington releases QB Alex Smith, setting up ODU’s Heinicke for potential starting role

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ASHBURN, Va. (WAVY) — There had been speculation for a while, but on Friday the Washington Football Team made it official, veteran quarterback and reigning Comeback Player of the Year Alex Smith won’t be returning in 2021.

Washington released the 36-year-old on Friday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported.

The move makes him a free agent and saves Washington $14.9 million against their salary cap.

Smith, who almost lost his leg after a gruesome on-field injury in 2018, is seen as one of the greatest comeback stories of all time. 60 Minutes did a must-watch piece on his recovery.

He led Washington to its first playoff berth in years this past season, coming in after the benching of former QB Dwayne Haskins and injury to 24-year-old Kyle Allen. He ended up injuring the calf muscle in the same right leg he broke two years prior and wasn’t able to go for the playoffs.

It’s uncertain if he’ll continue his NFL career, but he recently indicated he’ll try after telling GQ that Washington actually didn’t want him to come back from the injury. Several NFL teams could pick him up if he chooses to do so, including Miami, New England and New Orleans.

So who’ll be Washington’s QB number 1?

That’s also up in the air. They recently signed longtime journeyman and former ODU star Taylor Heinicke to a two-year deal after his breakout performance filling in for Smith against the eventual Super Bowl champion Bucs. At the moment, it looks like he’ll battle it out with Allen for the starting spot, but Allen is coming back from injuries.

Washington does pick 19th in the draft after winning the NFC East this past season, and could select former North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance.

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