Quarterback Alex Smith is about to become a free agent for the first time in his career, meaning the Chicago Bears may have another potential option when it comes to addressing the position this offseason. Multiple reports say that the Washington Football Team is parting ways with the 16-year veteran, who had two years and nearly $40 million remaining on his contract (team will assume a dead cap hit of $8.6 million following his release).
Initially, Smith was supposed to help alleviate issues under center for Washington. That was until that horrific leg injury in 2018 sidelined him for nearly two years. Smith was called back into action this past season after Kyle Allen got hurt and Dwayne Haskins Jr. struggled. The end result was the team posting a 5-3 record down the stretch, winning their ninth NFC East title in team history, and making their first playoff appearance since 2015. But now, Washington is looking for another fresh start at quarterback, so Smith is expected to be on the market when free agency begins March 17.
But with Smith's age (he'll be 37 in May) and injury history, finding a new team may be easier said than done. He'll also have to consider taking less money, which shouldn't be too much of a problem considering he's already made $189 million during his career, per Spotrac. But Smith still wants to play, and he still has some skills to offer a team that's in the market for a new QB. One team that should consider bringing him in is the Chicago Bears.
It's no secret that the Bears are in need of a quarterback. While there are many other options available to them, Smith could also potentially fill the void, at least in the short term. His veteran experience, his success against the NFC North (8-6 record), and his extremely valuable postseason experience could benefit the Bears. They will have to work out their salary cap situation, but if there's a mutual interest between both sides, then they should find a workable solution. Here are three other reasons why the Bears should consider taking a chance on Smith.
His resume speaks for itself
Smith has a 99-67-1 record as a starter. He's completed 62.6 percent of his career pass attempts for 35,650 yards (6.9 ypa), 199 touchdowns, and 109 interceptions, good for an 86.9 career passer rating. Smith also has 2,604 career rushing yards for an additional 15 touchdowns (4.5 ypc). He's made six playoff appearances (2011, '13, '15, '16, '17, '20), he's won six division championships ('11, '12, '15, '16, '17, '20), he was a member of the 49ers' NFC championship team in '12, he's a three-time Pro Bowler ('13, '16, '17), and he earned the Comeback Player of the Year award in 2020.
His history with Matt Nagy
The Bears' current head coach was Smith's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in K.C. from 2013 to '17. It was during that time that Smith made his Pro Bowl appearances, won three of his six division titles, and made four of his six postseason trips. Under the guidance of both Nagy and Andy Reid, Smith posted a 50-26 record with the Chiefs. There's no doubt that his most successful years were in Kansas City, and joining the Bears would reunite Smith with Nagy. Perhaps that can be the winning formula that the Bears need.
The Bears will benefit in multiple ways
The biggest benefit is that Smith already knows the ins and outs of Nagy's playbook. So Smith should ease into this offense with no issues. He's more mobile than Nick Foles, he's more proven than Mitchell Trubisky, and has much more experience than Tyler Bray, who was teammates with him in Kansas City. Plus, signing him would mean that the Bears could avoid using their 20th overall pick in this year's draft on a QB and use it to fill other needs instead. Smith may not necessarily be a long-term solution, but he could get the Bears through the upcoming season.
— Gabe Salgado is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. He's also written for NBC, Fox, The Sporting News, The Sports Journal, The Undefeated and Complex. He can also be heard on WGN Radio. Follow him on Twitter @GabeSalgado82.
(Top photo by Elijah Walter Griffin Sr./Washington Football Team, courtesy of washingtonfootball.com)