WASHINGTON — The Kirk Cousins Era in Washington is officially over, as the Redskins have traded for Alex Smith, and immediately signed him to an extension
The news was first broken by Chiefs beat reporter Terez Paylor and confirmed by NFL insider Ian Rapaport:
NFL insider Adam Schefter also reports that the Redskins have extended Smith, who was entering the final year of his contract. Smith will receive a four-year extension and turns 34 years old in May:
That’s a four-year extension worth $94 million and $70 million guaranteed. This vastly exceeds the $53 million in guaranteed money offered to Cousins last offseason.
The deal, while agreed to in principle, cannot be made official until the start of the league year in March. However, Schefter reports that the Redskins only surrendered a third-round pick, with ESPN’s Field Yates including Kendall Fuller in the report:
That was news to Fuller, who denied the report:
As it turns out, Fuller was the guy included in the deal and found out about it on Twitter instead of from the Redskins’ front office. Whoops:
On paper, the deal makes some sense for all sides, as the Chiefs clear the way for 2017 first-round pick Patrick Mahomes to start next season and add a high draft pick in the May draft.
The Redskins get a starting quarterback coming off of back-to-back Pro Bowl seasons and the chance to stay competitive in 2018. However, there are some very real concerns for Redskins fans who have grown accustomed to a prolific passing offense.
Paired with Andy Reid, the knock on Smith is that he never threw the ball downfield. Smith turned tight end Travis Kelce into a star player, but failed to develop rapport with his receivers in Kansas City.
Last season was the first 4,000-yard campaign of Smith’s career (4,042), and Cousins has three-straight seasons throwing for more yards.
Last year, Smith led the NFL in passer rating (104.7), but his career average (87.4) is more than six points lower than Cousins’ career average (93.7).
With that being said, if wins are the only stats that matter, Smith has been better than Cousins. In three seasons as the Redskins’ starter, Cousins is 24-23-1. Over that same span, Smith is 31-15, and 88-62-1 in his career.
Smith is also four years older than Cousins, and if he plays out his full contract in Washington, he will be 39 in his final season. Even though he has gotten better with age, few players continue on that trajectory.
One (unfair) observation is that the Redskins have been here before with an Andy Reid quarterback. Eight years ago, they also traded a second-round pick to the Philadelphia Eagles for Donovan McNabb. After flourishing in Reid’s system, McNabb flopped in his only season in D.C.
The real winner here is Kirk Cousins, who gets to enjoy another six weeks before free agency without wondering if the Redskins will tag him again. He can sign with the Denver Broncos, New York Jets, Jacksonville Jaguars, Cleveland Browns or any other team that comes calling.
Welcome to the offseason.