Washington releases QB Alex Smith, a onetime Matt Nagy protege

Any hopes for a reunion between the Bears’ head coach and the quarterback who led the NFL in passer rating in their last season together in Kansas City should be tempered, though

SHARE Washington releases QB Alex Smith, a onetime Matt Nagy protege
Washington released quarterback Alex Smith on Friday.

Washington released quarterback Alex Smith on Friday.

Julio Cortez/AP

Bears coach Matt Nagy loves Alex Smith. As of Friday, the veteran quarterback was available.

But temper any hopes of a reunion between Nagy and the man who led the NFL in passer rating in their last season together in Kansas City. Smith would seem redundant next to Nick Foles, the only quarterback the Bears have under contract. Both are widely respected veterans who are also three years removed from their last dominant stints as starters.

Foles’ 2021 salary is guaranteed. It’s unclear if the Bears could trade him.

Smith turns 37 in May. He went 5-1 as Washington’s starter last season and gave fans an even better story, returning from a compound fracture in his leg that almost led to amputation. He was named the NFL Comeback Player of the Year. But he also threw more interceptions (eight) than touchdowns (six), leading Washington — which is just as desperate for quality quarterback play as the Bears are — to release him Friday and save $14.9 million against their salary cap.

Just Tuesday, Nagy spoke of Smith, whom he coached from 2013 to ’17 with the Chiefs, as the prototypical leader. He was asked then whether it was challenging to evaluate quarterbacks — such as Smith and Foles — with whom he has worked at previous stops.

“Probably a little bit,” he said. “Alex had his big injury, but for him to be able to come back and do what he did is just fascinating.”

In recent years, Nagy held Smith up as an example for Mitch Trubisky. Both were athletic quarterbacks chosen ahead of franchise-changing passers in the NFL Draft. Both struggled early. After the 49ers traded Smith, the No. 1 overall pick of 2005, to clear the way for Colin Kaepernick in 2013, Smith made three Pro Bowls in five seasons with the Chiefs.

“Alex went through a hell of a stretch at the beginning, start of his career,” Nagy said in December. “And you all know where he’s at and what he’s done and what he did in Kansas City. Well, his whole time there . . . he won a lot of games. But he went through a lot of rough patches during that time.

“Every player in this league has their own story. And we don’t know where Mitch’s story is gonna end up. But all we can do right now is focus on where he’s at right now at this moment.”

Trubisky will be a free agent later this month. A Bears reunion seems unlikely.

The Latest
GM Ryan Poles believed they were close to a contract extension last week, but if they don’t have it done by Tuesday at 3 p.m., the Bears will have to use the franchise tag.
As of Monday morning, 2,700 residents had voted early for the March 19 presidential primary.
Joffrey’s 69th season and its fourth at the Lyric Opera House will open with the American premiere of Marston’s “Atonement,” based on Ian McEwan’s novel.
Four Illinois counties have no local news source, the State of Local News Project found. When that happens, people can’t participate meaningfully in their local communities and democratic institutions.
Since the law’s implementation, the jail populations in several counties have decreased because people are no longer being held because they can’t afford to bail themselves out.