The Washington Redskins are pegging their future on Alex Smith via the first blockbuster trade of 2018.
The Redskins and Kansas City Chiefs reached an agreement in principle Tuesday to trade Smith to Washington for cornerback Kendall Fuller and a 2018 third-round draft pick, a source informed of the situation told NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport. The trade, according to Rapoport, cannot be finalized until the new league year begins on March 14.
As part of the agreement, the Redskins are giving Smith a four-year contract extension worth $94 million with a whopping $71 million guaranteed for injury, sources told Rapoport and NFL Network's Tom Pelissero. In combination with his previous deal, Smith is under contract for five years at $111 million, per Rapoport.
While the Redskins ultimately landed Smith, the Cleveland Browns and Arizona Cardinals engaged in trade talks with the Chiefs, too, Rapoport reported.
The Kansas City Star first reported the trade agreement.
With Smith set to be the Redskins' new starting quarterback, Kirk Cousinswill test the free agency waters for the first time of his career. Cousins, who has passed for more than 16,000 yards with the Redskins since 2012, has played the last two seasons under the franchise tag and could potentially become the highest-paid player in NFL history.
Cousins fetched just under $24 million on the tag in 2017, and he's poised to generate plenty of interest from teams potentially willing to pay top money for a consistent 4,000-yard passer. Several teams, including the New York Jets, Denver Broncos, Buffalo Bills, Browns and Cardinalscould be part of the potential Cousins sweepstakes.
As for Smith, the 33-year-old is set to start over with his third team after being displaced by another up-and-coming passer. The 49ers parted ways with the No. 1 overall selection of the 2005 draft on the heels of Colin Kaepernick's breakout 2012 campaign, and Kansas City is handing over its offense to Patrick Mahomes.
The Chiefs save $17 million in salary-cap space by parting ways with Smith, who has tallied 31,888 yards and 183 touchdowns during his 13-year career. He was coming off a very strong 2017 campaign (4,024 yards 26 TDs and a league-best 104.7 QB rating) that ultimately ended in disappointment when the AFC West champions fell to the Tennessee Titans on Wild Card Weekend.
In the end, the lack of playoff success for both Smith and Cousins likely played a big factor in both teams deciding to go in new directions. Smith was 1-4 in the postseason in his five seasons in Kansas City and the Redskins haven't won a playoff game since 2005.
The trade agreement comes hours after Smith discussed his potential future during a visit to The Dan Patrick Show on Tuesday. The three-time Pro Bowler expressed a desire to stay in Kansas City but understood the realities of his situation.
"I've been playing long enough," Smith said. "I've been through this before, the trade deal, so I'm not naive to it. This is a crazy business. A lot of crazy stuff can happen, so we'll see."
Whether Smith will eclipse Cousins' accomplishments in Washington and finally deliver the postseason success the franchise craves remains to be seen.