Alex Smith didn't win Washington's starting quarterback job. But he is going to make its team.
The quarterback's courageous comeback story will continue in D.C. as the Washington Football Team plans to keep him on its 53-man roster, NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported, per sources. The development was confirmed Saturday amid final roster cuts heading into the 2020 season.
It's much more than a moral victory for the 36-year-old Smith, who's been fighting to return to the football field for nearly two years. Smith's place on a Washington depth chart that includes starter Dwayne Haskins and Kyle Allen, who played for Ron Rivera in Carolina, remains to be seen.
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported earlier this week that there is still a lot of uncertainty regarding Smith's health in the aftermath of the right tibia and fibula compound fracture he suffered in November of 2018.
"It's an incredible story," Rapoport said. "It's great that he's been out there. But the reality is, there are some real questions about how well he can protect himself. ... Is he going to be safe?"
The veteran's contract might have played a part in the decision to keep him. Pelissero noted that while Smith still has a long way to go in his recovery, he's due $16 million fully guaranteed in 2020. This move allows for him to not only keep working his way back but mentor Haskins, who made seven starts and nine appearances last year as a rookie.
Smith is one step closer himself to his ultimate goal of playing in another game.