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Quick Snaps: Smith to the Skins!

January 31, 2018
Alex Smith is a Washington Redskins quarterback. Not officially, but wrap your head around that.

The Redskins and the Kansas City Chiefs agreed to a shocking trade Tuesday night that has major ramifications on at least three teams and a minimum of two divisions.

The Redskins, as first reported by the Kansas City Star and then confirmed by everyone, will receive Alex Smith in exchange for a 2018 third-round draft pick and young, stud cornerback Kendall Fuller.

The Redskins also reportedly agreed to a four-year extension worth up to $94 million with Smith, with a reported $71 million in guarantees.

All of the terms and details of the contract are of course, subject to change and/or be off slightly and the deal is not allowed to become official until the first day of the new league year, March 14.

Now for some “Quick Snaps” reactions to the deal, after spending several hours talking about it on 106.7 The FAN and interacting on twitter with many Redskins and NFL fans.

1.   This is going to be labeled as a terrible deal for the Redskins . That's understandable (but probably wrong) and I really don’t like the Kendall Fuller part of it. I am totally fine with the 2018 third-round pick component and  get the contract extension the Redskins arranged with Smith and his agent. You must pay a top third of the league quarterback more than you would ideally want to, but there’s no such thing as a discount on a productive, veteran QB. The Redskins will very likely (although not 100%) receive a 2019 3rd round compensatory pick as a result of letting Kirk Cousins go via free agency. 

2.  I believe Alex Smith is a slight upgrade over Kirk Cousins in several areas but he is not a clear, dramatic improvement in my opinion. He’s ultimately cheaper per year and costs the Redskins less total money than a long-term deal with Cousins would have cost, so that’s a positive. One longtime NFL personnel executive told DCHot

3.   Smith comes from a system that Andy Reid built and dramatically upgraded over the last few years. First, it was a stud tight end in Travis Kelce, then a dynamic speed burning receiver in Tyreek Hill followed by a multi-threat weapon in Kareem Hunt at running back. The Chiefs were the most creative offense, from a schematic standpoint, in the NFL in 2017. How will he do without those weapons and without the play-caller/designer in Andy Reid?

4.  Smith is more experienced than Cousins and has a better, more consistent ability to extend plays by scrambling and running but also by scrambling to get out of trouble and making an accurate throw on the run. The Redskins saw this first-hand in week four.

5.  Smith is coming off a season that featured him leading the NFL in passer rating at 104.7. Drew Brees was behind him at 103.9 and Cousins was at 93.8.

6.    As I mentioned on twitter,  Kirk Cousins had an average pass length of 7.71 while Smith was right behind him at 7.69. Smith had a higher average pass length on completions, per NFL GSIS, at 6.11 compared to Cousins at 5.63.

7.   Cousins had 27 touchdown passes in 2017 and Alex Smith was right behind him at 26. The difference last year? Cousins had 13 interceptions and Smith had just five picks.

8.   A few weeks ago, we outlined in this column  that the Redskins were only close if they brought back Cousins under a reasonable long-term deal or if they made a trade for one of two veteran quarterbacks. Alex Smith or Andy Dalton. The price was higher than I anticipated, but they got one of the quarterbacks they had to have.

9.    Losing Fuller is a big blow, especially considering that the Redskins are almost surely going to lose Bashaud Breeland as well, via free agency. Fuller was selected as the top slot corner in the NFL in 2017, and yet the Redskins gave him up for a veteran, expensive quarterback. Fuller was apparently the highest graded corner on the Redskins last year, according to D.J. Swearinger.

The Redskins still have Quinton Dunbar, Fabian Moreau and Josh Holsey to pair with Josh Norman and I assume they will target at least one corner in free agency or the draft, but they are absolutely taking a major risk and exposing themselves at one of their few strengths from last year, their pass defense. The Redskins were ninth in passing yards allowed per game and 15 th in passing yards per play allowed.

10.    This is a win-now move by a Redskins brass that is feeling pressure to well, win now. Many were/are convinced that 2018 was a rebuilding year for Jay Gruden and Bruce Allen. Except, they didn’t. This is not a move you make if you are trying to win in 2019, but it is a move that gives them a chance to do so, along with cost certainty.

11.   The way the Redskins ultimately treated Kirk Cousins after the 2015 season, sealed the deal in his eyes. Their nonchalance and lack of true commitment soured the mild-mannered but competitive Cousins and was an embarrassment to a franchise that thinks they do everything right. They’ll dispute this from now until the end of time but they are completely wrong, as they often are. The results on the field and in many areas off the field are more than enough proof. 

Chris Russell has covered the Washington Redskins for eight seasons for multiple media outlets and was a part of the Redskins Radio Network broadcast team for five years. He covers the Redskins, Washington Valor and Baltimore Brigade for Monumental Sports Network (  Listen to Chris on Washington D.C.'s # 1 sports radio station, 106.7 The FAN