The Redskins are moving on from Kirk Cousins. And they’re doing it with Alex Smith. Alex Smith.
And they’re giving Smith, who has a year left on his contract, a huge extension, reportedly with $70M guaranteed, though now even the reported guarantees aren’t even fully guaranteed, however, this is the Redskins we’re talking about. Whatever the actual guarantee is, it’s sure to be a ton of money for a guy with as many playoff wins in his 12 year career as Nick Foles. Smith will be 34 when the season starts, four years older than Cousins. He should be the 7th oldest starting QB in the league. And he’s coming off a career year, so a decline is absolutely happening. Smith’s performance in 2017 was statistically great, but was due to the talent around him making huge plays, not Smith. Even at the height of the Chiefs season in October, when Smith was putting up eye popping stats, he was still the same old Alex Smith:
Most importantly, we see that Chiefs pass-catchers are turning relatively safe and conservative passes into bigger chunks of yardage. The Chiefs averaged the NFL’s highest yardage total after the catch, per completion, and had not dropped a single pass through the first three weeks of the season, based on ESPN Stats & Information video analysis. (Last season, the Chiefs dropped a higher percentage of passes -- 5.0 percent -- than all but six teams.)
On the other hand, an average Smith pass is traveling 5.81 yards in the air past the line of scrimmage -- lower than 26 other NFL quarterbacks. That’s even less than the 6.24 air yards per throw he has averaged since joining the Chiefs in 2013, the lowest among qualified quarterbacks over that span.
In Smith’s first 3 games in 2017, he had a passer rating of 132.7. In his final 12 (he sat out the meaningless Week 17 game), it was 99.2. That’s still a good rate, but a huge drop off and if he averaged 99.2 for the entire season, it would be the 2nd best of his career, so he’d still be due for a decline. The NFL’s Next Gen Stats say Smith threw for an average of 7.5 intended air yards in 2016, the 2nd worst rate. In 2017, he improved to…. 10th worst. Alex Smith is who he is, and now he won’t have Tyreek Hill to rack up the yards, or Kareem Hunt to stack the box.
An added bonus for the Eagles is that it gets Cousins, who has been a thorn in their side, out of the division. Unless he signs with the Vikings or Jaguars, the Eagles won’t have to face him in 2018. In seven starts against Philadelphia, Cousins has 16 touchdowns and averages over 300 yards a game and a 99.7 passer rating, all his best marks against NFC East teams.
He will not be missed in Philadelphia, or by the Redskins brass, who finally see the costly end to their self-inflicted wounds.
Before Skins tagged Cousins 1st time his camp proposed a 3-yr deal at $19.5M/yr w/ $40M guar. Snyder scoffed, ended up paying $44M for 2 yrs— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) January 31, 2018
Had the Redskins taken that offer and simply cut Cousins, they would have saved $4M. If they traded him, they’d certainly get more than the 2019 (at best) 3rd round comp pick they’ll receive when he leaves in free agency, and possibly save a few million more to help pay for Alex Smith’s ridiculous contract. After a few calm, sensible years under the guidance of Scot McCloughan, the Redskins are back to being the Redskins, going for the quick, expensive and limited option rather than have any semblance of a long term plan.
Never stop being you Dan Snyder.