Is the dream of QB Alex Smith to Cleveland over? It appears so, according to Terez Paylor of the Kansas City Star, who reported Tuesday night that the Chiefs have agreed to trade the veteran quarterback to the Washington Redskins.
When I first saw the news come across my Twitter feed, I thought it was a joke. Trades can’t happen until March 14th, the start of the new league year. But then I saw the story came from a reputable source, and the deal is “agreed to in principle.” Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network says that the same pre-league year agreement for Smith happened when he was traded from San Francisco to Kansas City many years ago.
There is an agreement in principle for Alex Smith to go to the #Redskins. The deal will be finalized tomorrow. This means Kirk Cousins will be a free agent. Mega-deal.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 31, 2018
As Ian Rapoport said above, that means QB Kirk Cousins will hit free agency. If Cleveland wants a top quarterback, they’ll need to open their checkbook. But it’s also true that Browns GM John Dorsey could technically inquiry with the Chiefs and offer better compensation for Smith over the next month and a half (though all reports right now are inferring that Smith to Washington is all but set in stone).
UPDATE (10:08 PM): Per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the compensation is a second round pick “and possibly more.” Washington only has one second-round draft pick, which is projected to be No. 44 overall. The Browns own No. 33 and No. 35 overall, so if they had any interest in entering the conversation, that would be the starting price.
Kansas City is expected to receive a second-round pick from Washington for Alex Smith and possibly more, per source. But a second-round pick was the price as of this morning, before trade between KC and Washington finalized.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 31, 2018
But again, it sounds unlikely that Kansas City would change the deal now, especially since Smith appears to have agreed to a four-year extension with Washington once the deal goes through:
QB Alex Smith and Washington now have reached an agreement on a new four-year contract extension, per sources. Smith, who had one year left on his contact, tied to Washington for next five seasons. Smith gets long-term deal from Washington that Cousins could not.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 31, 2018
UPDATE (10:12 PM): Per Mary Kay Cabot of the Plain Dealer, the Browns tried to trade for Smith, but Kansas City “is sending him to Washington.”
UPDATE (10:20 PM): Now, Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network is calling it a 3rd round pick and a player to be traded to Kansas City. Whoever that player is must be relatively good.
UPDATE (10:23 PM): And probably the final update of the night, the details on what Smith will get with his new contract with the Redskins:
On the agreement in principle. Alex Smith will average $23.5 million per year in new money on the extension and $70 million in guarantees. Nobody will be able to review that contract for awhile because officially there is no contract. https://t.co/kY9DTZH2RT— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) January 31, 2018