The Alex Smith trade could judgment a Redskins to long-term mediocrity

The Kirk Cousins agreement tale began with a Washington Redskins reticent to dedicate Rolls-Royce income to merely a good and arguable automobile. It shifted when Cousins grew distant some-more smitten with leisure than security. Then finally, mercifully, strangely, dual unnerving years of dilapidation finished Tuesday night during a State of a Union address, in a center of Super Bowl hype and with those infamously imprudent, burgundy-stained decision-makers hurling a authorization from one quandary to a next.

You could blemish your conduct tender introspective a outcome: The group reticent to dedicate Rolls-Royce income to merely a good and arguable vehicle usually traded a third-round collect and a good 22-year-old cornerback to a Kansas City Chiefs for Alex Smith, who is merely a good and arguable automobile. That’s not a misfortune part, however. To finish a deal, a group committed Rolls-Royce income to Smith — reportedly a four-year, $94 million prolongation that includes $71 million in guaranteed pay, on tip of his $17 million income for subsequent deteriorate — who turns 34 in May. Washington couldn’t establish on a long-term agreement with a quarterback it drafted and neat for 6 seasons, though tentative sum of a agreement structure, it gave Smith what appears to be a third-largest pledge in NFL history.

The new good and arguable vehicle is also 4 years comparison than Cousins, and while Smith is a allied talent who has won some-more since he has played on well-rounded teams of late, he is not as assertive and effective throwing down a margin as Cousins (who is usually normal in that area), not as artistic throwing when plays mangle down as Cousins (who is somewhat above normal in that area) and not as arguable of a touchdown generator as Cousins (who leaves copiousness of room for griping in that area).

In 3 seasons as a full-time starter, Cousins has averaged 4,392 yards and 27 touchdowns. In 2017, Smith had a best of his 13 NFL seasons, throwing for some-more than 4,000 yards for a initial time and posting a career-high 26 touchdown passes. Smith is jaunty and can run. He frequency throws interceptions, that is a good attribute. But there’s a locate to his success: During good runs with Jim Harbaugh in San Francisco and Andy Reid in Kansas City, a coaches did an well-developed office of building around him, and Smith thrived since he played a tiny and really tangible role. And afterwards those coaches dumped him for younger and some-more gifted quarterbacks.

Alex Smith is a new Redskins’ quarterback. (Charlie Riedel/AP)

Smith did some-more complicated lifting final season, though 2017 is an anomaly when we demeanour during his résumé. For a infancy of his career, he has been a don’t-mess-it-up quarterback. Considering a holes on Washington’s roster, this is a problem. To win with Smith, a register needs a lot of upgrades. Just to be Cousins-era normal with Smith, he needs a lot some-more help.

The Redskins were right to be active in seeking quarterback security. Of course, if they had been some-more active negotiating with Cousins, quite in a early stages, they competence not have indispensable to spin to Plan B options. Remember that dual years ago, when they placed a authorization tab on Cousins for a initial time, a quarterback due a four-year agreement averaging about $19 million per deteriorate with $44 million in guaranteed money. If Washington had concluded to those terms, Cousins would be dual years into a agreement that would have him outward a tip 10 highest-paid quarterbacks in both normal annual income and sum dollars.

At a time, it competence have seemed like a lot of income for a actor but a prolonged lane record. But a authorization can’t censor behind layman’s naivete. The front bureau is paid to weigh talent and devise salaries to establish satisfactory deals. It blew it in both phases. Team President Bruce Allen didn’t entirely conclude Cousins’s talent until it was too late, and he got all wide-eyed and neutral about a agreement offer that Cousins simply could have outperformed. You get forward by meditative ahead. You tumble behind by, well, being a Redskins.

Before a Cousins debacle, no group had used dual authorization tags on a quarterback since no group would be so foolish. With impassioned arrogance, Allen pooh-poohed a problem of a Cousins contract, botched a negotiations and attempted to save face by releasing a routinely private sum of a agreement offer that Cousins didn’t respond to final year. That attempt was explanation that a attribute wasn’t going to finish with a long-term agreement. Washington was unfailing to be in deliver mode, and Cousins was going to strike a open market.

As delegate options go, Smith is a plain choice in a vacuum. Forget about comparing statistics for usually a minute. He is a useful maestro quarterback. He has Cousins-level character. It’s not a bad thing to wish Smith.

The problem is that Washington went too distant in posterior him. Why? For one, Coach Jay Gruden was finished with a uncertainty. He couldn’t stomach another year of innuendo and a miss of clarity about how to build a offense for a prolonged haul. But this trade also reeks of Allen and a group overreaching again to make a matter about stability. It would have been wiser to play a diversion a small longer and oldster other quarterback options. This looks to be a singular offseason of decent possibilities during a position. In giveaway agency, a trade marketplace and a draft, Washington had some-more choices than usual.

It could have serve explored regulating a No. 13 altogether collect on a high-ceiling quarterback, or signing a refuge quarterback while drafting a destiny vigilance tourist a small later, or watchful out a probable accessibility of Cincinnati Bengals quarterback and Gruden contingent Andy Dalton in a trade. Instead, Allen went all in on Smith in late January. Trading a 2018 third-round collect was standard, and a group could get behind a 2019 third-rounder as a saving collect for Cousins in giveaway agency. Inserting Fuller into a understanding was unreasonable. Extending Smith during a tip of his value was preposterous.

Smith used his precedence perfectly. He would not have come to Washington with one year left on his contract; he competence have usually quit. The group had to dedicate to make it work, and Smith was entrance off a best of his 13 veteran years. After Cousins’s 2015 breakthrough, Allen balked during such a risk. But if a Redskins are meditative that Smith will have some-more career years after a age of 34 — while directing an offense lacking an determined using diversion and a No. 1 far-reaching receiver and sticking to an oft-injured star parsimonious finish — they usually jumped out of a craft but contrast their parachute.

Yes, it’s improved than fixation a third authorization tab on Cousins, that would have cost $34.47 million. It’s improved than a $28.7 million transition tab cost for Cousins. But is this a best long-term resolution Allen could muster? After all this time, after shelling out $44 million a past dual seasons for a temp quarterback, did a tale have to finish on some pointless Tuesday night in a final week of January?

Washington paid tip dollar, in trade resources and that fat new contract, for quarterback security. It has cost certainty now. It competence not know accurately how Smith will fit in Gruden’s complement or either it can build a finish group around a contingent quarterback creation luminary money.

But when a understanding becomes official, Smith will be underneath agreement for 5 years. It’s not accurately news that will enthuse we to go acid for a subsequent 5 Super Bowl sites. The end of quarterback confidence was a excellent pursuit. However, a execution of this devise could judgment a authorization to long-term mediocrity.

One ungainly and mismanaged quarterbacking maze ends. Another begins.

Read more:

A QB trade, a Kirk Cousins goodbye and Twitter mayhem: Tuesday night was rise Redskins

Kirk Cousins’s reign in Washington comes to an unaccepted end

Kendall Fuller’s ungainly night of doubt finished with a fulfilment he’d been traded

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