Washington’s Taylor Heinicke wants team to keep Alex Smith on the 2021 roster: ‘He means a lot to us’

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It certainly seems as if Alex Smith is done both in and with Washington. The veteran quarterback aired out a lot of dirty laundry recently as it relates to what it took for him to get back onto an NFL field, and not physically, but instead mentally in a battle of sorts with the Football Team. Smith made it known the organization “didn’t want me” to return from his nearly career-ending injury, and that they hesitated to give him “a fair shake” at suiting up again, an allegation supported by the team trying to give the now-ousted Dwayne Haskins multiple shots at being QB1 while developing Taylor Heinicke for the role as well.

Heinicke doesn’t want to see Smith leave, though. 

“He means a lot to the team,” said the 27-year-old, via NFL.com. “He brings a lot to the table. Hopefully we can bring him back. I know a lot of the guys love him and he’s good for the locker room and he can still play.” 

It was an explosive set of comments by Smith that likely burned a bridge that Washington was probably going to soon set ablaze anyway, if they haven’t already, considering the history and the fact they’ve now signed Heinicke to a new deal. His new contract isn’t a bank-breaker by any standard, but instead a two-year, $8.75 million deal that gives head coach Ron Rivera a chance to evaluate him as a potential starter after seeing what he could do in limited duty last season. 

Contrarily, Smith is set to hit Washington’s salary cap for a hefty $24.4 million, per Spotrac — a number that increases to $26.4 million if he’s still on the roster in 2022. Given the cap hit and the deteriorated relationship, Smith will likely hit free agency this offseason, and while Heinicke hopes that’s not the case, he’s also not naive to the reality of it all.

“Football’s a crazy business,” he added. “So who knows what’s going to happen.”

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