Redskins QB Alex Smith is among the favorites to win NFL Comeback Player of the Year … even though Smith may not ever play again following a horribly broken leg in 2018. Here are Smith’s odds at Mybookie to win 2020 NFL Comeback Player of the Year as well as the Redskins’ over/under win total.
Out of Utah, Smith was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2005 draft by the 49ers. In 2012, Smith started in nine games, but Colin Kaepernick ultimately took over his starting position and led the 49ers to the Super Bowl. Kaepernick’s rise essentially ended Smith’s tenure there.
In 2013, Smith was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs. During his time with the Chiefs, he led the league in passer rating in 2017 and was named to three Pro Bowls. In 2018, Smith was traded to the Washington Redskins and subsequently signed a four-year contract extension with them.
However, in a Nov. 18, 2018, home game vs. Houston, Smith suffered one of the most gruesome injuries in NFL history. He broke both the fibula and tibia in his right leg when Houston’s J.J. Watt and Kareem Jackson sacked him with 7 minutes, 43 seconds left in the third quarter. As Smith left the field on the cart, he waved to the crowd and put his hands together as if in a prayer.
The injury occurred 33 years to the day that former Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann suffered a career-ending gruesome injury of his own when he broke the same two bones in his right leg against the New York Giants in a Monday night game.
“It was just an eerie moment,” Theismann said. “It was surreal. You see him go down in a pile and then there’s a shot that showed his leg bent and I turned away right after that. I feel so bad for him.”
Smith missed all of 2019 and has said he has undergone 17 surgeries to repair his broken right leg as Smith ended up getting a severe infection and needed all those operations to remove tissue. Smith was in an external fixator device for eight months and almost had to have the leg amputated.
Smith has said he wants to keep playing and the Redskins can’t just cut him because he would currently leave behind $32.2 million in dead money.
It seems unlikely that Smith, now 36, will play again; Washington has a young quarterback in Dwayne Haskins and traded for Kyle Allen this offseason. That said, new Redskins coach Ron Rivera said Smith will be a part of the team’s quarterback competition if he’s healthy.
“I also don’t want to forget Alex Smith,” were Rivera’s exact words. “Here’s a guy that’s doing everything he can to come back, and if Alex can come back and be the player that he was we have a good situation; we have competition at that position.”
Rivera said that Smith would have to “protect himself out on the football field before anything can happen, before we can allow him back on the field.” Rivera hopes by the end of training camp he’ll know whether or not Smith is able to play.
Haskins was Washington’s first-round pick in the 2018 draft and it would be a huge upset if he’s not the starter in Week 1 vs. the Eagles. The Redskins are 6-point home underdogs.
Washington’s VP of player development, Doug Williams, has reassured the former No. 15 overall pick that he’s the organization’s starting quarterback moving forward, though Haskins may struggle in his second year given the turnover throughout Washington’s coaching staff. Haskins slimmed down to 220 pounds this offseason. He entered the league at 231 as a rookie. Last year, Haskins averaged 6.7 yards per attempt with just seven passing touchdowns across seven games.