The process of getting Alex Smith to the Redskins started a week after the end of the regular season.
The personnel staff and the coaches got together with the task of finding a new quarterback for the Washington Redskins. It had become apparent that Kirk Cousins would not be back and they need to get to work.
Doug Williams said that at the first meetings of the “brain trust”, the coaches and the personnel department met separately, each group coming up with a quarterback solution. When they got together as a group, the found that they had come up with the same solution—Smith, the Chiefs quarterback who was available in a trade because the team was moving on to a younger QB in Patrick Mahomes.
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The Redskins were not the only interested team. Although trading for Smith did not require the player’s permission, the Redskins wanted some long-term stability at quarterback so they wanted to negotiate contract extension. In the end they got four years added on to the final season of his Chiefs contract.
“Alex chose us,” said Williams.
Smith talked a little of his involvement in the process.
“I think that everybody involved had to be on board with it,” he said. “I obviously was fortunate enough and happy enough that everybody was, because this is where I wanted to be and it did work out.”
News of the deal was reported shortly after it was finished up in late January during the week before the Super Bowl. But the trade could not become official until Wednesday, when the new league year started.
“I feel like I’ve been waiting on this a long time,” said Smith. “I think everybody knew but funny rules, you can’t talk about certain things and timing and deadlines and things like that so I’m glad it’s finally here. I’m excited about it, excited that this day’s here.”
While Smith was glad that he could acknowledge the worst-kept secret of the year, the date he is really looking forward to is April 16. That is when the offseason workout program starts and he will be able to spend some time with his new teammates.
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Smith will be starting his 14th year in the NFL. But he has plenty of unfinished business that keeps him motivated.
“I’ve never won a championship,” he said. “Never won a Super Bowl, that’s what we’re all chasing, the ultimate. This is the ultimate team sport, the most competitive sport in the world, the greatest sport in the world and we’re chasing that ultimate dream.”
The Redskins have not won a championship in a long time. While it certainly seems like a long shot right now, it’s the offseason, everyone is 0-0 and, as both Williams and Smith said, it’s time to look forward and not in the rearview mirror.