After 390 yards passing Sunday and continued improvement on the field this season, Alex Smith proved he belongs back on the field for the Washington Football Team. That's no longer a question.
The question now becomes about Smith's future and the 2021 season.
Smith is under contract for next year with a cap number of $23 million. In the NFL of 2021, that's not particularly high for a veteran quarterback. There are 13 quarterbacks with a bigger cap number than Smith next year, including Kirk Cousins, Jared Goff and Carson Wentz.
None of this is to suggest Smith is the long-term answer at quarterback. He's not.
In fact, Washington probably should select a new quarterback early in the 2021 NFL Draft, and that could include the first round.
Even with a new rookie quarterback in town, Smith has a proven ability to help young QBs develop. Look no further than Patrick Mahomes' rookie season, where he sat behind Smith for nearly a full season in Kansas City. Mahomes is now the best passer in the NFL and he profusely thanks Smith for all the guidance and advice his rookie season.
The elephant in the room here is Dwayne Haskins.
For the optimists, maybe some sort of reconciliation can occur between Haskins and the Washington Football Team after his Week 4 benching.
For the pessimists, Haskins will never start another NFL game.
For the realists, the truth is probably in the middle.
Haskins doesn't seem to be part of the Washington QB picture in 2021, but it's possible that changes, and if not in Washington, it's certainly possible the 15th overall pick in 2019 finds a new team that works out.
It does seem, at this point, that Smith is more likely to be on the Washington roster next year than Haskins.
Both are under contract, but if Ron Rivera decides to start over at QB and does draft a new rookie passer, Smith can help. And if the rookie takes over the starting job, Smith will be the perfect teammate. That's not wishful thinking, it's been proven multiple times.
So stop wondering if Smith is the right guy for Washington right now. Ron Rivera isn't just killing time with Smith as his starting quarterback, the coach is seeing what the veteran QB has left.
For this season and for next.