The Redskins are pegging their future on Alex Smith via the first blockbuster trade of 2018. The Redskins and Kansas City Chiefs reached an agreement in principle Tuesday to trade Smith to Washington for cornerback Kendall Fuller and a 2018 third-round draft pick. As part of the agreement, the Redskins are giving Smith a four-year contract extension worth $94 million with a whopping $71 million in guarantees. The Kansas City Star first reported the trade agreement. With Smith set to be the Redskins’ new quarterback, Washington is expected to let Kirk Cousins test the free agency waters. Cousins has played the last two seasons under the franchise tag and could potentially become the highest-paid player in NFL history. Cousins fetched just under $24 million under the tag in 2017, and he’s poised to generate plenty of interest from teams potentially willing to pay top money for a passer of his caliber. Several teams, including the New York Jets, Denver Broncos, Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns and Arizona Cardinals could be part of the potential Cousins sweepstakes. As for Smith, the 33-year-old is set to start over with his third team after being displaced by another up-and-coming passer. The 49ers parted ways with Smith on the heels of Colin Kaepernick’s breakout 2012 campaign, and Kansas City is looking ahead to its future with soon-to-be sophomore signal caller Patrick Mahomes. Selected 10th overall by the Chiefs in the 2017 NFL Draft, Mahomes performed admirably in his one start, completing 22 of 35 for 284 yards in a Week 17 win over the Broncos. The Chiefs save $17 million in salary-cap space by parting ways with Smith. He was coming off a very strong 2017 campaign (4,024 yards 26 TDs and a league-best 104.7 QB rating) that ultimately ended in disappointment when the AFC West champions fell to the Tennessee Titans on Wild Card Weekend. In his five years in Kansas City, Smith was 1-4 in the playoffs. Smith said: “I’ve been playing long enough. I’ve been through this before, the trade deal, so I’m not naive to it. This is a crazy business. A lot of crazy stuff can happen, so we’ll see”. Whether Smith will eclipse Cousins’ accomplishments in Washington remains to be seen.
The Cowboys are expected to squeeze receiver Dez Bryant to take a pay cut this offseason and, if he won’t agree to one, to cut him. Cowboys Hall of Fame receiver Michael Irvin takes issue with the possibility of the team parting ways with Dez Bryant: “You don’t find No. 1 receivers hanging off trees like leaves. So what you gonna do, let Dez go? Who they got to replace him? . . . You don’t find them this easily, and the Cowboys would be stupid — stupid — to let this boy go right now”. Irvin didn’t disagree with the question that something needs to change, but he still thinks the connection between Bryant and quarterback Dak Prescott needs work, with Prescott learning (for example) to throw the ball to Bryant even when it’s not in the plan in order to harness his “positive energy.” Irvin has a good point; unless the Cowboys have a plan for replacing Dez as the team’s top wideout, they need to find a way to keep him. If they do, however, they need to get him to play more like a No. 1 wideout. Even if they do, it’s hard to justify keeping him at a salary of $12.5 million and a cap number of $16.5 million. Which opens the door perhaps to a restructured deal that allows him to make back whatever pay cut he takes based on his performance.
The Philadelphia Eagles’ Super Bowl hopes looked doomed when Carson Wentz went down with a torn ACL in early December — until Nick Foles proved he’s worth every penny the team has invested in him. Speaking to reporters at Super Bowl LII Opening Night, Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie didn’t mince words when it comes to the impact Foles has made this season: “Our priority, as you’ve seen, is to make sure we have the very best possible other starting quarterback. I won’t even call [Foles] a backup, because we had him evaluated as a very strong quarterback. He’s been 18-5 for us over the last 23 games when Nick has started a game and finished”. The two-year, $11 million contract (including $7 million in guarantees) the Eagles signed Foles to last March might have seemed steep at the time for a signal-caller who only appeared in three games with the Chiefs last year. Lurie said he and Howie Roseman, the Eagles’ executive vice president of football operations, knew signing Foles was the insurance policy they needed in case Wentz was lost to injury. Lurie added: “We never knew it would come to this, but we knew that Nick could win big games for us”. While Foles admitted Monday he never imagined he “would be the starter in the Super Bowl when the season started,” if he replicates the kind of performance he had against the Minnesota Vikings, the Eagles could very well win their first Super Bowl title.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick drew some attention upon his arrival in Minnesota for wearing not his trademark hoodie, but a suit with a fedora. Belichick said it was a hat that had special meaning for him: “That was my dad’s hat, so I thought I’d just toss that one on today. Minnesota’s a good place to have a hat”. Belichick said his girlfriend, Linda Holliday, helps him pick out his traveling clothes. “Yeah, she might have had a little bit to do with it,” Belichick said. Belichick’s father, Steve Belichick, played briefly for the Detroit Lions and was a longtime football coach and scout who spent 34 years at Navy. He died in 2005.