Brian Mitchell wants stronger QB play than Alex Smith, Kyle Allen can provide

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Ryan Homler
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BMitch wants higher-upside QBs than Alex Smith, Kyle Allen originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

On Wednesday's edition of 106.7 The Fan's "BMitch & Finlay" radio show, co-hosts Brian Mitchell and JP Finlay brought up what was viewed as the "elephant in the room" surrounding the Washington Football Team. Will Alex Smith be back?

Given his large cap hit of over $20 million for the upcoming season, it seems as if the answer is no. Even if his incredible comeback story complicates the decision, the money just doesn't make sense.

However, the conversation eventually turned to a question of if Mitchell would prefer Smith or Kyle Allen to return. In this scenario, Taylor Heinicke is on the roster and Washington adds another passer from the outside, leaving a potential spot for just one of them

To Mitchell, there isn't exactly a correct choice. In fact, both quarterbacks may be the wrong answer.

The reasoning stems from what he wants out of the man under center for the Washington Football Team: Someone who can win and elevate the offense.

“Now I could have Heinicke, that guy and a draft pick and both of those guys could not be there," Mitchell said. "For me, I couldn’t care less if either one of them come back if they’re not going to be the main guy.”

Mitchell is fine with Heinicke being part of the equation because there is upside there for the quarterback that has started just two NFL games but impressed with his small sample size.

Yet the rest of the room could be filled out with a free agent acquisition and a draft pick rather than Smith or Allen, and Mitchell likes that idea because it potentially gives Washington three quarterbacks that could all be "the guy" if needed.

With Smith and Allen, Mitchell doesn't see either of them matching that description. Allen's ceiling is just not high enough, and with Smith there are multiple concerns.

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His heart and character are undeniable, but being a 36-year old quarterback with limited mobility isn't exactly what the team is looking for. A small injury could create larger setbacks due to his history, and to Mitchell, the quarterback has somewhat struggled to consistently hold the No. 1 spot throughout his career. 

“But ultimately there have been a lot of coaches when he was at his absolute best still didn’t think his best was going to get them where they wanted to go," Mitchell said. "People want to ignore that fact, do it. But ultimately there were teams out there when he was younger, not injured and at his best, still felt that somebody else could take us farther.”

The former Washington player was most likely referring to Smith's time in San Francisco and Kansas City. Despite finding success with both teams, he was quickly replaced by both Colin Kaepernick and Patrick Mahomes. 

Though he's won a lot of games -- like with Washington in 2020 -- the fact that teams still felt other options were better is a negative sign for Mitchell. At 36, it's hard to see Smith ever becoming more than what he once was even at his peak. 

Washington needs more than that right now. Whether it comes in the form of a proven winner or players with a high upside, Mitchell wants to see passers that can take the team to the next level. He doesn't see that in Smith or Allen.

“So we can keep saying 5-1, and get us to the point where we are sliding into the playoffs and getting knocked out quickly or not even making the playoffs," Mitchell said. "But that’s not where I want to be. I want to be where we’re going to be a true contender on a yearly basis. And I think right now, that’s not happening with those quarterbacks we’re talking about.”