WFT releases Alex Smith: One bittersweet takeaway

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JP Finlay
·2 min read
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One bittersweet takeaway from the WFT’s release of Alex Smith originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

The Washington Football Team has plenty going on these days, but in a bittersweet way, disgruntled fans got a reminder Friday of some very good news. 

Ron Rivera is firmly in charge of football operations. 

Washington released veteran quarterback Alex Smith on Friday - a decision that makes sense for the team and the team says Smith requested - and that move means a lot. 

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It’s no secret Smith had a close relationship with team owner Dan Snyder, and in past years and past regimes, a close relationship with ownership often meant a player was sticking around no matter what the coaches or front office wanted.

Instead, in this instance, Rivera got to make the obvious, correct football decision. 

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Smith’s comeback story is incredible and inspirational, and as a person, Smith is a consummate professional and a class act. 

Still, it doesn’t make football sense for Washington to keep 36-year-old Smith with a $24 million cap hit, especially not when the team can create nearly $15 million more in cap space with his release. And particularly when there are legitimate durability questions surrounding Smith’s surgically repaired right leg. 

Unlike previous situations in Ashburn, nostalgia did not rule the day. Emotion did not rule the day. Cronyism did not rule the day. 

Rivera ruled the day. 

And while that’s been the case since he was hired in early 2020, it’s nice for wary Washington fans to have the reminder. It’s already been shown with the trade of Trent Williams last offseason and the Week 17 release of Dwayne Haskins.

Williams asked to be released but Bruce Allen wouldn't release him. It only hurt the organization as his trade value reduced from a first-rounder to a third and a fifth. The football personnel execs didn't even want to draft Haskins in 2019, but he got drafted anyway. The result was a disaster. 

Those decisions, and plenty of previous decisions, were not driven by sound football decision-making.

Under Rivera's watch, that's no longer the case.

Smart football people making smart football decisions. That’s nice to hear from Ashburn.