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Washington Football Team to release Alex Smith, should 49ers be interested?

Could the 49ers be an option to sign the veteran as a backup to Jimmy Garoppolo?

Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

Despite coming back from a gruesome leg injury and going 5-1 as a starter last season, the Washington Football Team is going to release veteran Alex Smith.

The NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and Kim Jones are reporting that the move will become official in the coming days and the former San Francisco 49ers’ QB will become a free agent.

Smith was traded to Washington before the 2018 season. He led the team to a 6-3 start before suffering a compound fracture in his right leg during a game against the Houston Texans.

The 36-year-old went through 17 surgeries on his injured leg to fully repair the bone and clean out a bacterial infection. Smith missed the entire 2019 campaign before returning last season and helping Washington win the NFC East.

Smith was drafted No. 1 overall in 2005 by the Niners, and he wound up playing eight seasons with the team. San Francisco went 38-36-1 with Smith as the starter, and he helped the team make it to the NFC Championship Game during the 2011 season. After losing the starting job to Colin Kaepernick in 2012, he was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs in February of 2013.

General manager John Lynch has been open about the fact that the team will look to add a veteran option to backup Jimmy Garoppolo. Although Smith’s escapability has diminished after the injury, he would provide head coach Kyle Shanahan with a reliable QB in case Garoppolo gets hurt again.

Smith completed 66.6 percent of his passes last season for 1,582 yards, six touchdowns and eight interceptions. He required surgery on a bone bruise that caused him to miss the regular season’s final two games and WFT’s Wild Card Round loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

With limited cap space, Smith will be a cheap option for Lynch and Shanahan. The 49ers’ offense collapsed with Nick Mullens and C.J. Beathard filling in for Garoppolo last year, so it makes sense to bring in a proven backup.

The negative on Smith is his susceptibility to injury due to the surgically repaired leg. San Francisco’s roster is one of the best in the league when healthy and can’t afford not to have a reliable backup given Garoppolo’s injury history.

Smith was as durable as they come prior to hurting his leg. He only missed four starts for the Chiefs between 2013 and 2017. Smith has proven he can win anywhere. He went 50-26 with Kansas City and 11-5 with Washington.

A reunion with the Niners could be in the cards for Smith. It depends on if Lynch and Shanahan think he is the type of backup QB they’re looking for.

Do you think the 49ers should try and sign Smith this offseason?