If Washington Wants to Keep Alex Smith, It's Time to Give Dwayne Haskins a Fresh Start

If Washington keeps Alex Smith, it's time Dwayne Haskins gets a fresh start originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

Washington made a disastrous decision to take Dwayne Haskins in the 2019 NFL Draft, and it’s become even more obvious with a new report that the team will keep Alex Smith for the 2021 season

Seriously, think about this: Washington will be keeping a 37-year-old quarterback on its roster at $23 million on the salary cap even though they just drafted a first-round passer that will cost them about $20 million less on the cap. Oh, and the 37-year-old is coming off nearly two missed seasons after a broken leg that required 17 surgeries to overcome. 

That’s a (word that rhymes with ducking) mess. 

There is blame for lots of people in this debacle, but the bulk of it goes to Washington owner Dan Snyder and former team president Bruce Allen. Those two teamed up to pick Haskins. The football people did not think it was the right move. Snyder and Allen didn’t care and picked him anyway. 

How’d that end up?

The 2019 Washington coaching staff didn’t have the time or interest to invest in Haskins’ development, and then they all got fired. When Ron Rivera took over in 2020, he offered some lukewarm encouragement for Haskins, but it didn’t work either. 

Haskins got to be Rivera’s starter for 11 weeks, but then he got not just benched but demoted to third-string. 

That’s a damning indictment on Haskins, like it or not, and while Rivera won’t publicly say he’s done with the second-year passer, it becomes more obvious every day. 

What happens next? Well, it sure seems like Haskins’ agent asked for a trade already and the volume of that request will only increase this offseason. 

Haskins is a nice young man with a big arm. He didn’t deserve to be thrust into this volatile situation, the cocktail of blind arrogance and ineptitude that has besieged the Washington Football Team for 20-plus years. 

Still, Haskins didn’t make it better either. Rivera has one of the best reputations in the NFL, players respect him, so whatever happened between the coach and the quarterback, it must have been problematic. 

Think about it this way - Rivera cut Josh Norman when he took over the Washington job, and Norman still spoke highly of Rivera. That tells you plenty. 

Whether he wanted him or not, Rivera didn’t draft Haskins and looks poised to move forward next year. It will likely be Smith and a new rookie QB. Smith has thrived in that role before, and will be asked to do it again. Maybe it will work out great.

Still doesn’t change the Category 5 Hurricane Botch job done by Snyder and Allen to waste the 15th pick in 2019. 

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