5 ways the Alex Smith trade to Washington affects the Bills
By: Nick Wojton
A bombshell trade went down in the NFL late Tuesday evening and the ripple effect will reach all the way to Buffalo.
The Kansas City Chiefs have dealt quarterback Alex Smith to the Washington Redskins, according to multiple reports. During the 2017 NFL Draft, the Chiefs traded up to the No. 10 pick with the Bills to take rookie QB Pat Mahomes. It’s now Mahomes time in KC.
In regard to the Bills, here are five ways it affects them:
No Smith: Clamoring for Smith to the Bills is now over. A short time after the trade, Smith inked a four-year, $94 million deal with $71 million in guarantees, according to NFL Network. Smith was viewed as a bridge quarterback for the Bills, but the deal the Redskins swung for him indicated they think higher of him than that. He’ll be 38 when it expires.
Cousins available: With Smith’s arrival in Washington, Kirk Cousins will be available when free agency begins on March 14. Cousins will be the top-target for many teams, and according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Buffalo is one of them. The past two seasons, Cousins has been franchise tagged by the Redskins. Overall, Cousins only has a 26-30-1 record as a starter, however, in three seasons as a starting quarterback, he’s thrown for more than 4,000 in each with at least 25 touchdowns. According to Spotrac, Cousins has a calculated market value of $25.6 million per year.
Tyrod’s value: Heading to Kansas City from Washington for Smith will be a 2018 third-round draft pick and cornerback Kendall Fuller. Per Schefter, the Chiefs view Fuller as a starter in their defense. If that’s the case, the Bills should at least be able to trade Tyord Taylor for a late-round pick. As many as six teams were in on Smith before he was traded, per Schefter.
Tyrod’s reverse value: On the flip side, the deal shows how valuable Taylor would be if he stayed with the Bills. Smith’s cap hit in 2017 will be $17 million but the full details on his extension have yet to be released. He’ll average $23.5 million a year over it. Taylor, who took the Bills to the postseason, will only have a cap hit of $18 million for the Bills next season. If he stays, Buffalo has approximately $30 million in cap space, depending on how the team works out Eric Wood’s retirement on the salary cap. Finishing out Taylor’s deal might be the best option since he carries an $8.6 million dead cap hit next year if the Bills release to trade him. It’s a sticky situation and I don’t envy Buffalo general manager Brandon Beane when I think about it.
NFL Draft: If the Bills replace Taylor, it would likely be with a rookie since the team could afford one with the rookie wage scale. The Smith deal actually helps the Bills in regard to drafting one, too. The Redskins will select 13th in the upcoming draft. They could have used the draft to replace Cousins. Instead, they’ll go with Smith. Never say never, but it’s less likely at least. And of course, the Chiefs don’t have a first-round pick. The Bills have it. Buffalo will select 21st and 22nd thanks to KC. Teams drafting in front of the Bills who currently might have interest in selecting a QB include Cleveland (2 picks), NY Giants, NY Jets, Denver, Cincinnati, and Arizona. Click here for previous coverage on team’s interest in QB’s in the 2018 draft.