MOBILE, Ala. — Washington Redskins President Bruce Allen expressed uncertainty about quarterback Alex Smith playing during the 2019 season, further clouding Washington’s outlook at the most important position — and one of the most expensive — on their roster.
Speaking to reporters for the first time in nearly two years at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., Allen declined to answer directly when asked whether Smith will be a contributor in 2019. Instead, Allen said the organization would take time to reach a conclusion.
“Well, we don’t have to make that decision right now,” Allen said. “We have obviously some time until the draft. I think [Vice President of Player Personnel Doug Williams] and his crew will rank all the players and try and build a winning team for 2019.”
In Week 11 against the Houston Texans, Smith broke both the tibia and fibula in his right leg. After surgery, Smith’s recovery was complicated by an infection. The Redskins released a statement asking for privacy, and teammates visited him in the hospital and expressed public concern. One person familiar with the situation said concern existed that the injury could be career-threatening.
Smith surfaced Monday at the Washington Wizards game wearing a hulking contraption and wrap around his right leg. The nature of the device raised the question of whether Smith would require another surgery. Allen declined to answer.
“I’m not going to get into that,” Allen said. “I’m not a doctor. That’s one thing I will declare right here. I never went to medical school. But he’s going to follow the doctor’s advice and his wife’s advice and we’ll see what happens. You’ll see him around.”
Smith’s contract situation makes the Redskins' quarterback prospects thorny. His deal — a four-year, $94 million pact with $71 million guaranteed, signed before last season — will count $20.4 million against Washington’s 2019 salary cap. That figure alone does not hamstring the Redskins, but signing another veteran quarterback to play as Smith recovers, while also paying Colt McCoy $3.5 million, would require the Redskins to devote a giant portion of their salary cap to the position.
Their only recourse may be to draft a quarterback, perhaps using the 15th overall pick. A young quarterback would provide the Redskins with a future beyond Smith at the position and, because of a cheap rookie contract, help offset the burden of Smith’s salary on their cap.
When asked whether Washington would prioritize a quarterback in the draft process, Allen was noncommittal.
The Senior Bowl “is the last college football game, so it’s exciting to get to see these guys play football the last time,” Allen said. “We prioritize every position with the team. We’ll see what we get with free agency and the draft.”
The Redskins also could give McCoy a chance to start. He took over after Smith’s injury, but he fractured his fibula in the first half of his second start in Philadelphia.
“Obviously, we like Colt a lot,” Allen said. “That’s why we signed him last year. You have to appreciate these injuries from a player’s perspective. Their dream is to get on the field. Alex felt bad for Colt’s unfortunate injury. Colt’s going to be ready to go at the beginning of the offseason program. I’m sure he’s looking forward to competing for the starting job.”
While providing little information on Smith’s recovery or the franchise’s outlook, Allen wished Smith well and thanked those who have wished Smith well.
“It was great to see him at the Wizards game [Monday],” Allen said. “He brought them some good luck, and they got a win. He is moving around and well on his way to a recovery.
“Let me say this: I appreciate the love and the care that all of our fans have reached out to him — NFL players around the league — with this injury. It’s a tough thing for him and his family, but all the love and care has helped him quite a bit. We’ll see where it goes. We’re optimistic. If anyone can come back, it’s Alex. I’m sure he wanted to shoot hoops at the game yesterday, but we’ll see.”
Read more from The Post: