In the next breath after connecting the Denver Broncos to Andy Dalton, 104.3 The Fan’s John Clayton floated another free agent quarterback to stay behind – or possibly replace – outgoing starter Drew Lock.

“What about Alex Smith? He was told on Thursday that he was officially released by the Washington football team. He could also be an option,” Clayton recently wrote.

Broncos fans (and a few players) know Smith, the No.1 pick in the 2005 draft, formerly of the San Francisco 49ers, who spent the 2013-17 seasons with Andy Reid in Kansas City. He defected to Washington in 2018 and that year suffered a career-threatening leg injury that turned into life-threatening necrotizing fasciitis before doctors managed to save his leg – and his career as a result. player.

Following a grueling recovery process that spanned the entire 2019 campaign, Smith returned to the field last October, taking over from injured Washington quarterback Kyle Allen. To top off a fairytale story, Smith played eight games (six starts), completing 168 of 252 passes for 1,582 yards, six touchdowns and eight interceptions.

Despite winning the 2020 NFL Player of the Year award and helping lead the football team to an unlikely NFC East title, the organization opted to go their separate ways, releasing Smith on March 5.

The embodiment of a safer-than-sorry game manager, Smith ranks ninth all-time among active callers with 35,650 career passing yards. He threw 199 touchdowns against 109 picks with a 62.6 completion percentage and a 99-67-1 record in 174 appearances (167 starts).

Smith intends to resurface in 2021, his 37-year-old season. He is arguably the top pick among a veteran QB market that includes Dalton, Mitchell Trubisky, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Cam Newton, and Tyrod Taylor. Potential business options include Deshaun Watson of Houston, Russell Wilson of Seattle and Sam Darnold from New York.

Clayton reports that the Broncos “want competition for Lock,” although it’s not clear whether the organization – led by new general manager George Paton – prefers a full-blown QB battle or just a mentor for the inconsistent third year pro but still developing.

“He could still be the starter in 2021. But that’s not necessarily a lock for Lock this time around,” Clayton wrote.

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