Redskins reportedly believe Alex Smith will miss the entire 2019 season with leg injury

Just before last season's Super Bowl, the Redskins engineered a blockbuster trade for Alex Smith and committed to him as their long-term quarterback with a four-year extension after continually refusing to tie the knot with Kirk Cousins. Almost exactly a year later, the Redskins are reportedly preparing to play the 2019 season without Smith at quarterback. 

According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the Redskins believe Smith will miss the entire 2019 season after a gruesome broken leg prematurely ended his first season in Washington in mid-November. After undergoing surgery, Smith reportedly battled complications and infection. Rapoport reported on Sunday that the Redskins will be "pleasantly surprised" if Smith can play next season. And it's probably worth mentioning that Rapoport reported in December that "no one has been able to definitively say he is going to play football going forward."

Here's his most recent report:

Obviously, Smith's health matters more than football. That goes without saying. Last week, he made his first public appearance since surgery.

But Rapoport's report confirms that the Redskins find themselves in an impossibly difficult position. Beyond Smith, the only other quarterback on the Redskins' roster is long-time backup Colt McCoy. After Smith went down, the Redskins turned to McCoy before he suffered a leg injury of his own. Mark Sanchez and Josh Johnson, both of whom are set to become free agents this offseason, finished out the year under center. Put together, the Redskins went 1-5 in games not started by Smith after going 6-4 with Smith. 

Without Smith, they don't really have a clear path forward. They likely won't want to invest a ton of money in another quarterback considering Smith carries a $20.4 million cap hit in 2019 and a $21.4 million cap hit in 2020. Smith, 34, doesn't really become cuttable until 2021. They could roll into next season with McCoy as their starter, but they can't reasonably expect to compete for a playoff spot with a backup-caliber quarterback. They could sign an inexpensive free agent with a higher ceiling, but they already refused to sign Colin Kaepernick this past regular season when they were still alive in the playoff race without Smith. They could draft a quarterback. On that note, both of our draft writers here at CBS Sports -- Ryan Wilson and Chris Trapasso -- have the Redskins taking a quarterback in their most recent mock drafts. 

The fact remains that less than a year after trading for Smith and giving him a huge deal instead of giving Cousins the contract he'd wanted for so long, the Redskins might have the worst quarterback situation in football. At this point, it's difficult to project optimism for either the team or quarterback. The Redskins are stuck with a $20 million quarterback who likely won't be able to play next season, and a 34-year-old quarterback is trying to recover from a devastating injury that could potentially wreck his professional football career. At this point, it's difficult to be positive about the situation from any perspective.

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CBS Sports Writer

Sean Wagner-McGough joined CBS Sports in 2015 after graduating from UC Berkeley. A native of Seattle, Sean now resides in the Bay Area. He spends his spare time defending Jay Cutler on Twitter. Full Bio

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