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Alex Smith Now the Co-Favorite to Win NFL Comeback Player of the Year After Being Cleared

David Golokhov

by David Golokhov in NFL Football

Updated Aug 18, 2020 · 3:35 PM UTC

Alex Smith on the field with Washington
Is Alex Smith a good bet to win the NFL's Comeback Player of the Year Award? Photo by Keith Allison (Wikimedia).
  • Alex Smith has been out of action since November 2018 due to a broken fibula and tibia
  • After 17 surgeries, Smith has finally been cleared to play
  • Previously a +1400 bet to win NFL Comeback Player of the Year, the Washington QB’s odds have improved to +300

The Washington Football Team got a big morale boost this week when Alex Smith returned to the practice field. The team’s former starting quarterback will compete for the job with second-year pro Dwayne Haskins and former Carolina Panther Kyle Allen.

If Smith wins back the job, it will be a feel-good story about overcoming long odds, and that’s a big reason why he is now the co-favorite in the odds to win Comeback Player of the Year. Narrative can play a big role with voters.

Is it worth it to place a bet on him?

2020 NFL Comeback Player of the Year Odds

Player Odds at DraftKings
Alex Smith (Washington) +300
Ben Roethlisberger (Steelers) +300
Cam Newton (Patriots) +400
Matthew Stafford (Lions) +800
JJ Watt (Texans) +1000
Rob Gronkowski (Buccaneers) +1100
Myles Garrett (Browns) +1600
Derwin James (Chargers) +1600
AJ Green (Bengals) +2000
Todd Gurley (Falcons) +2500
Baker Mayfield (Browns) +2500
David Johnson (Texans) +3000
Bradley Chubb (Broncos) +3300
Nick Foles (Bears) +3300
DeSean Jackson (Eagles) +3300
Marcus Mariota (Raiders) +3300
Antonio Brown (free agent) +5000
Mitchell Trubisky (Bears) +5000
Tua Tagovailoa (Dolphins) +6600
Akiem Hicks (Bears) +10000
Trent Williams (49ers) +10000

All odds taken July 18.

Smith’s Odds Improve As He Returns To Action

In 2018, when Smith suffered a compound fracture in his right leg – which led to sepsis nd 17 surgeries (several to save amputation) – many figured his career was over. Some doctors thought he’d never walk again, let alone get back to football. Through it all, though, Smith never contemplated retirement, and now he’s finally been cleared to play.

Last time we checked in on the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year award odds, Smith was at +1400. Now that he has the green light to get back on the field, he’s shot up to co-favorite. However, at this point, we don’t even know if he’ll be the starting quarterback.

Smith a Good Story, Not a Good Bet

One of the reasons why Smith has shot up the board is because he’s a feel-good story. ESPN did a documentary on him recently, which hit a lot of people in the feels. After seeing it, it’s hard not to root for the guy. Sometimes, these types of videos or viral campaigns are enough to earn player a sportsmanlike or comeback player-type of award.

The time is not ideal, though. Had this documentary aired right before the award ceremony, that would help garner support. But it will be long forgotten come January 2021, meaning Smith is going to have to play, and play well, to earn the award. I’m not certain that’s going to happen.

The Redskins quarterback job should be Dwayne Haskins’ to lose. Washington has little to gain by going back to Smith. They have to see what they have in Haskins, a 2019 first-round pick who is only in the second year of his career.

Is it possible that Smith starts over him? Of course. The current regime didn’t draft Haskins. Even so, the best plan long-term is to see how high Haskins’ ceiling is before handing the reins to a recuperating vet.

Even if Smith gets under center, he’s going to be a in tough spot. The Redskins have questions along the offensive line and at virtually every skill position. Terry McLaurin looks like a good, young wide receiver, but what else do the quarterbacks here have to work with?

Smith is in tough for this award as guys like Ben Roethlisberger, Cam Newton, Matt Stafford, J.J. Watt, and even Rob Gronkowski should deliver numbers. Maybe not all of them but at least one of the quarterbacks should be a 30-touchdown, 4000-yard passer. Smith has never thrown more than 26 touchdowns even when surrounded by better infrastructure.

At the end of the day, Smith is a good story but I don’t know if he’ll start and I don’t think he’ll produce the same type of passing numbers as some of the other players on this list. At +1400, I might think about taking a shot with him. As a co-favorite at +300, I don’t see any value here. I’d rather take a shot with Stafford at +800.

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