By Michael Spencer

DENVER (CBS4) – The 2017 NFL season has yet to end, but there are already big trades in the works to impact the 2018 season. On Tuesday night the Kansas City Chiefs agreed to trade quarterback Alex Smith to the Washington Redskins.

This is big news for Broncos fans for several reasons, the most obvious being that it solidifies the widely held thought that Kirk Cousins will leave Washington this offseason.

Quarterback Kirk Cousins of the Washington Redskins and wide receiver Bennie Fowler of the Denver Broncos shake hands after the Redskins defeated the Broncos 27-11 at FedExField on Dec. 24, 2017. (credit: Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

Cousins played under the franchise tag the last two seasons in D.C. and was set to become a free agent this off-season. There was talk that the Redskins could franchise Cousins for a third season, but with the move last night to acquire Smith the “Cousins Era” in D.C. is over and now the question becomes where will he land.

The Broncos were going to go after Cousins before last night’s trade, and while the news of Smith-to-Washington doesn’t guarantee Cousins-to-Denver, it does mean the Broncos have one less team to compete with.

Quarterback Kirk Cousins of the Washington Redskins throws a first half pass against the Denver Broncos at FedExField on Dec. 24, 2017 in Landover, Maryland. (credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Cousins will have plenty of suitors with teams like Arizona, Jacksonville, Cleveland and the New York Jets reportedly interested in his services, but having Washington out of the picture bolsters the Broncos chances of landing the prized free agent.

The Smith-to-Washington trade also takes away the possibility of the Broncos signing Smith.

Smith had one year left on his deal in Kansas City, but there was the possibility that the Chiefs could have released him, which would have made him a free agent and Denver likely would have been in the mix to sign him.

Alex Smith of the Kansas City Chiefs calls out the play on Nov. 19, 2017 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (credit: Elsa/Getty Images)

Fewer free agent options might mean a higher price for Cousins, and while Smith, who turns 34 in May, spent the past five seasons as a division rival, there are plenty of Broncos fans who would have welcomed him to Denver with open arms.

One thing that is important to note is that no deal can be finalized until the new league year begins on March 14.

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Broncos linebacker Von Miller spoke about Cousins in an interview Wednesday morning on “The Dan Patrick Show,” saying he “could take us over the edge.”

The next big date on the NFL calendar following Sunday’s Super Bowl is the NFL Combine, which will begin on Feb. 27 and runs through March 5 in Indianapolis.

Michael Spencer is a Sports Anchor at CBS4. Read his bio or connect with him on Twitter @MichaelCBS4.