So, the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers have agreed to a deal that will send quarterback Alex Smith to the Chiefs for the Chiefs' second round pick this year and a conditional pick in 2014.
What's wrong Chiefs fans, this move doesn't excite you?
Many critics contend that Smith is no better than incumbent quarterback Matt Cassel. Granted, if you're shortsighted enough to just look at touchdowns. interceptions, and QB rating over their entire careers, then Cassel is slightly better than Smith.
Smith however, is seeing his star rise while Cassel is on his way out of town after two horrendous final seasons in Kansas City. More importantly, Smith is a better option for the Chiefs to start this season than anyone they could select in this year's weak quarterback draft class.
Let's look at a few other factors that make this trade a very smart move for the Chiefs:
- Having played in a similar offensive system in San Francisco, Smith should make effective use of receivers Dwayne Bowe, Jon Baldwin, tight end Tony Moeaki, and Jamaal Charles out of the backfield.
- There is no quarterback in this year's draft class, including West Virginia's Geno Smith and USC's Matt Barkley, who are capable of stepping in and starting and making this or any other team competitive in 2013. Running Andy Reid's offense, Alex Smith will have the Chiefs back in the playoff hunt.
- Having seen Geno Smith look very mediocre at times against Big 12 competition this season, it is a very real possibility that as the top-rated quarterback in this draft class, that neither he or any of the quarterbacks slated to go in the first two rounds will ever amount to much in the NFL.
- Trading for Alex Smith allows the Chiefs to draft the best player available in this year's draft. Instead of reaching for a quarterback with the first overall pick, the Chiefs can select a player far more worthy of the pick, perhaps tackle Luke Joeckel, defensive lineman Star Lotulelei, or cornerback Dee Milliner.
- Since there is no Robert Griffin III or Andrew Luck in this draft, the Chiefs can wait to see if they can find the next Russell Wilson or Kirk Cousins in round three or round four. Solid quarterback prospects like Ryan Nassib, Tyler Wilson, and Tyler Bray could all end up being better than Geno Smith and they will all likely be available for the Chiefs in later rounds.
The Chiefs move for Alex Smith will frustrate many Chiefs fans who haven't seen a win under a quarterback drafted by the Chiefs in over 30 years. And while it isn't nearly as exciting as when they signed another former 49er (and Hall of Famer) in Joe Montana, they are getting a 29-year-old former first overall pick who has won more playoff games than any other player on the Chiefs roster.
Also, the main reason the Chiefs lost so many games in 2012 was that they turned the ball over at a ridiculous rate all season long. Smith, who shattered Steve Young's team record for consecutive passes without an interception (249 to 184), fits perfectly into coach Andy Reid's offensive system that requires a quarterback who doesn't take big chances or turn the ball over.
Going into the last year of his contract, it's likely the 49ers would've held onto Smith had he never gotten hurt last season, which was long enough to show them what they had in rookie Colin Kaepernick.
Smith proved to be an excellent mentor, a role he will undoubtedly be expected to fill again in Kansas City. Expect the Chiefs to sign him a three to five-year deal and find his eventual replacement, either in this year's draft or next.
At the end of the day, even if this move doesn't excite Chiefs fans, a comparison of his past two seasons compared to Cassel's should make fans feel a little more confident about the coming season.
- Smith (64.3), Cassel (58.8)
YPA (yards per attempt):
- Smith (7.36), Cassel (6.42)
- Smith (26), Cassel (18)
- Smith (30), Cassel (16)
- Smith (10), Cassel (21)