Alex Smith Must Have Career Year for Chiefs to Justify Investment

Jesse Reed@@JesseReed78Correspondent IMarch 6, 2013

FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 16:  Alex Smith #11 of the San Francisco 49ers warms up before a game with the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on December 16, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

All the trials and tribulations Alex Smith faced during his tenure with the San Francisco 49ers have led him to the point of no return.

The embattled quarterback must now have a career-defining year with the Kansas City Chiefs to justify the pricey investment the team has sunk into him as its starter or go down in history as one of the biggest busts in NFL history.

Not only is Smith a former No. 1 overall pick, but now he carries the weight of a monster trade on his shoulders. 

According to the San Jose Mercury News' Tim Kawakami:

The second-round pick the 49ers reportedly will receive this year is the No. 34 overall pick of the draft, which is darn-near a first-round pick. 

The second pick that the 49ers receive will either be a third-round pick in 2014 or a second-round pick, depending on how many games the Chiefs win this upcoming season, per Kawakami

Expectations couldn't be higher for Smith and the Chiefs under new head coach Andy Reid this year. As much pressure as Smith has faced throughout his career to live up to being the No. 1 pick of the 2005 NFL draft, it pales in comparison to the pressure to succeed in 2013. 

Judging by Smith's last two seasons with the 49ers, he's more than capable of living up to these expectations. Under Jim Harbaugh's tutelage, Smith earned a record of 19-5-1, took his team to the NFC Championship game and became one of the NFL's most efficient and turnover-free passers.

He completed 70.2 percent of his passes before getting knocked out of the starting lineup in 2012 and threw 30 touchdowns and just 10 interceptions in his last two years with the 49ers. 

Smith will need to continue putting up those kind of numbers to justify the cost that the Chiefs paid for him.

Not only did the team give up two high draft picks, but it also franchised left tackle Branden Albert and signed Dwayne Bowe to a monster contract that makes him the third highest-paid receiver in the league (h/t NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, via's Gregg Rosenthal). 

No doubt one of the selling points for Bowe was knowing he'd be playing with a competent quarterback for the first time in his career. 

The burden to succeed now rests squarely on Smith's shoulders, and it's up to him, and him alone, to meet the challenge. If his history is any indication, the former 49ers signal-caller will meet and exceed all expectations. 

It's now time for Smith to prove all the haters wrong and make Chiefs fans jump for joy with a 2013 season that sends Kansas City into the playoffs. 


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