By adding a player like Aaron Murray from Georgia, the Chiefs have thrown up a major warning sign for starting quarterback Alex Smith. In fact, all signs right now point to Kansas City looking to move on from Smith sooner than later.
Smith is scheduled to make $8 million this year, according to Spotrac.com, and is in line to be a free agent in 2015. He's currently in contract negotiations with Kansas City, according to Will Brinson of CBS Sports, but the talks haven't led to any long-term solutions.
While Smith led the Chiefs to the playoffs last year, Kansas City simply can't be convinced that he's the answer for the future.
If they were, they wouldn't have brought in a high-potential quarterback like Tyler Bray. They wouldn't have drafted Murray, who has the tools to be a potential starting quarterback from day one.
The reality is that while the Chiefs were successful in 2013, it wasn't always because of Smith. He finished last year as the No. 24 overall quarterback in the league, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required).
Even worse is the fact that he was the No. 29 quarterback for just his passing grade, according to PFF. That put him behind such stellar quarterbacks as Ryan Fitzpatrick, Matthew McGloin and Brandon Weeden.
Simply put, Smith didn't perform at a level high enough for the Chiefs to feel comfortable with him long term. So, what did the Chiefs do? They added a very similar quarterback in Murray. Heck, Sports Illustrated's Doug Farrar went as far as to call Murray "Smithier" than quarterback AJ McCarron, who was still on the board:
Murray doesn't have the arm strength, athleticism or size to be an elite quarterback. He can, however, become a fantastic game manager for a team like the Chiefs.
Just take a look at Murray's stats over the course of his career at Georgia:
|Aaron Murray's Career College Statistics|
|Year||Games Played||Passing Yards||Touchdowns||Interceptions|
You don't put up those types of numbers against the elite defenses in the SEC without having some talent. So while Murray isn't an elite prospect, he's proven that he can be a very, very good quarterback in the right system.
That system could very well be under the tutelage of Andy Reid and the Chiefs. Reid has a knack for getting the most out of quarterbacks, and he could do the same with Murray.
We also can't forget about the potential of Bray. Last year, he was one of the most polarizing prospects in the draft. There are even those out there who believe that Bray was the best quarterback available in last year's draft:
Murray and Bray will likely compete for the backup job in 2014. However, if either of those quarterbacks is to overtake Smith's job, it'll likely be the more NFL-ready Murray.
With Murray now on the roster, the Chiefs have what they need to move on from Smith. When you combine the drafting of Murray, the signing of Bray last year and the potentially large contract Smith will demand this offseason, all signs point to Kansas City doing exactly that.