It has been several years since so much was at stake for the Kansas City Chiefs in a single offseason.
For now, we are the worst team in the league.
We have no credible starting quarterback.
Three of our best players are not under contract.
And we have no idea what our front office is thinking right now.
Like most rabid Chiefs fans, I think that both new Head Coach Andy Read and General Manager John Dorsey were good hires and I want to believe they will make the best possible decisions in this pivotal offseason.
However, the Pioli regime left my heart and soul battered and, like a chronically abused spouse, I’m a basket case struggling to trust. Add to this that we are at the height of the NFL misinformation season, where GM’s go out of their way to confuse and manipulate the agents and other teams to lower contract offers and juke out opponents. Unfortunately for us shell-shocked fans, the tactics work on us too.
We don’t know what to think.
By the end of the day, if reports are to be believed, it may be announced that the Chiefs have secured a deal to trade for San Francisco QB Alex Smith. Then again, we may end up trading for Eagles QB Nick Foles once the league years starts on March 12, and apparently talks are already running for that.
Meanwhile, we have been told both that the team is working to re-sign LT Brandon Albert and that is also is high on LT draft prospect Luke Joeckel. Dorsey has come out poo-pooing the QB class, while it appears to be a consensus that Geno Smith solidified his status as a top 10 pick with his performance at the Combine.
We have yet to use the franchise tag, which will allow us to lock up Albert, WR Dwayne Bowe or P Dustin Colquitt.
I wish I had some insight into what is going to happen with this team, but the truth is that no one outside of a very small club within the Chiefs’ front office has any idea.
Here’s what I think I think:
I will be disappointed if Alex Smith becomes our “answer” at quarterback. He’s been productive in his last two seasons under Jim Harbaugh, but was a disaster for the franchise for years before that. While he was ranked 7th in overall QBR for his 10 games in 2012, the three years before that he was rated thusly, 2011: 45.8, 2010: 40.1, 2009: 40.2. By comparison, Blaine Gabbert’s QBR in 2012 was 40.9. Christian Ponder’s was 53.8.
Still, I don’t want to be misunderstood. I’m not necessarily against acquiring Alex Smith if the compensation is reasonable. I am whole-heartedly against trading for him and thinking we’re set at the position. The fact is that we need three quarterbacks. Cassel could possibly restructure for a less egregious cap number this year, but I feel like a clean break would be best for both player and team. Brady Quinn is a free agent and good riddance. Ricky Stanzi and Alex Tanney haven’t shown us anything and probably only have the upside to become backups even if they develop.
In a perfect world, we could acquire either Smith or Foles and still draft Geno. Alex can hold down the fort for a season or two while Geno works on the “inconsistencies” all the scouts have been talking about and Foles could also compete with Geno long-term as an option with upside.
However, if what we end up with is San Fran’s average-to-above-average castaway and a replacement for Brandon Albert who’s unproven in the NFL for the 1st overall pick and, say, a 3rd of 4th this year, it will be hard to deem this offseason a success.
Alex Smith is just 28 and maybe his best football is ahead of him. Then again, maybe he is nothing more than a system quarterback who benefited from great coaching and a strong team around him that plays both solid defense and hosts a running game that averaged 155.7 yards per game (4th in the league in 2012).
Maybe his best football is behind him. Cassel’s 2008 QBR rating with the New England Patriots was 63.1 – 11th in the league and comparable to Smith’s 70.1 rating this year.
On either side of Smith in the QBR rankings this year are rookies RGIII (71.4) and Russell Wilson (69.6).
It was pretty clear that RGIII was going to be a superstar this year, but that didn’t stop the Redskins from hedging their bets and picking up Kirk Cousins as well to develop along side him.
As we all know, Wilson was believed to have limitations in his game and the Seahawks got him for a song in the 3rd round. Even then he was considered to be a reach. They also gave a big contract to Matt Flynn and had Tavaris Jackson on their roster when the training camp began last year and I don’t think they are kicking themselves.
Like I said, I am only going to be upset with Alex Smith if the Chiefs bring him in on a chariot as the sole answer to our QB woes. We need multiple options for the future. How we go about getting them will define this team for years. There are several cards to play and we can’t see Dorsey’s hand.
So, as much as it’s killing us, all we can do is wait.