John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Chiefs Trading For Alex Smith Shouldn’t Cause Fans To Panic

Rumors are swirling that the Kansas City Chiefs could be the mystery team involved in the supposedly “effectively complete” trade for 49ers QB, Alex Smith.

As you can imagine, these rumors have caused quite a stir around Chiefs Nation. We’ve already shown you some of the fan reaction and it was far more negative than positive.

So how should we feel about all this, if indeed the rumors are true?

Before we can get into that, there are two things we need to consider.

1. The terms of the deal will tell us a lot.

2. The Chiefs could still draft a QB. Even in the first round.

First, let’s look at point #1.

We know there is likely to be a trade for Alex Smith but we don’t the details of such a deal. What are the 49ers asking for Smith?

While San Francisco probably would like something in the neighborhood of a second-round draft pick, it is hard to imagine them getting it. I am not saying a team wouldn’t give up a second for Smith but we have to consider the situation.

The 49ers have to move Smith or cut him. It would be a foolish use of salary cap space to pay Smith to sit on the bench in 2013. By dealing or cutting Smith, the 49ers would free some cap space that would enable them to pursue free agents at positions of need.

The rest of the NFL knows that the 49ers have their backs to the wall. That would lead me to believe that the trades being offered for Smith are relatively conservatives. Think third-round selections with conditions attached to them.

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For instance, the Chiefs could offer the 49ers a 2014 third-round selection that would become a second-round pick if, say, Alex Smith leads the Chiefs to the AFC Championship game. Something like that.

Regardless of what the possible deals are, it is hard to imagine a team giving up a 2013 second-round pick for a QB they consider to be a one-year rental. So whenever we do find out more, the terms of the deal will tell us a lot about the trading team’s intentions for Smith moving forward. If Smith is acquired for a third-round pick, we can reasonably assume the team isn’t totally committed to him as a starter for the long-haul.

If, however, the pick is a second, particularly if it is a 2013 second, it may be that Smith’s new destination is investing in him as a long-term solution ala the Chiefs trading for QB Matt Cassel a few years back.

At the same time, when it comes to the NFL, anything is possible. On March 18, 2012, former Green Bay Packers backup Matt Flynn signed a three-year deal with the Seattle Seahawks worth $19.5 million, with $10 million guaranteed. A month later, Seattle selected Russell Wilson in the third-round of the NFL Draft and Wilson beat out Flynn for the starting job in training camp.

If the Chiefs do trade for Smith, we will have to take a hard look at what they give up. Bringing in Smith doesn’t mean the Chiefs drafting a QB in 2013 is off the table.

Which brings us to point #2.

The Seattle Seahawks example above is a perfect illustration that Chiefs fans shouldn’t jump to conclusions if the team does trade for Smith.

NFL teams are getting smarter about the QB position. GMs and head coaches know that the position is becoming far to important for them to bet the farm on one guy. For teams without an Andrew Luck or RG3, the more quality QBs they can bring in, the better. Heck, even the Denver Broncos drafted a QB in the second-round in 2012, just weeks after signing Peyton Manning in free agency.

As far as I am concerned, the Chiefs have an empty QB depth chart. Think about that. Yes, I know Matt Cassel and Ricky Stanzi will still be under contract come 2013 but you have to look at this from the point of view of Chiefs head coach Andy Reid and GM John Dorsey.

They’ve come into a situation where Cassel, who has been the starter for most games over the last few years, has led the team to only one winning season. Cassel was benched for Brady Quinn, who was arguably even worse than his predessesor. As for Stanzi, he couldn’t get on the field at all over the last two years, despite playing for two different head coaches. These coaches, Todd Haley and Romeo Crennel, were both in jeopardy of losing their jobs. Still, neither of them turned to Stanzi, instead favoring Tyler Palko and Brady Quinn.

There is a chance Reid and Dorsey will gut the entire KC QB depth chart.

Alex Smith is only one QB. If Reid and Dorsey feel that there are QBs they like in the 2013 Draft, but they don’t feel any of them are ready to start right away, it makes sense they would consider acquiring a talented veteran QB to keep the position warm until the youngster is ready.

The NFL is a bottom line business. Coaches and GMs get judged on wins. Dorsey and Reid are smart enough to know that the Chiefs have a talented enough roster to win in 2013. They may feel that solid QB play is necessary for that to happen and they may believe that they can get that in Alex Smith over any of the rookies available in this year’s draft.

Jim Harbaugh did the same thing in San Francisco a year ago. He came in and drafted the guy he wanted in Colin Kaepernick but he didn’t immediately throw the rookie to the wolves. Instead, Harbaugh stuck with Alex Smith when most people thought he would get rid of the struggling QB. The 49ers made it all the way to the AFC Championship game under Smith while Harbaugh developed Kaepernick.

Alex Smith’s contract is through the 2014 season. His coming to KC would be totally different than when Matt Cassel was given a long-term deal by Scott Pioli. The Chiefs could simply pay Smith for one-year and then do exactly what the 49ers are doing now; trade him away or cut him.

Chiefs fans may feel Alex Smith is another version of Matt Cassel but it is important that they realize that it is unlikely KC sees Smith as their QB of the future. It is much more likely that the Chiefs see Smith as their QB of 2013.

Trading say, a third for Smith and drafting a QB in the first or the second round of the 2013 Draft would be a big investment in the QB position.

But considering the circumstances, it is the type of investment the Chiefs need to make.

Smith to KC would much more likely be a “win now, develop a QB to win with later” move than a “Alex Smith or bust” move.

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  • ArrowFan

    Agreed the contract will determine how people react. Still we need to talk $$ as well as draft picks when talking trade. I believe A Smith is due 8.5 mill that in itself is a costly price to pay for one year for most any QB’s add a draft pick to it and his price via trade is just to high even if it is a 3rd round pick.

    • Patrick Allen

      Cassel is due to make like $7 million so it would be a pretty easy tradeoff. Plus the rookie would be cheap, especially if the rookie comes from rd. 2

      • berttheclock


      • TAZMOSIS

        Terrific article, and a great take on the Cassel/Smith trade-off in money.
        If the Chiefs do get Smith,(or even Foles) somehow sign Albert and Bowe, then this draft is wide open for Dorsey and Reid. They won’t need to take Joeckel with the first pick. Maybe they trade down for value, get a stud on defense, and look to draft a QB in the second. I would love to see Geno Smith in Red and Gold, but as the combine has shown so far, he has not jumped way ahead of the other five or six potential QBs. If things pan out as I see them, the Chiefs are in great shape. They go into the season with a starter at QB, their left tackle and Bowe in the fold, and hopefully eight or nine really good picks from the draft.

  • shayaan

    there is no deal. the chiefs connection was pure speculation and there was never any finalized deal with ANY team in the first place.

    • berttheclock

      Of course, there is no finalized deal as the current calender does not read March 12, 2013. Can’t make such a deal until then.

    • Patrick Allen

      What makes this report more valid than the previous report?

      I tend to believe Jason La Canfora over some guy from the Sacramento Bee.

      Regardless, whenever a big report like this comes out, someone always refutes it.

      • shayaan

        there was never any validity to the first report to begin with. the report itself said the info came from the 49ers camp, who have an interest in making a deal sound impending to motivate others to act.

        • berttheclock

          I see little difference between what La Canfora and Matt Barrows (Sacramento Bee Niners reporter since 2003) have written. Neither one has written this is a done deal, but, both know Trent Baalke is going to move Alex Smith and he is going to receive draft picks for him. Until March 12 next, all is speculation. Now, what would happen should Tom Gamble, the former draft student under Baalke and now with the Eagles, convince both Kelly and Roseman that Philly could use another bridge loan until Kelly can find his new option-read QB? Smith to the Eagles and Foles to the Chiefs?

          • shayaan

            one guy is saying a deal is “all but done” and the other is saying “there is no finalized deal yet”. one of them is speculating, and the other is stating a fact.

          • berttheclock

            All but done is not a finalized deal. Now, if this were between Dick Morris and Nate Silver predicting, then………

          • john

            hahahaha…think i lean toward…hmm, tough call, huh?

          • Patrick Allen

            Nobody is stating a fact. Both are stating reports from sources.

      • shayaan

        and lol @ you believing jason la canfora rumors.. because that guy has never been wrong about anything.

        • berttheclock

          So, do you believe what Matt Barrows wrote a couple of days ago about Pioli predicting the Chiefs will give up, either, a second or thrid to the Niners for AS?

  • chiefridgy

    For a good price not a bad idea. As you pointed out there is a lot of upside to picking him up.

  • Ehud

    I get the idea behind going after Alex Smith but I have a problem with it because I believe the gap in talent between him and other UFA QBs this year doesn’t warrant the loss of the draft picks. I sincerely hope that this speculation turns out to be nothing more.

    • cyberry

      I’m sure its a 4th..the Chiefs pick first in the draft so its actually just a couple of picks behind SF 3rd round pick. Plus they might just swap a round, so in the 2nd rd they pick at the beginning and the Chiefs pick at the’s about 30 picks..San Fran has like 12 picks this year..they are going to have to use some to trade up because they don’t have enough roster room..So, It’s possible the pick would be for 2014.. ….I’m sure if Alex doesn’t turn the ball over, wins a couple of games and the Chiefs become enjoyable to watch won’t miss that pick…btw..Alex is very intelligent, if we draft a quarterback..Alex would be the best QB for him to learn from..look at their new qb..he helped

      • Ehud

        I’m not as sure as you that it is a 4th (assuming this trade actually happens. A report has it being a our 3rd rounder and a later round pick for Smith. However, taking your premise that it is a 4th only, it has to be understood that that pick would really be more like a late 3rd than an early 4th. This is especially true since the biggest plus to this draft is the depth of talent. That 4th rounder could be a starter for us. Let’s breakdown the equation:

        Is the Chiefs’ 4th round pick + veteran UFA QB (examples being Matt Moore or Jason Campbell) + cap $ saved by not picking up Smith’s $9 million dollar contract = Alex Smith?

        I don’t believe it is. I believe all that is >Alex Smith. Not to mention we have no idea how Smith would respond to being told that he is merely a placeholder. In the interviews I’ve read and seen with him I don’t think that would sit well with him. Even if he does all that you say he will, I will still be wondering what we could have done with that extra cap room & draft pick.

        • cyberry

          I do understand (hear me out..this is all opinion) and I don’t want to spend any more than our 4th. Now the 49ers have 12 draft picks. I heard on NFL that they where going to have to trade up because they don’t need that many players. So, before we jump the gun. It’s possible the trade will be for 2014’s also possible that we just swap picks. Nobody loses picks..just order changed.. the 2nd rd..they would now have the 2nd pick and we pick 31st..I’m just using that as an example..I personally think Alex is better quarterback. He led his team to a 13-3 record and a play-off win..Moore and Campbell can’t keep a starting position..This team needs a lot of work..they will adding several new the whole new offense and defense system. Reid has his hands full..I doubt he wants to have to get a rookie prepared for running a team also. Remember..the rookie quarterbacks who started last year, hadn’t changed offensive coordinators so the rest of the team had already learned. Except two..Luck..but his offense in college was close to Colts while Tannehill college coach went with him..~The Most Important Reason for Alex Smith~ He has been running Harbaugh’s..West Coast Offense extremely well. He took the 49ers play-off with it. It’s the same offense the REID runs..With the offense being based 3 step drop back, timing and route changes. The WR’s are all learning a new system…does it make sense to have a QB that already knows the system so they can get on the same page…A rookie is just trying to get their footwork down..Reid has never started a rookie to start the season..even McNabb had to beat Pederson, our new offensive cord…

  • In_My_Opinion1

    “The 49ers made it all the way to the AFC Championship game under Smith while Harbaugh developed Kaepernick.”

    NFC Championship.

    Nice article. Good points. I’ve been telling my fellow Chiefs fans to calm down since these reports came out. The sky is not falling. I believe there is ZERO chance we put all of our eggs in one QB basket this year.

    I’m already seeing conflicting reports indicating that the Niners are blowing smoke and that there is no trade in place. Even if we did land him, we’re still going to invest more in the QB position. I’m still hearing echoes of a possible Foles deal in the works and that we WILL take a QB SOMEWHERE in this draft.

    As of right now, all of this is hear say and we don’t know what we don’t know. I’m pretty certain that Reid and Dorsey know what they’re doing and I’m gonna trust them until they give the fans a reason not to. I’m also not going to spend a ton of time analyzing any off-season moves until they are made official LOL

  • berttheclock

    Interesting comment about what the Seahawks did last year, Patrick. In that both John Schneider and Dorsey are Ron Wolf/Ted Thompson trained GMs, the thinking could well be similar.
    But, as Trent Dilfer told the SF Chronicle, Reid was very interested in Alex Smith a year ago and in Dilfer’s words (see sfgate/fortyniners), Reid was “courting” AS. Consider Smith to be a sort of bridge loan while the team continues to be rebuilt.
    But, should the worst come to pass and the Chiefs end up next year with the Number One pick, Clowney would not be the worst thing which could happen to the Chiefs.

  • Trent Taylor

    Agree 100% Gut it and start over, Beginning with a veteran QB.

  • Stacy D. Smith

    There have been new reports that suggest that La Canfora may have gotten ahead of himself. The new reports say that the Niners don’t have a trade deal in place.

  • jesse

    the guy has close to 20 more tds than ints. he has started to show he can win, even.with a suspect receiving corps at san fran. their tram is similar, in my opinion to the chiefs except the chiefs dont have a quarterback and the chiefs have bowe (if we keep him) this would be a smart move because we wouldnt have to pay him a shit load because he already has a contract. we have the room and.the need. grab a qb in like the 2nd or 3rd. I say go Warmack or Joekel first depending on Albert and then either go Qb or perhaps db or DE in the second. it ALL depends on free agency. Our free agent and potential suitors.

    • jesse

      this is comment was via phone so it may look like crap lol

  • Jason Seibel

    Well written and well said. I like the idea of Alex to K.C. People keep referring to him as “another S.F. backup.” That’s just silly as he started until he got hurt.

  • john

    Yes, well written and logical. I don’t think THERE IS ANY DOUBT that KC will draft a QB, probably with their second pick. I’d be surprised if SF got more than a fourth for Smith, this year. If it’s a conditional thrown in for next year, then maybe even lower. There is NO WAY the Chiefs are giving away the 34th pick in THIS draft for Alex Smith.
    Also, don’t be shocked if that pick is Matt Barkley, who I think may still be sitting there are 34.
    If the Chiefs get the Alex Smith of the last two years, they immediately become a wild card contender considering the talent they have, plus who they add in the draft and free agency.
    If they get the Alex Smith of the previous five years, then it’s back to where they were. This is where I trust Andy Reid…a lot.

    • DT58HOF

      Couldn’t agree with you any more John. You took the words right out of my mouth. I would LOVE to see Alex Smith in a Chiefs uniform!

    • Derek

      ….and then they read your post and thought, “screw this guy” we’re going to blow the draft entirely and the future of this franchise. 3-5 years more of mediocre at best HURRAY!

  • Chiefs1964

    Good article and some excellent points. IMO it makes sense. Smith didn’t really have a good opportunity until Harbaugh became head coach. SF was pretty unstable when he was drafted.
    Smiths age certainly fits with our current team. Something overlooked by some with rookie QBs being able to lead veterans.
    Smiths existing contract fits as well with possible time lines.
    The author makes good examples of Seattle and Denver being possibly similar scenarios. This could take care of immediate need while planning for the future.
    The compensatory pick (Flowers / Orton) would be a nice trade for Smith. This enables us to fortify OL with high draft pick for half the price which keeps our salary cap manageable for future QB talent.
    Who knows this could be a similar situation as with Rich Gannon. He was a late bloomer who didn’t thrive until he got out of Minnesota.

    • jesse

      cant trade comp picks though

      • berttheclock

        No, but any compensatory pick frees up other picks. Both the Raiders and the Packers did such after receiving comp picks last season. They retained the comps, but, used similar placed picks to make deals. The Packers, with Dorsey, even moved up to take Worthy.

  • Mike Ross

    Great article. IMO the people who are completely freaking out are the ones who want to draft Geno Smith 1st overall and basically hand him the starting job on a silver platter, you know the ones who have no clue what they are talking about.

  • berttheclock

    One QB who appears to be moving up and has stated he would like to play for KC is Manuel of Florida State. Lower rounds?

  • berttheclock

    One thing to take into consideration when checking stats on Alex Smith is the fact previous management had him benched for almost one and one half seasons. He had started initially after being drafted, perhaps, to try to show why he and not the local Bay QB, Aaron Rodgers, had been drafted, but, with the poor O-line of the then Niners, he struggled. The two QBs brought in to play in his place never remained with the Niners after AS returned to starting. Baalke’s drafting of excellent offensive linemen really helped him when Harbaugh took him under his wing and developed him into a decent starter, however, Harbaugh and Baalke had drafted CK for a legitimate reason. Just because CK beat him out does not make him damaged goods. However, I am still not sure why the Arizona Cardinals have not been included in any speculation for AS.

    • cyberry

      Never trade in your division.. They would play him twice a year, some players become super human when playing a team who let you go.. That’s why it such a surprise when Reid traded McNabb to Skins..

  • cyberry

    I don’t understand the “Alex is version of Cassel” thing..In the 2011 season, Alex went 13-3 and won a playoff game..passed for over 3,000 yards with 17 td and 5 int his rating was 90.7. In nine games…Cassel threw 10 tds and 9 ints (4 more 7 less games) his rating was 76.6..This year in 9 games, Cassel (1-7) threw 6 td and 12 int with a rating of 66.7… Alex(6-2-1), in 10 games threw 13 td and 5 int ( 7 less int with one more game) with a rating of 104.1… In the last four years both have played in the same amount with 48 games (two Alex didn’t start)..but Alex won 27 games to Cassel’s 19 wins with 12 more interceptions. Matt’s avg rating was 76.55..Alex was almost 90..(89.8) and he improved every year.. I would think after Croyle,Palko and Brady Quinn everybody would be excited about getting him(his is one of the best on the market) the right players can be picked and developed properly..rather be thrown in before they are ready.. I hope I didn’t offend anybody.. btw..I’m thinking Tyler Bray if this trade goes through..

  • Adam Sherman

    He will be as good for us as he was for the 49ers BEFORE Jim Harbaugh got hired, which, was god awful (much much worse than even Matthew Cassel).

    In my humble opinion… and this is just MY opinion- this guys is going to suck outside of SanFran, which is why I have 0 interest/excitement about the acquiring of such merchandise, regardless of what we do in the draft after that. He never inspired confidence as a passer and that is why Harbaugh handed the starting job to a 2nd year “rookie” (zero game experience). Mr. Geno smith is projected out as a much better passer than not only Alex Smith is now, but the guy who Alex Smith just lost his job to !!

    Simple as that for me.

    • cyberry

      Harbaugh’s offense..The West Coast Offense.., the one which Alex took the 49ers to the play-off’s. Is the same as Reid’s offense. I think it only makes sense to bring in a experienced quarterback that has success the Chiefs new offense. This system relies on the 3 and 5 step back, timing with the receivers along with route changes at the line depending on the defense. This will be all new to the WR’s .. Geno might be the best passer but this offense is based on timing, reading coverages and being on the same page as you receiver…It’s not the spread where they send out 3 or 4 receivers and the quarterback throws in to the man who is faster than the man covering.. That’s why’s McNabb, Kobb and other Eagles qb didn’t do so well when they left Philly..I not saying Geno can’t learn it but he has to work on footwork, fundamentals and timing.. It will take longer that training camp for him to learn..Reid has never started year with a rookie..even McNabb.. A quarterback can have the best arm out there.,but if can’t read defenses and has problems with timing… BTW ..Harbaugh DIDN’T hand the starting job to Kaepernick. Alex Smith had a that time he was having a good year with a 70 % completion 13 td 5 int with a 104.1 qb rating..That would have been 3rd best in the league ..Colin started on Thurs Football and destroyed the Bears..Mike Roman, the off cord loved the idea of adding Kap’s running ability to the offense..the rest is history..I thought I would let you know what really happened.. I never in my life would quit being a fan because the professionals choices that are different than mine..

      • Adam Sherman

        haha thought I would let you know what really happened – Concussion is a 1-2 week injury for a franchise qb on a team with playoff/suberbowl aspirations. They also say temporary injuries can never be the reason a player loses their job. AS injury week 9, CK starts the next 7 games, despite some sub-par performances. Harbaugh HANDED the job to Colin Kaepernick, period. I wonder if you were so high on Alex Smith say, 2 short months ago. For you to be soo excited makes you look kind of dumb. The dude has had ONE 3,000+ yard passing season (7 years in the league). Cassel has had TWO 3,000+ yard passing seasons. “Well hes been hurt a lot”. Not a good qb trait either. RGIII is a damn phenom and some ppl are writing him off because of certain future injury problems. He’s not very good at throwing footballs and he is always hurt therefore I want him on my team as a backup, period. Because I dont want the chiefs to be average I want the to be SPECIAL.

        • cyberry

          First, I’m going to give credit where it is do..Kaepernick earned the starting position. He was given a opportunity and seized it. I don’t want to take anything away from him..I seriously do not think Smith is the future..But he makes for a smoother transition into a new era. The reason I came across “high on Alex”..There are people on here that want to draft Geno give him the starting position.and all is fine…almost in desperation.. This offense is complex and takes a lot practice to get on the same page as a receivers..Reid likes his rookies to learn from Vets then ease them in. Plus.with him it gives us other options..I actually for drafting Tyler Bray..several people on here ..Alex sucks..we don’t need him. Well, yes we do..whoever they decide to draft is going need mentoring,.

          • Adam Sherman

            Still think we’re going to draft anybody??

  • Kyle Mangione

    Geno geno geno geno !! #1

  • Derek

    well it IS time to panic now if you’ve been following….