Smith may not give the Chiefs a franchise quarterback for the next 10 years. But he is very capable of helping the Chiefs, who own the first pick in this year’s NFL draft, get to where they ultimately hope to go. He’s seasoned, battle-tested and itching for an opportunity after losing his job to Colin Kaepernick midway through last season. He’s also smart enough to understand the situation he would be entering with the Chiefs.
There is little doubt that the Chiefs will use a high pick on a quarterback in this year’s draft. The real question is who will be worthy of that pick and available when they pull the trigger. Fans of West Virginia’s Geno Smith and USC’s Matt Barkley like to say they’ll be first-rounders, but there’s no way either player should be the top overall selection in this class. They carry too much risk to be picked that high, even with the decreased cost associated with high draft picks these days.
The Sacramento Bee rebutted the CBSSports.com report, and reported that, according to its own league sources, that the 49ers do not have a deal in place for Smith and will continue to entertain offers, at least through March 12.
Actually, though, Smith’s name has been linked to the Chiefs almost from the day Reid was hired as coach in Kansas City in early January. Both Chiefs CEO Clark Hunt and Reid indicated early on that the team’s quarterback situation, considered by many observers as one of the worst in the NFL, would be addressed in some fashion this offseason.
Smith’s name keeps surfacing in Chiefs circles because he has had recent success, and because he is due $8.5 million in salary if he’s on the 49ers roster in April, making him expendable in San Francisco where Colin Kaepernick now is entrenched as the starter.
This is not about indulging in hyperbole. I’m not merely reacting to a rather poor veteran quarterback market. In fact, I have used these words to describe Smith on NFL.com before.
I know I can win games with Alex Smith, both in the regular season and in the playoffs. I know Smith is battle-tested. He was drafted by the Niners with the No. 1 overall pick in 2005, drawing instant — and unfair — comparisons to Joe Montana and Steve Young. Smith didn’t come close to living up to those expectations, but that wasn’t entirely his fault. In addition to dealing with injury issues, Smith had to adjust to a new offensive coordinator and a new offense every year. Such constant change would negatively affect any quarterback. Even when coping with the irrational behavior of former coach Mike Singletary, Smith acted like a pro. He can handle adversity.