Dec 9, 2012; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith (11) throws the ball before the game against the Miami Dolphins at Candlestick Park. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The Two Sides of the Alex Smith Trade

I’m torn about the Alex Smith trade. One side of me likes the trade, and thinks it makes the Chiefs a better team, while the other side of me hates the trade and questions the direction of the franchise under the new regime. Obviously, I am as torn as most of Chiefs nation appears to be. So let me break down my pros and cons of the Alex Smith trade.


It’s taken me a couple of days to accept this, but the Alex Smith trade does make sense. It makes a whole lot of sense for the 49ers, who reportedly get a 2nd rounder in 2012 and a conditional 3rd rounder in 2013. It makes sense for Alex Smith, who is going to a team that has seemingly fully committed to him for the foreseeable future, especially if the rumor of a proposed 5-year deal has any legitimacy. And finally, it makes sense for the Chiefs, and let me explain why.

The Chiefs are not that young of a team. They have veterans scattered throughout the team, especially on defense, where guys like Derrick Johnson, Tamba Hali and Brandon Flowers are in their prime and might not be by the time a rookie quarterback developed into the kind of player that can consistently make the team a contender. The same goes for guys like Eric Winston and Jamaal Charles on offense, and no telling how many good years Charles has left in him (history is not on his side).

By bringing in Alex Smith, the Chiefs brought in a good player that can bring the consistency that has been lacking in Kansas City for years under center, as well as a player that has proven he can not only lead a team to the playoffs, but be a star in a playoff win. Smith is a veteran that has been around the block, can provide instant leadership to a locker room, and is not Matt Cassel. Those seem like wins all around.

For those saying the price paid for Smith was too high, I thought it was at first as well, but when looking at other trades involving quarterbacks, it’s actually pretty consistent. In 2009, newly-hired Chief, Scott Pioli, traded that year’s second round pick for Matt Cassel and Mike Vrabel. In 2011, the Arizona Cardinals traded cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and their second round pick for Kevin Kolb who, much like Alex Smith, had lost his starting job due to injury (by current Chiefs head coach Andy Reid). Unlike Smith, however, Kolb had a much shorter track record. Throw in that Rodgers-Cromartie is more valuable than a 3rd round pick, you could say the Chiefs gave up less for Alex Smith than the Cardinals did for Kolb. That sounds like a good deal.

And by committing to Alex Smith, the Chiefs have opened up the draft to bring depth to other positions the Chiefs need. While it was looking less and less likely that the Chiefs would draft a quarterback number one overall, the top of the second round looked very likely for a target at the position. While there was no guarantee what players at that position would be available by the time the Chiefs selected with the 34th overall pick, the Chiefs made the assessment that Alex Smith was a better 2nd round pick than whoever else would be left on draft day. That seems to mesh up with everything analysts around the league were saying, so it seems like a smart move.


Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The Chiefs did it again. Instead of taking a chance with a rookie quarterback with the hopes of developing him under QB “guru” Andy Reid, the Chiefs switch into safe mode, pull a Carl Peterson, and trade for a veteran quarterback from the Bay Area.

Listen, I’m not saying that Alex Smith=Elvis Grbac=Steve Bono=Steve Deberg. That isn’t fair to him. But you better be sure that Alex Smith ≠ Joe Montana. It’s like the Chiefs are allergic to risk no matter the administration. Why must we always get General Managers who are terrified to take a quarterback in the first round? And for everyone saying that there was no quarterback worth the #1 pick, I want you to consider this:

Just because last year produced amazing rookie quarterbacks, and that the top two best players available just happened to be quarterbacks, doesn’t mean that the Chiefs should be opposed to taking a quarterback this year number one. The 2012 draft for quarterbacks was a once-in-a-generation draft class, and to judge this year’s crop of quarterbacks to last year’s isn’t fair to either the players or the history of the draft. Instead of asking if Geno Smith or Matt Barkley are as good of a prospect as Andrew Luck, you should ask yourself if Geno Smith or Matt Barkley are as good of a prospect as Sam Bradford? Or Cam Newton? How about Matt Stafford? While all of those quarterbacks turned out pretty good in the NFL, none of them were the best player available during their respective drafts, yet were drafted first overall because of their position. Because, believe it or not, teams that pick first are usually the same ones that need a quarterback. This year’s QBs will forever live in the shadow of last year’s, and it’s not quite right. Not saying I would take Geno Smith number one, just saying to look at it in a different light.

But the Chiefs will not be taking Geno Smith, or Matt Barkley, or probably any other quarterback in this draft. Why would they? If Tyler Wilson is available at the beginning of the third round, do you think the Chiefs will take him after just spending a 2nd round pick on a quarterback? I don’t, not with as many team needs as the Chiefs have. So instead of taking a chance on a quarterback on the second day of the draft, we are stuck with Alex Smith, and just like that, have gone from Cassel to Cassel 2.0.

This brings up a legitimate question: would you rather have kept Matt Cassel and the draft picks, or would you have done the trade? Don’t laugh, this is a serious question. Alex Smith, the same guy who has never thrown for 20 touchdowns in a season, the same guy that has only played all 16 regular season games twice in his career, the same guy that, before the best head coach in the NFL showed up, had his best season represented by an even number of touchdowns and turnovers? Sorry if I’m not completely sold on Alex Smith. Perhaps it was because I watched 49ers games before 2011, including the one in 2010, where I saw the Chiefs and Matt Cassel dismantle the 49ers, while Alex Smith completed less than 55% of his passes, threw an interception, and recorded a total quarterback rating of 12.4. The Chiefs won that game 31-10. And for those saying the 49ers didn’t have a good team around Smith, you are aware they went to the NFC Championship game a year later, right? So, at this point, I’m not sure if I wouldn’t have kept Cassel and taken a chance with a QB in the second, or use that pick to trade into the first to grab a QB. The “Bad Team Tax” seems like too much.

Oh, by the way, all those GMs that traded for QBs from other teams I mentioned earlier: they are all currently unemployed.

And as far as the Chiefs being a better team with Smith in 2013 than they would have been with a rookie QB: I completely agree. But it’s not like I expect the Chiefs to be a playoff team in 2013 anyway. Without Smith and with, say, Barkley, the Chiefs might be a 4-6 win team. With Smith, what are the Chiefs? A 6-8 win team? Maybe I’m underselling the Chiefs, but the team had more woes than the quarterback position, and while improved coaching hopefully solves a lot of those problems, I just can’t say how good the Chiefs actually are. I just don’t expect the Chiefs to be very good next year either way, so in that case, why not let it ride with a rookie quarterback? Get the growing pains out of the way while the team continues to add depth and by 2014, be a playoff contender. If you are expecting Alex Smith to act as a jumpstart and get the Chiefs back in to meaningful December games, I just think you will be disappointed.

Alright, that’s the end of my pros and cons. If you thought I ended on too negative of a note, just go ahead and re-read the pros. I’m still on the fence about this trade, so I’d like to see your thoughts in the comment section as well as on twitter (my handle is @tipof_arrowhead). Let me know what you think Chiefs Nation!

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  • akeem holmes

    maybe we should have kept cassel and our pics, he did take us to the playoffs after a serious surgery and a pro bowl qb.. he wasn’t dealing with the best coaches & o-line. I say give him another chance.

    • Jim Harper

      That is just not going to happen!

  • chiefridgy

    This is definitely a tough one. All we can do is sit back and watch.

  • micah stephenson

    Pros: the Chiefs will b slightly better than they wur wit M.Cassel.
    Chiefs will have the 1st overall pick agian next yr.
    I cant think of anymore pro’s

    Cons: Chiefs might not draft Geno Smith #1, Alex has as a weak arm, doesnt throw well outside the numbers, cant stay healthy, only played 16 whole games twice in 8 seasons. Cost us a 2nd and 3rd rd pick, had similer career stats to Cassel, just like Cassel Smith needs the best coaching, best oline, best defense, and best special teams units to win, 59% career completion %, cant take the team on his back and will them to a win(sounds like Cassel), after 8 seasons of having a chance, fans will say give him chance,

  • Outback Chief

    That’s because the Chiefs took the safe way once again and patched things up for 3-4 yrs tops with maybe 2 playoff wins to show for it if we’re lucky

  • ryanw

    Hopefully alex smith continues to progress with the help of andy reid and gets are team the playoffs and beyond…let’s be optimistic for a change

    • Justin R Groth

      He is has been around for a while now so I doubt he develops much if at all. With Alex we either get what we saw in the last couple years or what we saw before that coach named Jim showed up in the bay. will he be the guy who posted 12.4 rating against the chiefs in 2010 or the guy who looked good against the saints? We don’t know its a coin flip really and I would rather bet a a young gun than what we did

      • Ron White

        Or he could be the next Rich Gannon….

        • Justin R Groth

          Not very likely I see geno taking that particular role. we get Alex then raiders get geno. after Ale, is gone geno will be playing.

          • dominicscarlatti

            Really? Well, that presupposes that Geno will be a success in the NFL, which is an open question.

          • Ron White

            So you are saying that Geno will flounder around with multiple teams as a 2nd and 3rd options at QB until late in his career someone gives him a chance and he succeeds with the right team…..Ok I get that….

          • Justin R Groth

            No, more on the whole chiefs pass and he goes and does better than who we get.

  • Jarad

    Pros- not spending the #1 overall pick on a project. Having an accurate QB who fits Reids system well. NOT having Cassel. Chance to Win Now rather than let those key veterans waste their prime years waiting on a project QB. Now that project QB can get drafted in the late 3rd, 4th or ltr and let him sit, not start. And what im MOST excited about, Charles will get more receptions in open space.

    Cons- yes, Alex is limited. Lack of major vertical threat could be trouble, but im personally trusting Reid with that one. Chiefs might win enough to miss out on top prospects next year or year after.

  • Doug McD

    The analogy that Alex is better than any other QB with our 2nd round pick is a correct one. I like the Pros more than the Cons and give my vote of confidence to Reid and Dorsey. They are trying to make the best decisions for their system. I still believe they will draft a QB in this draft but not very high up. I do believe it was a good idea to more or less trade Smith for Cassel, even with the loss of picks. Keeping Cassel would have caused much more turmoil than we have already seen. A good team/fan decision all-around.

    • ArrowFan

      I too see us getting a QB but I think we will do it with our 1 st pick.

  • gjrchief

    Have any of you ever looked Geno Smith in the eyes? Ever talked football with him? Ever sat down and watched every single snap he has ever taken under center since he was in pop warner football? Andy Reid has, and after doing so, he said hell no, if this is the best option I have I better trade the farm for Alex Smith. Andy Reid is paid to evaluate QBs. He is praised for his skill at developing QBs. Despite this he wants absolutely nothing to do with Geno… Why are so many people so enamoured with him… he is the best QB in this draft… that doesn’t make him good. Andy Reid thinks he’s shit… I trust him more than anyone else who writes or posts on this site, or any other.

    • chiefridgy

      You ever watched every snap he’s ever taken ….on weed? (sorry I couldn’t resist)

      • Jim Harper

        No, but if you supply the dope I’ll take a crack at it!

    • superman_25_58

      I’ve heard all this before when Pioli brought in Casshole.

      • gjrchief

        Have you? Who ever called Pioli a QB guru, a developer of QBs?

        • armychiefj

          Um… he got called the guy who grabbed Brady in the 6th a lot, since Cassel was a late round pick as well. Its not exactly the same obviously, but it is the same basic thing. Trust him he’s done it before.

        • superman_25_58

          Never said anything about him being a QB guru? I’m talking about bringing in some one who is supposed to be better and make this team more competitive. Like Casshole was supposed to do after being under Pioli and Billichek “or whatever”, like Smith he too was traded for a 2nd round pick. Well we all know how that went.
          I’m a Chiefs fan always have been always will. I’ve seen this move made multiple times and never worked out. Yes I’m going to back Alex Smith 100% while playing in Red and Gold, but I’m not going to back this trade up until he actually performs like he did his last two seasons with SF and not like his first 5! To me it just seems like deja vu all over again. I PRAY TO GOD I’M WRONG THOUGH!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Stacy D. Smith

      The best coaches and GM get it wrong from time to time.
      The SAME Andy Reid once thought Juan Castillo could be a defensive coordinator. Having experience and a solid track record never makes you infallible.

      • gjrchief

        Thanks for the newsflash about no one being infallible. Obviously they can get it wrong, but to bank on that given a track record of success is foolish. I can not remember anyone calling Andy Reid a guru of defensive coordinators… neither can I remember juan castillo taking any snaps under center… so I do not see how that selection has anything to do with trading for alex smith… nice use of a strawman though.

        • Guest

          Who said anything about banking on fallibility? I merely made the point that Reid is in no way above being completely wrong about Geno AND Alex Smith.

          You oversimplified the latter half of your response. Of course their different situations, but the principle is the same. Both involve Reid’s judgment. Which clearly attest to his fallibility.

          That’s not a straw argument.

          • Stacy D. Smith

            Who said anything about banking on fallibility? I merely made the point that Reid is in no way above being completely wrong about Geno AND Alex Smith.

            You oversimplified the latter half of your response. Of course they’re different situations, but the principle is the same. Both involve Reid’s judgment. Which clearly attest to his fallibility.

            That’s not a straw argument.

          • gjrchief

            The arguement had nothing to do with anything except AReids evaluation and judgement of QBs. You throw out something about def coordinators to show that he has bad judgement, instead of attacking the far more specific point about his eval of QBs…. you attacked a stance I never made. I never said Reid is a football god who has never made a poor decision… I said he is a QB guru who has a great track record of eval and developing QBs. That was in fact a textbook strawman arguement. Hey, you could have said that he might screw up the QB eval because he has poor clock management… that statement is just as relevant as the one you posted, and another text book strawman.

          • Stacy D. Smith

            I addressed the argument you made about Reid’s judgment. You’re simplifying this and making it player personnel-specific to substantiate this straw argument claim. Thing is, Reid’s not a quarterbacks coach. Lots of different things come under his purview. The selection of his coaches is one of them. Hence, the illustration about how his judgment failed him in another aspect of his coaching responsibilities. That, put simply, means that Reid is fallible. If he’s fallible in one regard, he’s fallible in ALL of them. Which means he could be wrong about both Alex and Geno Smith.

            Set aside the fact that his being a quarterback guru is vastly overstated anyway. What quarterbacks has he developed exactly? McNabb the former 2nd overall pick? Vick the former convict who rebuilt his career in Philadelphia? Kevin Kolb? Nick Foles? Where’s the proof that he’s this gifted QB whisperer?

    • BigMark901

      Andy Reid is stupid so is anyone else who sees this as a good deal

      • gjrchief

        Intelligent, well thought out and well defended point. Thanks for all the discussion, and reasoning behind your oppinion. Stupid clark hunt, how dare he hire andy reid when you are so much more intelligent.

      • krayfish

        your right burger boy, now get back to work at Burger King genius lol

    • ArrowFan

      Wow will you be shocked when we get Geno with the #1 pick.

      • gjrchief

        I would be shocked. I dont see Reid being that foolish. If he was worth the #1 pick in Reids eyes, I don’t see any need to trade a high second for Smith. He only paid so much, because no qb was worhty of the #1 pick.

    • Brody Hall

      Lol… Im pretty sure reid never said he was shit. And u dont know whats going on. For all u know KC could fill all their other needs i FA and still go geo #1. 1 QB does ot fill our whole at QB so dont forget it tough guy.

  • sidibeke

    If we have any playoff games, it’ll because of coaching (not necessarily because of great coaching but at least better than the atrocious coaching of Crennel/Daboll).

    I guess that’s the thing: I feel like we keep getting the hot girl’s attractive but not the same friend. Wanted (at least I did) Cowher. Not available; go with Reid. Wanted a #1 QB or even Foles (don’t exist or not available); end up with Alex. The only homerun I think the office has hit so far is our ST coach.

    We will ultimately have to see. Reid made mistakes in Philly, he’s certainly not immune, nor is he a Harbaugh. We’ll just have to see where we go from here.

  • Stacy D. Smith

    We’ll have to wait and see how the rest of the offseason plays out. Is Bowe coming back? That will be key in how successful Smith can be.

    • Brody Hall

      Are u saying that if he is gone he wont be able to drop passes resulting ad alex’s numbers being better? If so your 100% correct sir.

      • Stacy D. Smith

        No. I don’t get all hot under the collar about the drops. The best receivers in the league drop passes from time to time. That problem is overstated.

        • Ron White

          Bowes drop rate is much higher than any other “Top 10″ receiver. But his last couple of years are improved. Would be great if he continues this improvement with the marked improvement the accuracy of the QB brings to the table. Either way I am with you that Bowes drops don’t get me hot….not like the bad passes of the past did.

          • Stacy D. Smith

            Based on three years of drops data (prior to 2012), he had fewer drops than Brandon Marshall, Roddy White, and Wes Welker. If they’re safe, I can live with Bowe’s drops.

  • d-block

    Why is keeping Cassel even an option? He’s gone no matter what happens.

  • KCinTX

    Geno Smith, or Matt Barkley are the 2013 version of Alex Smith. He was considered the best QB but was a reach at #1. What the Chiefs did was eliminate/reduce the growing years. They may have accomplished it for no more than a 2nd and future 3rd. The longer a player plays the bigger the risk of a career ending injury. Our core players are in their prime this year. They may be past their prime by the time Geno Smith, or Matt Barkley gets to where Alex is now.

  • ArrowFan

    I’m confused as to the many holes this theam has? If we resign our three big FA all I see is QB, QB, QB, CB, ILB, WR, and DE. Other than QB and ILB, we may have the guys we need already on the team. If not there are plenty of FA out there. So the Alex trade right now is good as long as he is good. However I stil easily see a senario where we draft Geno or another top QB in the draft. I do think that come draft day it will be very clear what direction we are going. Just not now.

  • Don417

    Just because Genobust or Barkley is the best of a weak class, doesn’t make them good. 2007 anyone? Busting at #1 is the worst thing a franchise can ever do. Browns did it, they still suck. Raiders did, they still suck.

  • Andy

    I do not mind articles like this. Who knows how things will work out. I’m more of a pro because of Reid and Dorsey. Both have track records of building, long term, winning teams. It is not out of the question we choose a QB in the draft this year. Dorsey and Reid have picked QBs when the position was solid. My concern is of Reids last wo years of trades and acquisitions. But right now, he is in charge, I will give him the same opportunity and time to build his team. What I won’t do, is throw a hissy fit before Reid puts his team on the field, or before Smith even throws a pass.

  • krayfish

    eric winston?

  • krayfish

    I think most of you are really missing the bigger picture here. Both Dorsey and Reid have had great success picking quarterbacks as a whole. Alex Smith is only here because he was the best option available this year and that much is true, he is the best option right now. Everyone of us wants our own homegrown quarterback so we’re projecting Alex Smith to be Cassel 2.0.

    But if you have paid any attention to the history of both Reid and Dorsey, we WILL HAVE OUR OWN spectacular homegrown, spun out of college, drafted by us QB. It will happen people so settle down. If there would have been an Andrew Luck in this draft we’d be drafting him, for sure. This isn’t the same ol’ same ol. Pioli could have drafted several quarterbacks including Russel Wilson but he CHOSE to stick with Cassel because he is an idiot.

    Reid and Dorsey are not dum dums, and they want a drafted starting franchise QB here in KC too, I promise you. But you can’t get blood from a turnip folks, there are NO sure fire QB’s worth the first pick this year so relax, we’ll get our guy in later rounds this year or in next years draft but we WILL get our own guy and they will trade Alex back out for draft picks again and it will be a wash in the end…we win…and they all lived happily ever after.