About two weeks before it could even be officially announced because of league rules, the Kansas City Chiefs traded their 2013 second round pick and a conditional 2014 second round pick for Alex Smith, the quarterback who lost his job due to injury and watched on the sideline as his backup took the team within a score of a Super Bowl win. It’s hard to fault the Chiefs for making a deal for Smith so quickly; after all, I’m sure there were several teams in the hunt for him, but the Chiefs made an offer the 49ers couldn’t refuse, and the deal was a lock. But were the Chiefs too quick to pull the trigger for Smith?
Like I said above, the Chiefs executed the deal about two weeks before it could even be finalized. Instead of letting the market develop and come to them, they were pre-emptive in their search, and got the quarterback that Andy Reid had a man-crush on since his days at Philly. But by taking Smith, the Chiefs didn’t give themselves a chance at other opportunities.
Let’s start with the draft. By acquiring Alex so early in the process, the Chiefs didn’t allow themselves the opportunity to hold private workouts with any of this year’s quarterback prospects with a legitimate chance to go first overall. GM John Dorsey and Head Coach Andy Reid made up their minds that Geno Smith or any other quarterback wasn’t worth the first overall pick very early. What if they misjudged Geno or someone else? Sure, they could still take him, but now they’ve invested three high draft picks over two seasons for two quarterbacks. It seems unlikely that the Chiefs will do that.
Next, by the Chiefs getting Alex, recently available quarterbacks such as Carson Palmer, Kevin Kolb, and Matt Flynn weren’t options. Would I rather have Alex Smith as my starter? Yes; but it’s closer than you think. Carson Palmer was traded to the Cardinals for a conditional 7th round pick. Kevin Kolb was released from the Cardinals. Matt Flynn was traded to the Raiders for a 2014 fifth round pick and a conditional 2015 pick.
If you’re saying that Alex Smith is by far the better quarterback, I won’t argue too much. But looking at the price the Chiefs paid and the price that these other quarterbacks were available for makes it a little more complicated. Let me run some numbers by you now: in 2012, Palmer threw for 4,018 yards and a 61.1 completion percentage in 15 games for 22 TDs and 14 INTs (better than you thought huh?). Although Kolb was oft-injured and took two seasons to collect 15 games, in his time in Arizona he had 3,124 yards for a 58.5 completion percentage with 17 TDs and 11 INTs (and let’s not forget his connection with Andy Reid, who initially went with Kolb over Michael Vick after trading Donovan McNabb to the Redskins). And Matt Flynn, although never getting the opportunity to start a season as a starter, threw for 480 yards with a 70.5 completion percentage, 6 TDs and 1 INT in his last game as a starter, which came in 2012 against the Detroit Lions.
If the stats above don’t impress you, let me remind you that Alex Smith has only thrown for over 3,000 yards once in his career, has never thrown for more than 18 TDs in a season, and has only completed a full 16 game season without missing a game twice since entering the league in 2005. That’s why a trade for a player like Palmer makes sense to me, especially with the cheap price tag that it included. Even Kolb makes me consider it because of the success he had when Reid was his coach in Philly.
While Alex Smith might fit Andy Reid’s system, the Chiefs could have had more options at the quarterback position if they had waited until recently to acquire a quarterback. But by being aggressive, the Chiefs got the quarterback they wanted, but for a steep price. So what do you think Chiefs fans: should the Chiefs have let the quarterback market develop, or did they make the right move in getting Smith early? Fill up the comments section with your thoughts!