I have stepped off.
There, I said it.
It’s been quite a ride, one that involved personally providing about 1/3 of this video’s total views. I am also the ESPN Football Today Podcast’s designated Chiefs SuperFan, and when we SuperFans pretended to be GM’s and did our own mock draft, I of course rushed to the (totally metaphorical in this case) podium and took Geno Smith 1st overall.
That same day it was announced that the Chiefs had agreed to the trade for Alex Smith in principle, and I reacted pretty much like this.
But, a lot then changed over the past few weeks.
First, the Chiefs went out and had themselves one heck of a free agency. The team was able to retain the services of our three most important free agents, picked up some solid additional pieces and everyone they let go was replaced. RT Eric Winston who was this year’s shocking cut, is still on the market. So, as questionable as that decision seemed at the time, apparently the NFL is seeing something we don’t.
In the end, my greatest fear with the Alex Smith trade was that this new regime saw our loaded roster and thought, “We can probably win games with these guys plus a game manager.” Like many others, nightmares of Matt Cassel were dancing in my head.
I also just wanted this team to draft a damn quarterback in the first round for once come hell or high water. That is something this team has never done since I have been alive, and during my 25 years on this Earth only two quarterbacks drafted by the team have started a game for the Chiefs – Doug Hudson and Brodie Croyle (spoiler: both sucked).
But, at some point, once the kneejerk frustration wore off, I realized I was projecting all of my hopes and dreams onto Geno and what he might become, but wasn’t really looking at it all in the proper context.
First off, I don’t really watch college football. I went to a university without a football program and I only really have time to be irrationally obsessed with one team in one league at a time. From what I understand, however, most of the conferences are heavily lopsided and if you truly are a 1st-round NFL quarterback, you should dominate the collegiate competition. Geno didn’t do that and had several duds in his senior year.
Secondly, when determining a player’s worth, it’s about more than what your team wants. Value is determined by the market, and the market is determined by buyers and sellers.
When you’re watching the stock market, you don’t want to follow the chatter. Studies have actually shown that statistically you are better off doing a fire sale on any stock Mad Money’s Jim Kramer tells you to buy.
Instead, investors and market watchers are following the “smart money.” Don’t listen to the talking heads, watch the people at the top whose livelihoods depend on being right about this stuff and who are consistently the best at it. In this case, we have the actual NFL teams and their armies of scouts to observe. If you see how they behave, you get a good idea about what the smart people think about this year’s market for quarterbacks.
So far, the consensus seems to be that another team’s backup is better than any of the incoming rookies. While the Chiefs moved first, every other QB-needy team has also pounced. The Raiders snagged Matt Flynn, the Cardinals in turn got Carson Palmer. Mike Vick was hurriedly (and expensively) re-signed. The Bills grabbed Kevin Kolb and the Jets took David Garrard. Matt Cassel, who we all know to be of the highest caliber of quarterback, was on the market for just a few hours before signing a new deal with Minnesota to compete with their starter. Heck, even 37-year-old Matt Hasselbeck was out there for less than 24 hours before getting another job.
Of course, many of these QB-hungry teams will likely draft quarterbacks later this month as well, but these moves are still very telling. Most years, veteran quarterbacks sit out on the open market for most of the spring and even summer before getting snagged for backup and compete-to-start positions. Most teams want to at least see how the draft shakes out before going after those guys, because, most years, there are plenty of good QB prospects and teams know that those veteran options will still be there after the picks have been made.
This year, we’ve seen the opposite market reaction. There has been a total run on veteran signal-callers BEFORE the draft, which means that QB-needy teams see little value in the draft at that position and are trying to fill their holes now with little faith that they are going to get a guy who would have the potential to compete for a starting position this year.
This, coupled with the fact that every talent evaluator I respect says there are no 1st-round quarterbacks this year, tells you a lot about Geno’s value as a prospect and why it would be foolhardy to take him at 1st overall.
The second big reason I have moved on from my Geno obsession is that I have finally come around to the guys that Dorsey and Reid have added in Alex Smith and Chase Daniel. I am very excited to see what Reid can do with Smith, who is the type of quarterback that Reid’s offense is meant for (unlike McNabb and Vick). Meanwhile, I think Daniel is a good grab for a backup especially because he is young and has a lot of upside.