Chiefs Must Re-Sign Alex Smith to Create Cap Space


Free agency time is rapidly approaching. Teams have already started dumping players they see as “undesirable” for next season. If you’re a player in the National Football League and your play on the field doesn’t measure up to what your “cap hit” is, you can pretty much guarantee that you’re about to become a “cap casualty” of the team.

While the Kansas City Chiefs will likely have plenty of those “cap casualties,” general manager John Dorsey will most likely be trying to find other ways to free up some salary cap space. Even though Pro Football Talk from NBC Sports is claiming that the new NFL Thursday Night Football television deal just announced this morning will increase the 2015 salary cap by as much as $7.5 million, that does nothing for teams barely clearing the cap this year.

We’re pretty sure we can point out some cap casualties from the Chiefs already –ahem…Dunta Robinson, we’re talking to you – but there is one other way that the Chiefs can open some cap space.

Yes, you know it’s coming.

The Chiefs need to give Alex Smith a new deal.

I know, many of you are thinking that this is a bad idea on many fronts. The Smith haters out there think that the Chiefs could conceivably be walking down the Matt Cassel road; giving a mediocre quarterback a big deal based on one decent year of performance. Perhaps you think that Smith should play out the last year of his existing contract, which means the Chiefs owe him $7.5 million this year. That’s all a straight cap hit, by the way. There’s no wiggle room there.

We know the Chiefs organization loves Smith, even if there are some Chiefs fans out there who aren’t completely sold on him as “the answer” in the Fountain City. In fact, yesterday afternoon my co-editor, Ben Nielsen posted a quick piece where Chiefs CEO Clark Hunt was quoted saying he wanted Smith in Kansas City for more than just two years.

Guess what? What the owner wants, the owner gets.

I don’t think Smith is going anywhere and I think if Dorsey and Smith can work a deal, they will.

But that still leaves the question: what will that deal be and how will it help free up some much needed cap space?

Thus far in his short tenure with the Chiefs, Alex Smith hasn’t come across as a “me” type player. He seems to understand his role and where he fits into the big scheme of things. He likes to win and I think he understands that the larger contract he demands, the less the Chiefs can put pieces around him to make that dream of hoisting the Lombardi Trophy a reality.

However, he does want to get paid for his trouble.

As I said, Smith is currently due to get paid $7.5 million for the upcoming 2014 season. Any renegotiated or new deal will have to pay him at least that amount. However, the Chiefs can work a deal that pays him that amount – or more – without having the cap hit that comes along with that. Here’s how they can do it.

The first thing the Chiefs would have to do is void his current contract and make a new deal with him. I think most realists agree that signing him for four years –2014 – 2017 – would be the best option for everyone involved. Put the guaranteed money in the first two years of the contract so there’s little, to no, dead money if they cut him after two or three years.

Next, make his 2014 base salary $1.5 million dollars. In addition give him an $8 million signing bonus. Therefore, his entire paycheck for the 2014 season would $9.5 million for 2014. But, because signing bonuses are prorated out through the life of the contract, there would be a $2 million hit this year. Thus, Smith’s 2014 cap number is now $3.5 million and the Chiefs have just saved $4 million in cap space.

The next three years of the contract would then be tricky, but doable. The NFL is all about “what have you done lately.” Nobody looks ahead to next year before this year has even started. If the Chiefs give him a $9 million base salary in 2015, that makes his cap number $11 million ($9 million base salary plus $2 million from his signing bonus) but next year is next year and this year is what the Chiefs need to worry about.

By doing this, the Chiefs lock up their starter, save some money that will allow them to not only dabble in free agency, but perhaps find some quality players to put around Smith as well as pay their draft picks in May.

That all being said, what do you think Addicts? If Dorsey could sign Smith to a cap friendly contract are you for it or should the Chiefs just let Smith ride out the last year and see where he stands?

The time is coming for the Chiefs to make a decision. What side will you land on?

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Tags: Alex Smtih Kansas City Chiefs

  • Calchiefsfan

    Smith has actually had three good years in a row if you include his last two years with the Niners. After watching Smith play this year I dont see how anyone who knows anything about football could compare him to Cassel, not even close. Sign him up now!

    • Jason Seibel

      I can think of one guy who will…

      • Calchiefsfan

        Ha! Micah doesn’t count, he’s been supernaturally blinded!

      • Troy Utt

        Had to laugh when I read that Jason!!!

        • berttheclock

          But, will he even see this? I thought he was spending the off season working on English as a second language program.

          • Troy Utt

            Bert, STOP-LOL!!! You Sir, Win the internet!!!

          • micah stephenson

            What? My language is just fine. Actually I just got done working on yo girlfriend.

      • ILChiefan

        Yeah……..where IS Micah? :)

        • micah stephenson

          Oh boy. Dont get him started. Lol. I’m on vacation for about a month.

          • Danny W

            Me too. I’ve checked out from caring about what Kansas City does for at least another month.

    • micah stephenson

      Actually they are basically the same guy. Alex just got more playing time with better suroundings. They are not much different tho.

  • cyberry

    I think Smith has changed several peoples opinion of him. I really didn’t think the Chiefs would spend two 2nd rd draft picks on a guy.. then just let him walk. He was the consistent player down the stretch..I think he becoming a great leader for the team..

  • tm1946

    Supposedly, one person who has a greater interest about Smith and a new contract is the SF QB, what’s his name. He will be getting a new contract and base his on Smith’s.

    • berttheclock

      Actually, that article about Colin Kaepernick and his agent being very interested in what happens to Alex Smith was just up a few days ago at the San Francisco Chronicle online site, sfgate.

      • CalifChiefsFan

        Interesting his Kaep’s agent wants to base negotiations off what Alex gets (+ 1). I liked the headline asking what Alex had to do with it….. I hope we sign Alex to a cap friendly deal but one that is fair at the same time. And we find cap space to fill in the holes that kept us from advancing this year.

        • toperspective

          I suppose there is some logic to the agent’s line of thinking. If AS gets X dollars and Kaep is better than AS, then Kaep should get X dollars plus.

          • Jason Seibel

            Except Colin Kaepernick isn’t better than Smith…soooo…?

          • toperspective

            So you don’t think Kaep’s agent wouldn’t make that claim? My guy replaced AS in the starting line-up so he should be paid more. Plus by what measure are you saying AS is better? Not QB rankings, not wins. Given a choice I would guess most GM’s would take Kaep over AS.

          • Danny W

            Jason is a pretty good guy but he’s kinda delusional about the whole Alex Smith thing. Best just not to even go there with him.

          • Jason Seibel

            Just a pretty good guy?

          • Danny W

            You could eat puppies for breakfast for all I know. I do know you follow the Chiefs though so that automatically gives you pretty good guy status.

          • Jason Seibel

            This season Alex Smith had a higher QB Rating, more TDs and less interceptions with a worse receiving corps. I think that makes Alex Smith better. Plus, Kaep is the reason that the 49ers lost the SB last year and the NFC Championship this year. He’s not the great QB everybody thought he was. He’s a flash in the pan. Smith is much better.

          • toperspective

            Both ESPN and the NFL have Kaep with a higher rating then AS. Kaep is the reason they went to the Super Bowl. He was tremendous in 2012. So he’s a flash in the pan after two years, yet AS was horrible for the first 6 years. Kaep is far ahead of AS in development as a QB at this point in his career. Seems like you’re writing him off pretty early.

          • Troy Utt

            I don’t believe writing him off is the way to phrase it as much as writing off the first 6 yr’s of Smith’s career which were wasted!
            We all know the background 6OC/6yr’s, 3-diff coaches… not to mention the crappy team around him. We can now compare & have stat’s to back-up the argument. There is no doubt that Kaep & his passing is the cause of SF exit from the play-offs the last two seasons. The red-zone is where Alex Smith excel’s, & is one of the highest rated QB’s in the league. Head to head Smith finished the season ranked higher in every measurable stat… So at this point you have to say Smith is the better QB!

          • toperspective

            It’s kinda funny that when AS was lousy at the beginning of the year….it was all about the wins. Screw the stats! However, at the end of the year when the Chiefs were losing and it was all about the stats. In 2012 Kaep led the 49er’s to the SB including rushing for 2 TD’s and 181 yds and throwing for another 2 vs GB. In 2013 he lost to the Seahawks in the Conference Championship. How’d Manning do against the Seahawks? AS and Kaep stats were about as close as you could get which is reflected in the almost identical passer rating. I like AS but if I’m given a choice I’d take Kaep.

          • micah stephenson

            Lol. You so full of it! If that had been Alex in the same exact position, one pass away from winning a superbowl and one pass away from get n back to a 2nd superbowl, you would have him ranked top 3-5 at QB.

  • paul pace

    I think your scenario sounds pretty good. Let’s just hope the Chiefs are thinking in the same direction. If the Chiefs could pick up a few more offensive weapons to surround Smith then this offense could be just as good as Denver’s was, minus their Super Bowl performance. Smith finished strong so their is no reason he can’t pick up where he left off last season. He is worth the money!

  • Hawthorne

    I’d love to have Smith locked up for 4 years. If Bray develops ahead of schedule and we have to start him, we could always trade Smith.

  • Chris Tarrants

    I think they should redo his contract for 1 mil a year for 4 years and have Mr hunt cut hit a fat check out of his personal checking account and keep it hush hush lol

    • Danny W

      Or we could pay him one million cash and the rest give him things like strippers and cocaine. You know stuff that can’t be put on the books.

  • Josh Landers

    Great idea to sign smith. As the year progressed, he got noticeably more comfortable with a new offense. I think we can expect to see a better showing in year 2. Here’s hoping Dorsey grabs an outside receiver either in the draft or in free agency. If everything goes the way I think it will, we should be a contender in 2015.

  • andy

    I think Smith signs. I don’t see him going to yet another team. He feels wanted here and seems to get along with the coaching staff. Also he had aqb rating of close to 100 after the bye week. A sign that he took some time to finally grasp the offense.

  • Lyle Graversen


    This would be great, but at the risk of being Mr. Negative, there is a ZERO percent chance of this happening. Alex Smith has the highest winning percentage of any QB over the past few seasons and has played great in the playoffs. You have him signing basically the cheapest contract for a starting QB in over a decade.

    Jay Cutler’s contract, while ridiculous, is where the NFL is setting the bar for non elite, non Super Bowl winning QBs. While I don’t think Smith will take a Cutler size contract, to think Cutler got 54 million guaranteed and Smith gets 8 is unrealistic. Let’s say Smith agrees to take half of Cutlers guaranteed money (27 mil) over four years that would be almost 7 mil right there. So even if his base next year was what you suggested they would still slightly lose cap space on the deal.

    I have no problem if they want to extend Smith but I see no way that KC creates any meaningful cap space by doing it.

    • Jason Seibel

      Actually the contract I outlined would be $18.5 M guaranteed. Add another $9 M for year three and there’s your $27 M. Not unreasonable.

      • Lyle Graversen

        I did a little digging over at to try and find a contract that seemed reasonable to what Smith might sign. During the 2012 season Matt Schaub signed a 4 year contract extension w/Houston. I think we can all agree that Smith is at least worth what Schaub was paid. Some of the other deals are hard to compare to because most are for much longer lengths.

        Schaub got a deal for 4 years (2013-2017) worth over 60 million with just over 29 million in guaranteed money including a 17 million dollar signing bonus. His guaranteed money was actually spread over five years because it was signed during his 2012 season when he was already under contract.

        His yearly break down for the new four years was as follows:

        2013: 7.25 mil base, 3.5 mil in bonuses, 10.75 mil cap number
        2014: 10 mil base, 4.125 mil in bonuses, 14.125 cap number
        2015: 12.5 mil base, 4.5 mil in bonuses, 17 mil cap number
        2016: 14.5 mil base, 4.5 mil in bonuses, 19 mil cap number

        Now, I think these amounts are the absolute minimum that you can expect Smith to get, if anything it will likely be slightly more, not less because Smith has proven himself in both the regular season and postseason more than Schaub had at the time he signed this deal and the contract amounts for QBs have gone up since this deal was signed.

        Even if KC could get Smith at this price two years later, he would have to agree to a signing bonus less than half the size of Schaub’s, which I find unlikely. But say he did agree to an 8 mil signing bonus, then to fit the 29 mil in guaranteed money in you’d need 21 mil in guaranteed salary. 1.5 would be in 2014, that leaves 19.5 for the remaining years. You could squeeze that money into his 2015 and 2016 base salary and make him expendable after the 2016 season, but because we paid him so little in 2014 to reach the 60 mil in total salary his cap numbers will be painful to deal with. Something like:

        2014: 1.5 mil base, 2 mil in bonuses, 3.5 mil cap number
        2015: 12.5 mil base, 2 mil in bonuses, 14.5 mil cap number
        2016: 15 mil base, 2 mil in bonuses, 17 mil cap number
        2017: 23 mil base, 2 mil in bonuses, 25 mil cap number

        That’s doable I suppose, but that’s with Smith taking the same total money and guaranteed money and half the signing bonus that Matt Schaub took two year ago. I find it more likely that a Smith deal would be in the 5 year/75 mil/40 mil guaranteed/25 mil signing bonus range. With a breakdown more like:

        2014: 3 mil base, 5 mil bonus, 8 mil cap number
        2015: 5 mil base, 5 mil bonus, 10 mil cap number
        2016: 7 mil base, 5 mil bonus, 12 mil cap number
        2017: 15 mil base, 5 mil bonus, 20 mil cap number
        2018: 20 mil base, 5 mil bonus, 25 mil cap number

        Smith’s guaranteed money would be paid after 2016 other than the 5 mil prorated signing bonus hits, but the Chiefs could manage that if they wanted to cut ties after 2016 or they could renegotiate a new deal before 2017 if they wanted to keep him but didn’t want the inflated price tag.

        • Tony Parker

          Thanks for the breakdown Lyle. I won’t pretend to know more about this than you guys but would it not make more sense to let him play under the current contract of 7.5m for 2014, then get him a new deal for 2015, if its warranted, with the higher cap # that’s expected. I don’t see any conceivable way that we would gain any cap room this year on a new contract so why not wait, then we could have extra room for the next two years and with a back loaded contract we may not have to pay it all if he is traded in a few years.
          we could be buying some time here and getting his services with the lowest cap hit possible.
          Am I off my rocker on this one?

          • Jason Seibel

            No, I don’t think you’re off your rocker at all. In fact, if the Chiefs can’t figure out a way to get Smith a deal that not only compensates him well for his services but also helps the team in the cap department, they probably should just wait until 2015.

        • Jason Seibel

          Wow brother, great research. I don’t disagree with you on that. I think Smith at least rates Schaub money for sure. Thanks for breaking that down.

  • toperspective

    If the Chiefs can’t get what they view as a favorable deal, I’d say ride out the season and revisit at the end of 2014. I’m neither a hater nor do I think he is the QBOTF that the Chiefs have been waiting for. I think his great game vs Indy has caused a lot of Chiefs fans to overreact. I also don’t think the Chiefs should back load the contract to benefit 2014. With a weak defense, I think they are still a few years away and I don’t think they should push cap problems into future years.

    • Troy Utt

      I don’t believe anyone is calling Smith the QBOTF… He is however
      Mr. HERE & NOW. I believe it is fair to say that Alex Smith has proven to be the “Best QB for this team” of all available options, & even most that weren’t!!! True Smith had a great game during the WC in Indy, But let’s not overlook what he did over the last half of the season! The play-off game was just kind of an exclamation point, & preview of what can come should KC get those other pieces in place…

      • toperspective

        I agree he was the best of all options. And he is the best option for 2014. He did much better over the last half of the season but I’m not going to discount the 1st half. Take a look at the 2nd half stats and it’s a bit more of a mixed bag then many people think. He wasn’t good in the Bills, 1st Broncos game or Indy game. He didn’t play in the final game and he didn’t need to do anything in the Wash game because of the special teams. I guess for me I’m just not ready to go all in with a LT commitment to AS, but I can understand those that want to sign him.

        • Troy Utt

          I understand where you are coming from… But I look at it from a bit of a larger picture. In all actuality he has been doing this for better than 2-1/2 season’s… Counting the Harbaugh years he has been on steady incline & has done nothing but produce results! Wins!
          Many will argue SF traded the wrong QB, they are not hard to find going to any of the boards such as our’s. Now that Smith is in a stable coaching & playing enviro the possibilities are the limitless provided KC puts the pieces around him. I believe we all agree his time in SF prior to JH was a waste due to 6 O-Coord in 6yr’s + 3 diff head coaches! That said by getting comfortable in KC’s offense by mid season this last year we saw his game take form to what his potential can be…
          Alex Smith 60.6comp% 3313passing yd’s 23passing td’s
          Kaep 58.4comp% 3197passing yd’s 21passing td’s
          Wilson 63.1comp% 3357passing yd’s 26passing td’s
          Luck 60.2comp% 3822passing yd’s 23passing td’s
          I believe it’s fair to say if KC put’s those pieces around him big things can happen…

          • toperspective

            I have no problems with AS. I’m just not convinced he’s the guy but hopefully I’m wrong.

  • Nate

    Matt Cassel just left Minnesota. Cut Smith, sign Cassel again, Go 16-0 and win the Super Bowl. Haha just kidding! Alex Smith does need to re-sign long term. You can certainly tell great things are coming going into Andy Reid’s second year as HC. Go Chiefs!

  • Chuck Burrell

    I like where your heads at with finding a solution to create cap space, but creating a “cap space jam” in the future by back loading another contract is just plain idiotic. That’s the sole reason we have cap issues now. Our veteran pro bowl players are calling for so much guaranteed money in ’14 that it forces us to bring up this topic of restructuring. That being said, I would like to see Smith extended because he’s dependable and takes care of the ball. We know what we are going to get from him year in and year out. And sorry guys, we’re not going to see a huge improvement from last year. He’s going to be who he is and who he can be: 60-65 completetion %, low TDs, low turnovers. Which is fine because that’s all we need with the high caliber talent across the roster, and of course JC. But to push the salary cap issues back a few years just continues the vicious cycle of cap problems. It essentially would solve nothing. It will only delay the inevitable; paying an elder athlete more than he’s worth.

    • Troy Utt

      Chuck, I’ve been on board with Smith since before the trade was made, & am happy it has worked out as well as it has. That said I believe Smith will be fine no matter what they decide is in the best interest of the team when it comes to contract extension or playing out his existing… As he is a team player & more concerned w/them getting the pieces needed to progress! Now in a stable enviroment w/ the language of the offense down-pat, I believe he can improve on last year. Given the improvment we saw w/ the offense over the last half of the season, which was the tougher portion of our schedule, put the TE’s back on the field healthy, with less drops from the WR’s & you have quite an increase…
      So I don’t believe it to be out of the realm of possibility! Next year may prove to be exciting?? Let’s hope! WAR CHIEFS!!!

  • Jim Harper

    I just finished reading all the posts and agree that they need to resign Alex. However I think everyone’s numbers are way off. First I see this being a 5 year deal and more in the range of 12 to 14 mil per year. However by adding a 5th year you can stretch the cap number a bit. I totally agree that I think Alex wants to remain in KC, but he must be paid. I can promise you that there are plenty of teams out there that would love to get their hands on him and 14 mil is just a low average for a QB of his stature. Adding the 5th year does not lock into keeping him that long if he is not performing or if Bray is ready to take the reins. He has had 3 straight outstanding seasons, and QB’s get paid for that. Flacco really only had one outstanding season but it was a Super Bowl win, and he hit it big time. Is Alex worth the kind of money I alluded to? The old saying is “whatever the market will bear” I believe this much, and that is Alex Smith is our best option and has won the hearts and minds of his teammates and mine too.

    • Troy Utt

      Jim, I agree that is probably more likely the “fair-range” in both salary & doable years. Flacco is a tough measuring stick as it’s hard to say one good year if I’m not mistaken??? He really came on during the play-offs & that is what convinced everyone. Nothing but regret since if you ask me, but when as an organization you trade your best weapons (Boldin) away you have no-one to blame but yourself! I don’t believe these teams w/ high salary QB’s are the way to go…it leaves no cap space for a team. On the other hand you have the Seattle’s w/the Wilson’s, & 9r’s w/ Kaep who this time next season will be trying to figure out how to pay them! As both are in very real trouble w/the cap as well!
      I love the stable of QB’s we have right now, and believe Smith is the “right” guy to run our team. As well Bray could very well be our QBOTF, so before we waste a pick on another as some have suggested we need to eliminate that as a possibility!

      • Jim Harper

        Right on Troy! I am totally against drafting another QB at this point. I had misgivings about Chase Daniel until he played a full game against SD and played at a high level. Bray is a work in progress which I am not even close to giving up on, therefore drafting another QB unless he is another Andrew Luck is just wasting the pick. I have every confidence that Dorsey will get it all figured out and get us the pieces we need to take the next step and go deep into the playoffs next year and very possibly a Super Bowl. Denver missed their chance because they will lose some players due to the cap and free agency. The word is already out that they cannot afford to keep Decker who would be a tremendous fit in KC. As always a great post Troy. I always enjoy your insight.

  •'defer upperturion

    Extend this guy and let’s go forward. Tyler Bray’s possibly our future … but Alex is our present; hopefully gift-wrapped in a Lombardi Trophy!

  • sidibeke

    AS doesn’t deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence as Cassel. I think we should re-sign him to a cap friendlier contract, but we shouldn’t defer it all to next year. No good clearing some space this year that you lose and then some next year.

  • Danny W

    Smith got noticeably better as the year went on. I hope he signs a team friendly contract and doesn’t get something stupid like Romo or Flaccoe got.

  • freshmeat62

    First of all, Smith is not a “mediocre quarterback”. At the end of the season he was probably one of the top 5 QB’s in the league.

    Having said that, the contract you mention of having no dead money after 2 years, I think, would be ideal. I don’t know how Bray will eventually end up, but he has tremendous physical talent, and who knows, after 3-4 years of tutoring under Smith, he may be ready to take over.

    • Troy Utt

      I could not agree more!!! If the “game-manager” is what I witnessed during the WC game in Indy… Someone needs to redefine the QB position! Smith now 2-1/2 yr’s in a stable system, going into his 2nd season with KC is headed for great things if we give him the tools!
      As for Bray… IMO KC was lucky to have grabbed him as an UDFA, & there is no reason to waste a pick on a QB as some have suggested until it’s proven he is not capable! I believe w/ time he can be the QBOTF!

  • Stacy D. Smith

    It’s a no-brainer. He just came off the best season of his career. He’s your quarterback for the foreseeable future. Lock him up, get some much needed cap relief, and make your ace feel like he’s the linchpin of this team’s 3-5 year future.

  • Mike Holliday

    Give him a boatload of money and he will win us a SUPERBOWL He deserve it .Now defense isn’t looking to good!!!!