Sep 19, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) talks with offensive coordinator Doug Pederson (left) and head coach Andy Reid (right) during the third quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. The Chiefs defeated the Eagles 26-16. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

How Big Is The Financial Gap Between Alex Smith And The Chiefs?

Need another Alex Smith post? Well here you go. I promise this will be the last non-update post I’ll write about Smith and his contract demands until there is something useful to say. A vague promise, yes, but a promise none the less.

The purpose of this post is to discuss something Doug Farrar wrote for Sports Illustrated’s Audibles blog. The question posed and attempted to be answered was what exactly is a fair contract for Alex Smith? This is a question that needs to be answered so we may better understand the potential gap between John Dorsey and Tom Condon in negotiations.

Farrar lays out an analysis based on advanced statistics of where Smith ranks in comparison to other quarterbacks. He evaluated the dated from Pro Football focus and highlighted the good and the bad of Smith’s game. Here’s the simple conclusion of what he found:

When the bullets are flying, so to speak, Smith is a drive extender. He’s smart, he understands his limitations, and he doesn’t make an abnormal number of mistakes. And that’s all good, but it doesn’t put him in a higher stratosphere.

Void of bias and emotion, Farrar describes the Chiefs situation as such:

They may see Smith as their franchise quarterback of the future, but it’s just as possible that Smith is seen by Reid and Dorsey as a stopgap until they can draft the guy they want in that chair for the next half-decade. If the latter is the case (and that would be in line with Smith’s career accomplishments), a deal somewhere between Matt Flynn’s, and the onerous contracts given to Kevin Kolb and Ryan Fitzpatrick, would be fair.

Here are the contracts of those three quarterbacks:

Kolb: 6-years, $63 million

Fitzpatrick: six-years, $59 million

Flynn: three-years, $26 million

Flynn’s contract seems far too low for Smith, who is a significantly better quarterback than Flynn has ever been. Smith is also a better quarterback than Kolb or Fitzpatrick but both were highly overpaid when they were given their deals.

Considering Smith’s ability and increased cost for quarterbacks it would be fair to say Smith’s value is somewhere around $70-80 million over six years. Structure the contract appropriately, and the Chiefs could part ways with Smith if a young quarterback – such as Aaron Murray – developed into a franchise caliber quarterback. This falls in line with Lyle Graversen’s evaluation.

Let’s take Graversen’s contract idea – $80 million ($35 million guaranteed) over five years – and say this is the Chiefs offer.

What we are being told through reports now is Smith (read: Tom Condon) is looking for Smith to get paid like Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco, Jay Cutler, and Tony Romo. All three of those quarterbacks signed deals within the last year, and in one way or another it could be argued Smith is as valuable as or nearly as valuable as all three of those players. Let’s take a look at all four of those deals.

Ryan: five years, $103.75 million ($42 million)

Flacco: six years, $120.6 million ($29 million)

Cutler: seven years, $126.7 million ($38 million)

Romo: six years, $108 million ($40 million)

Let’s look at this from an average stand point, and say Condon is asking for somewhere around $115 million with about $35 million guaranteed. This would put the Chiefs in the right ballpark in terms of guaranteed money but a whopping $35 million off in total value. That’s a lot of money.

One could see how the “not in the neighborhood” type reports could come from looking at it from this perspective. A difference of $35 million is not a small one, and one that could cause Dorsey some anxiety.

However, the two sides wouldn’t be quite as far apart as one would think. What matters most in any football player’s contract is guaranteed money. If the Chiefs are in the ballpark of $35 million guaranteed and Condon is somewhere in the ballpark of $35 million then this would be a positive sign. KC and Condon would basically be in agreement in principle to the most of the backbone of the deal.

The signs from Andy Reid and Dorsey would seem to indicate this is probably close to the truth. Why else come out in the media and say there is confidence a deal could get done? Same goes for Alex, who also indicated he thought a deal would get done.

Why set yourself up and say there is confidence a deal will get done when you know a deal is virtually out of the question?

And those comments about having not talked? We’re just coming out of the draft and free agency. There hasn’t been a lot of time to get extensions of this nature done. There was Twitter speculation Dorsey and his staff had dinner with Condon at the Senior Bowl in February so it would make sense if the Chiefs haven’t talked with Condon since then.

Warning, even more speculation than what has already been made is about to follow.

One would think that based on the reports that are out there, Smith’s presence and comments at OTAs, and looking at the financial situation of other quarterbacks and Smith’s value, it would seem fair to think the Chiefs are closer to signing Smith to an extension than losing him.

There seems to be a basic understanding of enough important core issues that the Chiefs are willing to publicly say they can get a deal done with Smith. There are some questions left to be answered and both sides are posturing – “There’s been virtually no communication of late” and “We’re willing to use the franchise tag if necessary.” Don’t be stunned to find out by mid-June and in training camp that the Chiefs are incredibly impressed with Aaron Murray’s grasp of the offense and how quickly he’s developing.

A contract extension probably isn’t coming any time in the immediate future but one can come to some conclusions the gap between the Chiefs and Smith’s camp isn’t quite as big as some reports have led us to believe.

And if you don’t believe me, believe Smith’s wife, Elizabeth.

Next Chiefs Game View full schedule »
Sunday, Sep 77 Sep12:00Tennessee TitansBuy Tickets
Dick's Sporting Goods presents "Hell Week":

Tags: Alex Smith Kansas City Chiefs

  • Stacy D. Smith

    Who gives up twin R2 picks for a stopgap?

    Even if Smith manages to get a deal with number in the area of $100 million, in three years it’ll still be at the far end of that neighborhood. There are six quarterbacks with $100m contracts. There will be four more by 2016. That doesn’t even consider new deals coming for vet quarterbacks who need extensions.

    It’s time to realize that the market for quarterbacks is higher than it’s ever been and soon average quarterbacks will have contracts that pay close to $100 million.

    What really matters is the guarantee, the number of years, and the structure of the deal.
    Pay this man.

    • berttheclock

      Extremely well thought out and well said.

      As I posted yesterday, I am glad John Dorsey is negotiating with Tom Condon and neither with micah nor trinity..

      • mnelson52

        If Smith was the first to win 3 SBs in a row, Micah and Trinity would still not give him credit. It would be someone else that won the game and he just managed it.

        • micah stephenson

          Ey N**ga! Dont put words in my mouth or speak for me. Speak for yoself p*ss!

          • mnelson52

            You’re on here every day stating how much you don’t like Alex. I thought I was just stating the obvious. If you were offended by me stating what I thought was the obvious, I would have apologized to you, but now since you reverted to name calling, I could care less if you like it or not. (so childish)

          • micah stephenson

            I don’t care if you disagree with me, but don’t put words in my mouth. If we win a few superbowls with him I’d b cool with him. I’ve said that before. Of corse we all know he ain’t never gone take us there.

          • John Walsh

            You’re the last person who should complain about what people say about you. You’ve done nothing but run down Smith since the Chiefs traded for him. He’s exceeded expectations and still, name calling and insults are the best you can do. Go figure people calling you on that.

        • trinity

          Notice how the quotes in the article say basic the same things I say? Micah and I aren’t the ones who are out of touch here.

      • micah stephenson

        Well if you want ASS11 with a 126 million dollar contract, then that’s yo right. If I was Dorsey, ill ask tom “what you want me to do with that offer, wipe my ass”

      • micah stephenson

        I’m use to having money to spend. Dorsey has came in and already maxed out our cap and if ASS11 get a stupid deal, we will b n cap hell. No good free agents and no money to resign our own good players.

        • berttheclock

          You remain ever obtuse and opaque.

          • John Walsh

            Idiots are opaque, Micah’s not even remotely close to that. Weapons grade uranium is less dense than that clown.

      • John Walsh

        Pretty sure that the NFL reporters are not part of the negotiations, despite the “sources” that seem to know better than Condon or the Chiefs.

  • berttheclock

    Article this AM at sfgate about both Harbaugh and Kaepernick really enjoying the new wide outs added to the OTAs of the Niners and CK wanting a new contract with at least $18 M per year.

  • Stan Colbert

    I wouldn’t trade AS11 for Cutler, Romo, or Flacco. On the other hand I don’t want him to sign a contract that will cause the Chiefs to cut him before they are wanting or to lose valuable players due to the expense of his contract.

    • Stacy D. Smith

      Cutler’s highest rated season was 2013 and it was exactly one-tenth of a point higher than Smith’s performance. Look at the rest of the numbers though and tell me you think he had the better season. 12 INT’s in 11 games?

      The only thing Flacco has over Smith is a better deep ball and a ring. He’s an interception factory. He just came off a year where he had more interceptions than touchdowns.

      Romo, I’d take over Smith. The other two? No way.

      • Deadmeat

        I like Romo too. But he is heartbreaker. It’s a toss up for me.

      • Stan Colbert

        Admittedly biased against anything Dallas. Haven’t looked very hard at numbers for Romo. However, health concerns, untimely interceptions and win percentage and bias I take AS11. I do think Romo a better passer.

  • jason collins

    Who cares what Flacco and Romo got paid. If Smith wants to win a superbowl he won’t try to break the bank. Let him play out the year and franchise him next. He will be 32 years old. Let’s see him try to get 110-126 mil, 6-7 year contract at 32 in free agency. That’s just the business side of me thinking. If they sign him to a huge contract, they will have to blow up the defense. Then we will be watching the Chiefs go – or 8-8 for the next 7 years

  • NolaChiefs


    Most of these QB Deals recently signed will never payout the advertised $100MM+ price. The only thing that matters is the Guaranteed Money. Cutler’s deal is $126MM but with only $54MM Guaranteed. With the dumb mistakes QBs like Cutler and Romo make in crunch time that Alex does not do you think they will realize anywhere close to $126MM? They will be lucky to receive half of that money. Without substantial improvement, bot will be gone in the next 2 to 3 years.

    So if I am Alex, I want to win a Championship now and this team is really close. So I would tell the Chiefs pay me $12MM/Year for 5 Years – ALL GUARANTEED WITH NO OUTS. The Chiefs get a cap-friendly deal. Alex gets Guaranteed Money right under Aaron Rodgers’ $62.5MM and more than the QBs he has performed better than over the past 3 years – i.e., Romo, Cutler, Ryan, etc. Finally, more importantly, he almost guarantees that the Chiefs will keep him as the QB and invest in components around him for the next 5 Years as they will not want to eat a ton of dead money.

    The Chiefs get a top-10 Quarterback at a very cap-friendly deal with the ability to keep a strong nucleus but the trade-off is they have to invest in Alex or suffer a large dead money cap hit. Alex gets Guaranteed payments near Elite Level and forces the Chief’s hand in investing in him but at the cost of maybe leaving an extra $10MM or so on the table he could have possibly earned in a more traditional deal. However, he can make that up in endorsements if he continues to excel. And remember this with regard to excelling, Alex Smith HAS NEVER PLAYED 2 FULL YEARS IN THE SAME OFFENSE. And the great Joe Montana even says it takes 3 years to fully grasp an offense. So I think Alex is just scratching the surface in KC.

    • Suzi Conger

      very well said!

  • micah stephenson

    On the radio they talked about ASS11′s agent Tom C. They said all teams know his style is to set a price, then if you don’t meet it, let the player go to free agentcy. Tom C has a contract the same as J.Cutlers in mind for ASS11.

    • Calchiefsfan

      Well then you might get your wish Micah. Cutler is way overpaid imho. Condon can dig his heels in all he wants, someone can also ask a million bucks for a house worth $300,000, it doesn’t mean they are going to get it. If Smith goes free agency in two years, (we could franchise him next year if Murray or Bray aren’t the answer), who will pay that price for a 32 year old game manager?

      • micah stephenson

        Not me.

    • mnelson52

      I think Alex is a good QB that should be paid. I also think Condon’s numbers are rediculous as is what the others are getting paid. I would love to have a Ferrari too, but I don’t want to give up my house to buy it. I don’t want any QB that will not allow us to surround him with good talent.Im not sure how Denver is doing it, but I know we don’t have the money without cutting good players.

      • John Walsh

        You trust that clown to tell you the truth about what Condon said? Let alone the actual figures which nobody but Condon, Smith and the Chiefs actually know? Consider the source, or sources, then have a good laugh. The more telling thing in all this is that Smith is at OTA’s, working out with the team. :)

  • micah stephenson

    TOM C “we think 126 million is a fair price”
    Dorsey “well I was thinking more like 126 dollars”
    Now I see why they are so far apart on the contract.