Moving on from Alex Smith: Easier said than done

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Cutting Smith

The Financials

Sean Keeler at Warpaint Illustrated touched on this a little bit the other day, but I want to go into with a bit more detail.

First of all, the Chiefs cannot cut Alex Smith.  Well, they can, but it would be a financially idiotic maneuver.  If John Dorsey were to drop the axe on Smith at the end of the year, it would cost the Chiefs an additional $7 million in cap space.  While Kansas City isn’t in a dire cap situation by any means, they still cannot afford that kind of a cap hit in the dead money department.

Of course, this is a situation the Chiefs created themselves.  Smith’s contract was significantly smaller moving forward until the Chiefs restructured his deal to help create some cap space for Justin Houston’s new deal.  The result of that restructure is that more of Alex Smith’s deal is guaranteed, which means more dead money.  That is a tough pill to swallow, especially considering how many Chiefs fans were so supportive of the idea back in February.  It also shows me that the Chiefs did not feel confident enough in Aaron Murray’s progress as cutting Chase Daniel would have opened up a similar amount of money.

Despite this self-inflicted problem, Smith’s contract does not mean the Chiefs are stuck with him in 2016.  One point that Keeler forgot to go into was the trade market.  If the Chiefs are able to move Alex Smith to another team (and yes, it is a very real possibility), the Chiefs would actually free up an additional $7 million in cap space.  For a veteran quarterback like Smith, a third round pick would not be all that surprising as compensation.  So all is not lost there, and it is not a guarantee that Alex Smith will be on the roster after this year…though he likely will be.

Job Security

John Dorsey and Andy Reid have a lot invested into Alex Smith, and not just money. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Assuming that there are no major changes at the top of the organization, the other aspect of cutting Smith that needs to be considered is what will happen with the guys making this decision.  If the Chiefs do decide to move on from Alex Smith, both John Dorsey and Andy Reid will be immediately placed on the hot seat if the new quarterback doesn’t perform well.

Moving on from Smith isn’t the problem here, it is the lack of a clear plan AFTER Smith is gone that is troublesome.  If the new quarterback is not already in place, then it is hard to imagine how the Chiefs will be in a situation where that player is in place in less than a year.  Even if they select a quarterback with a high first round pick, that is still nowhere close to a guarantee that he will be ready to go.

Next: So, now what?