The San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs have agreed on a trade sending 49ers QB Alex Smith to the Chiefs for a second-round pick during this upcoming 2013 NFL draft and a conditional mid-round draft pick for the 2014 NFL draft. The trade can’t be made official until the start of the league new year on March 12, but the deal is set to be official then.
The former first overall pick is finally getting an opportunity to start fresh in Kansas City where the Chiefs themselves are beginning fresh. New head coach Andy Reid is the perfect coach for the 29-year old and the Chiefs team, while still smarting from a 2-14 season last year, has some key, talented pieces in place to make some noise in the coming years.
Smith was drafted in 2005 with the top overall pick and hasn’t really lived up to that value. Smith hasn’t been bad, at least recently, but he certainly hasn’t put everything together and become one of the top quarterbacks in the game today, like you would expect of a top pick. It doesn’t help that the same draft included QB Aaron Rodgers being picked at the end of the first round, some 20 picks after the former Utah standout. Smith has been a quality player in recent years under 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh, which was really the first semblance of continuity for Smith who has had multiple offensive coordinators and head coaches in his career.
Smith is known for being a smart player with an accurate arm. He was outstanding in quarterback efficiency last season until he suffered a concussion and backup QB Colin Kaepernick came in and never gave back the starting job.
I have always thought Smith was better than he was given credit for. He has learned to not turn the ball over, and has been very efficient when given the opportunity to spread the field. Now, he obviously hasn’t made the noise of a Rodgers, or even a Kaepernick, but in the right situation I think Smith can be a solid, if not great quarterback. The Chiefs present that “right situation”. Kansas City was awful last season, but it was primarily because they lacked talent in the two most important spots on a football teams.
Head coach and quarterback.
Sure they have other issues and obviously don’t have the 49ers, Super Bowl runner-up talent, but they have pieces. Jamaal Charles is a top-notch running back who will only get better in his second year back from an ACL tear and receivers Dwayne Bowe (if he is franchise tagged or signed) and Jon Baldwin make up a big, physical receiving core that even San Francisco would be a little jealous of. With Reid at the helm, Smith should be able to rely heavily on the run game and then take advantage of Reid’s coaching prowess to be successful.
The other main factor is how this frees up Kansas City with their first overall pick in April. A team like Kansas City absolutely needed a new quarterback heading into the 2013 season, but with a weak QB draft class and a barron free agency group, there was going to be pressure to select a QB with the first overall pick or wait for a QB with a later pick, which wouldn’t have ideal either. Now the Chiefs get a guy who has proven he can win, has plenty of experience and is young enough to continue to develop and improve. Kansas City can now go out and draft another key piece to their team with that top pick like OT Luke Joeckel, which would help shore up their offensive line. Either way, the Chiefs have more freedom now to draft for talent as opposed to need which is always a good thing.
Kansas City is giving up a couple valuable draft picks for Smith, but I like this move. It frees up Kansas City, San Francisco gets something out of a guy they were probably going to cut and Smith gets an opportunity to lead a team with a clean slate while working under a very talented coach in Andy Reid. I can’t say Kansas City is suddenly an AFC West contender, but this move, in my opinion, is a good step in the right direction for the Chiefs and has the potential to pay off come December.