Let’s be real; Alex Smith is the best quarterback that the Kansas City Chiefs have had under center in quite some time. He’s mobile, doesn’t make many mistakes and is a solid competitor. So why in the world wouldn’t GM John Dorsey attempt to extend Smith’s contract with the Chiefs before he enters free agency after the conclusion of the 2014 season?
Well, a few reasons. Just because Kansas City hasn’t seen a quarterback like Smith in quite some time doesn’t mean there aren’t any out there. Whether it’s in this year’s NFL Draft or in a starting-caliber backup (Kirk Cousins possibly), Smith isn’t the only answer.
Kansas City won’t have to shell out Joe Flacco-type cash to keep Smith, but the Chiefs will certainly be forced to release some players that they don’t necessarily want to lose. All this for a guy who was being labeled a huge bust after six years in the league.
I’ve heard the retorts: “He had a different OC every year for his first six years.” “He never had a true No. 1 receiver on the field with him.”
Look, I get it; I really do. Smith has instilled hope into a fanbase who didn’t have much to be hopeful about following a disastrous 2012 campaign. He’s been the leader that the team has been searching for for the last six years. I understand, it’s great. But I still think it’d be in Kansas City’s best interest to at least wait another year on Smith, even with the possibility he becomes a free agent. Let’s take a glance at some numbers.
One. This is the number of times that Smith has thrown for more than 18 touchdowns in a single season during his eight-year career. Granted, he’s been nicked up a few times along the way and missed the entire 2008 season due to injury, but he’s more-or-less had seven years as a starter. To put that in perspective, Tennessee Titans‘ backup Ryan Fitzpatrick has accomplished the feat three times over the same time frame.
Two. Smith has thrown over 3,000 yards in a season two times in his career. To surpass the 3,000-yard mark over the course of a season, a quarterback needs to average a measly 188 yards per game. How can you justify burning cap space on a guy who doesn’t get you 200 yards through the air on a regular basis? Matt Schaub has produced that output four times over the same number of years even with a run-first offense.
Twenty-three. 23 teams in the NFL finished the season with more passing yards than the Chiefs. This includes the feeble passing attacks of teams such as the Minnesota Vikings, Jacksonville Jaguars and the Houston Texans. These three teams are all thought to have severe quarterback issues. Also, ironically, the much-maligned Oakland Raiders, led by the prodigious Matt McGloin and Terrelle Pryor, finished with the exact same amount of yardage through the air as Kansas City did (3,340).
One. This is the number of playoff games that Smith has won during his eight years in the league. I understand that Smith has done his part, actually improving on his regular season stats during bonus play, but he just can’t seem to translate that into wins. This is the last thing a franchise that hasn’t won a postseason game in the last 20 years needs.
I’m not saying that Smith needs to go, but I certainly think alternative options should be explored before giving a guy with Smith’s resume anywhere near a top-tier QB’s salary. With the help needed on the defensive line and in the secondary, one would think there may be other places the Chiefs’ money would be more wisely spent. At the very least give the guy another year to prove himself before making any rash decisions.