By Aaron Charles @aaroncharleskc on September 1, 2014
It was reported on Sunday that the Kansas City Chiefs and Alex Smith agreed to a four-year, $68 million contract extension. The deal keeps Smith in Kansas City through 2018, and has $45 million in guaranteed money. A lot of people think the Chiefs overpaid, but here are five reasons why they're all wrong.
One of Smith's many unsung skills is his pocket presence. He is one of the best in the NFL at buying time with his feet, which will be vital with Kansas City's inexperienced offensive line. Smith's underrated ability to take off with the football will also be a huge asset. His 431 rushing yards in 2013 was sixth best among quarterbacks.
In the six years before Smith, Kansas City shuffled between Matt Cassel, Brady Quinn, Brodie Croyle, Damon Huard, Tyler Thigpen and Tyler Palko. Those guys went a combined 29-for-67 with a pair of four-win seasons and a pair of two-win seasons. Unproven quarterbacks have burned Kansas City for too long. The Chiefs need a proven winner, and Smith is the third-winningest quarterback in the NFL over the last three seasons.
There is a big advantage for a team to ink a long-term deal. The price for quarterbacks gets bigger every year, which means the Chiefs will be getting a better value toward the end of the contract. The NFL's salary cap also keeps getting bigger. As it grows, the percentage of cap space Smith takes up will go down.
Smith is a game manager who protects the ball first, but he can also take risks and throw it down an opponent's throat if that's what the situation calls for. When Jamaal Charles went down in the playoffs, Smith's role immediately grew. He responded with 378 passing yards, 57 rushing yards and four TDs against the Colts. Though it was a heartbreaking loss, the 44 points he put up should have been enough.
There is a lot more to being a quarterback than big yardage and a ton of touchdowns. Smith is a great leader, an intelligent decision maker, and protects the football as well as anyone. The Chiefs can win a Super Bowl with Smith. His skill set is up there with those of Joe Flacco, Ben Roethlisberger and Russell Wilson -- if not better.
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