KCCD Staff Writer: Adam Simone
Wednesday morning, Jay Glazer announced the Kansas City Chiefs made a trade with San Francisco for QB Alex Smith. In return, the Chiefs will give the 49ers a 2nd Round pick this year and a mid-round pick in 2014. The exact terms of the deal have not been announced.
Shortly after the deal was announced, Chiefs fans were already giving up on Andy Reid and John Dorsey, and they were having flashbacks to when Scott Pioli traded for Matt Cassel. Several fans were calling Alex Smith “Matt Cassel 2.0” and were claiming this is the same old Chiefs.
Everyone needs to just relax and let it play out. Dorsey and Reid haven’t even been in town two months, it’s way too early to be saying this is the same old Chiefs.
The issue most fans had with Scott Pioli when he traded for Cassel, was that he stopped there. Pioli settled for a mediocre quarterback and he never once tried to find a replacement. Drafting Ricky Stanzi and signing Brady Quinn were not true attempts at finding the Chiefs a franchise quarterback.
From reading Twitter and listening to sports talk shows all day, I think most fans are concerned we’re going to see the exact same thing play out here with Alex Smith. Smith is not a “franchise” quarterback and the Chiefs are doomed to be mediocre for years to come if they hitch their wagon to him for several years.
While I agree with that sentiment, I don’t necessarily believe that Dorsey and Reid are going to just settle with Smith long term. Giving up a 2nd round pick and another pick next year probably means you can expect Smith to be the starter the next year or two, but I would be shocked if the Chiefs don’t draft a QB within the first three rounds in the next couple years.
Both Dorsey and Reid have proved they are not afraid to draft a quarterback early in the draft even when they have a solid starter. In 2005, the Packers drafted Aaron Rodgers with the 24th pick when they still had Brett Favre, and last year the Eagles drafted Nick Foles in the 3rd round when they had Mike Vick.
I do believe this trade shows that the Chiefs were not sold on any of the quarterbacks that they could have drafted this year with their 1st or 2nd round picks, but trading for Smith this year in no way hinders them from drafting another quarterback high in the 2014 or 2015 draft.
Next year’s draft class is already being hyped up a lot more than this year’s as far as the quarterback position is concerned. If Smith helps improve this team back to .500 or above then they can take a quarterback in the mid to late 1st round next year or even trade up to select a guy like Teddy Bridgewater early in the draft.
I read several tweets today saying the Chiefs should not be scared of losing again next year and that being mediocre does nothing but hurt their draft position. I’m sorry but that’s a loser’s mentality. No team, no matter what the level, should ever be happy with losing or should want to suck in order to guarantee a good draft pick.
The Chiefs need to try and win now, and I think they improved the quarterback position by acquiring Alex Smith. Giving up a 2nd round pick hurts a lot, but I think there is ways to sooth that pain.
The Chiefs currently hold on to the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft. Now I don’t know what kind of value that pick holds this year, but you have to believe there is at least one team out there that wants to trade up to that position. If the Chiefs can trade down in the 1st round and pick up an additional early round draft pick or two, then it helps make up for the loss of the 2nd round pick to the 49ers.
For instance when the Giants traded for Eli Manning (No. 1 overall pick), they gave up their No. 5 overall pick (Phillip Rivers), a 3rd round pick, and then their 1st round and 5th round pick the following year. Now I don’t believe there is that kind of value for this year’s No. 1 overall pick, but I do believe the Chiefs should be able to trade down in the 1st and grab an additional 2nd or 3rd round pick this year and then another 1st through 3rd round pick next year. You at least have to try it, especially if there isn’t one player sticking out to them to select with that 1st overall pick.
Doing this helps replace the draft picks you lose when trading for Alex Smith and then you can still use the draft picks you acquire to take a shot on a quarterback early in the draft and/or build the depth of your football team. It could be the best of both worlds if it works out right. You get a solid quarterback in Smith that can help improve the team over the next year or so, and you still have several 1st through 3rd round picks over the next couple years where you can take a shot at a quarterback who could replace Smith.
As far as how big of an improvement Smith is over Matt Cassel, only time will tell. Since 2008 their numbers are very similar. Smith did not play in 2008 so instead of using overall stats, I broke them down on a per game basis.
Both quarterbacks completed right around 59% of their passes over this time period. They both also averaged 1.29 touchdowns per game. Cassel averaged 213.5 yards per game, while Smith averaged just 200. The biggest difference between the two was turnovers. Cassel has averaged 1.48 interceptions or fumbles per game since 2008, and Smith has averaged 1.02. Also when you use Pro Football Focus ratings, Cassel had an average rating of -8.46 over the last five seasons, and Smith had an average of 1.00 over the last four seasons.
So no, I don’t think Smith will be a huge upgrade for the Chiefs, but I do think he is a slight upgrade over Cassel and lets face it, somebody has to play quarterback in 2013 and it wasn’t going to be Cassel and the Chiefs clearly didn’t like Geno Smith enough to draft him with the No. 1 overall pick.
The price was steep for a player of Smith’s caliber but as I showed, the Chiefs have the ability to make up for that. Let’s all just take a deep breath and wait see what other moves this regime makes over the next two months before we abandon ship.