The Chiefs should not extend Alex Smith


Alex Smith is not the answer.

I’m sorry, he’s just not.

Smith gives you hope. He instills a belief in you that your team has a chance to win. And, if given the perfect situation, he can do just that.

He’s capable. But he’s not the answer.

Don’t believe me? Just take a look at the numbers.

Statistically, he’s as mediocre as a quarterback can possibly be. In 2013, statistically the best season of his career, he ranked near the middle of the league in completion percentage, passing yards, passing touchdowns and quarterback rating. He also ranked in the bottom third of the league in yards per attempt, a metric that’s telling of a quarterback’s true value.

Smith is a fine quarterback. But last week, Jason Cole of the National Football Post reported that the Kansas City Chiefs are interested in giving Smith a contract extension worth an average of $17-17.5 million per year. That would account for roughly 14 percent of the Chiefs’ cap room, and would rank Smith as the eighth highest paid quarterback in the NFL.

We’re talking about Alex Smith, the same guy that can’t win unless he’s put in the perfect situation and you’re telling me that the Chiefs would be spending 14 percent of their salary cap just to lock him up for the next four to five years?

I’m sorry, but I’m not willing to subscribe to this theory. Thankfully, the Chiefs have other options.

Smith enters the 2014 season under a one-year, $7.5 million contract. If I’m the Chiefs general manager, John Dorsey, I enter the 2014 season without ironing out a new contract and instead, see where the season takes us.

Lets say that is the route the Chiefs decide to take. With so many holes on the roster, and no second round pick in the 2014 draft, it’s not particularly likely that Kansas City would be willing to spend a first round pick on a quarterback.

Fast-forward to the 2015 offseason. The Chiefs will have all of their draft picks, John Dorsey will have spent two years filling holes on the roster and it may be time for the team to invest in a first round pick. If for whatever reason, they don’t find a quarterback worthy of their first round pick, Smith will still be there as a legitimate option to come back for his third season as the starter for the Chiefs.

A non-exclusive franchise player can be offered a one-year contract for a minimum of the average of the top five salaries at the player’s position for the previous year or 120 percent of the player’s previous year’s salary, whichever is less. For Alex Smith, it’s the latter; 120 percent of his 2014 salary would amount to $9 million, a reasonable figure for a quarterback of his ability.

When you look at the Chiefs situation, it’s rocky, but it’s manageable. The worst thing that Kansas City could do is pay top ten money to a quarterback that’s closer to the 20th best in the league than the tenth.

This offseason, and the next five years of the franchise, will be defined by whatever decision the Chiefs front office makes regarding Alex Smith’s contract. If they extend him, they’re joining the likes of the Lions, Bears and Cowboys that were forced into bad contracts due to their situations. If the Chiefs decide not to re-sign Smith, they will have an opportunity to see a larger sample size of Smith’s work in 2014 and can make a more informed decision moving forward in the 2015 offseason.

There is still a lot of work to be done, a lot of moves to be made, but the decision on the franchise quarterback will be at the top of the list of decisions John Dorsey must make heading into the offseason.

The Chiefs need better options to throw to. Find out who they could get to help at wide receiver.

cover32 Shield b

Make sure you follow @cover32_KC and @cover32_NFL on Twitter for all the latest breaking news, columns, blogs and features from the Chiefs and the entire NFL.

Previous articleChiefs need a playmaking receiver to take next step
Next articleThe curious case of Thomas DeCoud
  • Michael

    I’m ok waiting for another year, but the numbers you cite are skewed. The Chiefs had a new system, new coach, one off-season, and a schedule that did not require the Chiefs to press on offense. His overall numbers led to a 14th rated passer rating. But there was a bye week that showed a different more aggressive attack. In weeks 1-9, Smith had those bad numbers on 6.1 YPA and 59.6%. In the weeks following, he had 7.22 YPA (14th in the league) and 62.2% passing (14th in the league). His yards per game went up despite taking off a quarter in two of the games. His rating was 105.5 in the last 7 games including playoffs. Without the playoffs, it was 101.7. Those are top ten numbers and while I will not predict those numbers to hold for a year, the numbers you cited are directly impacted by a new offense. The second half numbers are closer to where he is. His contract is bottom ten for 10-15 numbers. I’d be great with 10-15 salary with incentives. The NFL can get out of contracts if the guaranteed is low.

  • Michael

    In the last 7 games, he was on pace for 4050 yards and 41 TDs. I don’t think he’ll get those numbers of course, but it could be in the middle of what he would have in 16 this year (3534, 24.5 TDs, and 7.5 INTs) and those to lead to around 3,800 yards, 33 TDs, and 7 INTs (that stretch he was on pace for 6.8 INTs per 16). I’ll round down to 30 TDs and jump to 10 INTs. There were five games he had fewer than 200 yards, so the better defenses we’ll face later is already calculated into that guess. He will do better in a second year against those types of teams that he got < 200 but then face better teams like SF and Seattle.

  • Josh

    I’m pretty sure it’s the average of the top 5 or 120% of last years salary, whichever is MORE. Not less.

  • guest

    dude, you’ve seriously missed the current qb market value. there’s a premium at the position, where a vet starter makes 15-16 mil per year (rivers, eli, roethlisberger, schaub), & the next tier penciled at 13 mil (bradford, sanchez). smith’s proposed 17-17.5 mil will still be the lowest among all the recent qb contract extensions (rodgers 22 mil, ryan 21 mil, flacco 20 mil, brees 20 mil, peyton 19 mil, cutler 18 mil, romo 18 mil, strafford 18 mil).

  • Brandon

    LOL at writing this article and not even getting how the franchise tag works.


    wow ok he was in a new system with new coaches and a new team besides that the o line struggled early on and still could improve and bowe didn’t do much at first either if you look at the second half of the season you can see that alex began to hit his stride and now that he has gotten more comfortable in this system and won’t be changing systems next year he will come in to the season playing better than last season plus its yet to be seen if the chiefs will give him more weapons (most likely from the draft but there could always be a free agent that could come through big without being paid big bucks) still i think that they will add more weapons for smith and kelce will be back from injury if he can stay healthy he could help

  • Adam

    LOL @ Smith walking into a perfect situation (2-14 team, new offensive scheme, shitty o-line and 1 offensive weapon).

  • Anonymous

    Idiot whoever wrote this

  • Mike

    Sorry my friend, you are an idiot. Smith is an outstanding qb and in the group just behind Manning, Bees, Rodgers and Brady. He put up win after win with the worst receiving corp in the NFL. When Charles went down he put the team on his back. Played well enough to beat Manning, with a terrible receiving corp and played well enough to beat Rivers. Man, you are really stupid. And Who would the chiefs get that would be better?