Reports today indicated that Alex Smith will be traded to the Chiefs when the free-agency period officially opens up.
Kansas City was in the unfortunate position of having the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft the one year there are no great quarterbacks from which to select. Certainly not franchise guys, anyway.
Smith was the highest-caliber quarterback in the free-agent market this offseason (and that’s including Mike Vick). Smith, who was relegated to backup this past year after suffering a concussion, has been through it all: Coaching changes, personnel changes, talk of being a bust for a No. 1 pick. He’s battled through injuries. He’s dealt with doubts from his own teammates.
Smith deservedly has become one of the most respected players in the league. He’s a pro’s pro. He never quit working hard. He hated relinquishing his starting job, but was constantly helping Niners’ youngster Colin Kaepernick succeed. He’s done whatever has been asked of him, especially when coach Jim Harbaugh arrived on the scene. Just last year, Smith was the highest rated quarterback through the first seven weeks. Not Tom Brady. Not Peyton Manning. Not Aaron Rodgers, to whom Smith forever will be linked. When he finally got consistency around him, Smith shined.
He even did what some doubters thought he’d never do. He came through in the clutch. Twice against the Saints two years ago in one of the greatest playoff games in recent memory, Smith led two comeback TD drives. On the first, he ran it in himself on a old-school Stanford sweep. He showed great athleticism, followed by great fire and passion after he celebrated. On the second, he threw one of the most well-placed passes in the postseason since Ben Roethlisberger’s Super Bowl winner to Santonio Holmes. Smith threaded the needle to find Vernon Davis for an emotional game winner.
That is the Smith Kansas City will get.
The Chiefs, under new coach Andy Reid, are talented in several positions (though there’s still plenty of work to do). Play from their quarterbacks, whether it was Matt Cassel or otherwise, hindered them. Too many games, the Chiefs had chances to win, but couldn’t move the ball. Too many times, the defense would make a great play or get a big stop, only for the quarterbacks to turn it over. How many chances did Kansas City have to beat Baltimore if not for terrible quarterback play? And while in the red zone, no less?
Smith will not lose games for the Chiefs. His passing skill set fits the Chiefs’ personnel (short- to mid-range, occasional deep ball, good tight end and good backs) as well as Reid’s schemes, which includes getting the ball to guys out of the backfield.
I was always in Smith’s corner when he was a Niner. And I’ll root for his success in KC.
Except against the Niners. I'm just saying.