On March 12th, the 49ers and Chiefs will agree to a trade that will send Alex Smith to Kansas City in exchange for two picks, one of which being the 34th overall selection in April’s draft. Smith now joins a list of quarterbacks to go from the Bay Area to KC, and a slightly longer list of quarterbacks who were drafted number one overall and then later traded.
What do we make of Smith’s career thus far? He certainly didn’t match the hype or potential that comes with a first overall selection, but as it goes with most top picks, he went to a 49ers team in a transitional mode. The problem is that San Fran stayed in that transitional mode for the better part of the next decade. Smith-led teams finished 4-12, 7-9, 5-11, 7-9, 8-8, and 6-10 from 2005—10. During this time, Smith’s teams never made the playoffs, and Smith never threw for 20 touchdowns in a season. That being said, for each one of those years, Smith has had a different Offensive Coordinator.
Smith’s complete resume reeks of mediocrity, but the 2011 season is the reason KC pulled the trigger. San Fran finished 13-3 and Smith had a QB rating 90.3.
Can Alex Smith do any better than 90.3? In 2012 his rating was a whopping 104.1, but I’m not counting it because he didn’t finish the season. If your stats are so good you can brag about them, why were you replaced??
Alex Smith depends on a solid run game to be a productive quarterback. In his career, Smith has only 12 game-winning drives, which puts him on the all-time ranks amongst eh likes of Jim Zorn and Neil Lomax. Again, these are not knocks on Smith. Or are they?
The numbers show one thing: Alex Smith is average. He’s not great. He can a game, but no with it all on his shoulders. And the thing is, that might be exactly what Andy Reid is looking for.
Andy Reid, for his lack of Lombardis to his name, won a lot of regular season games. And he did so with a balanced attack that hinged on accurate passing. This style may be suited to Smith’s game, and Reid will love his experience starting with a new franchise. Smith flourished when the Niners were running the ball. In 2012, the Niners were ranked 4th, and the Chiefs were ranked 5th.
Nobody has been looking for a quarterback for longer than the Kansas City Chiefs. In fact, the last time a quarterback was drafted by the Chiefs and started was a man by the name of Todd Blackledge. The Chiefs have used free agency to find their QB for over two decades and Smith looks to be their best prospect yet.
Even if Smith doesn’t set the world on fire, the Chiefs are poised to at the very least improve on last season’s 2-14 finish. With a solid run game and a tenacious defense, Andy Reid should have no problem righting the ship. The Chiefs also play in the AFC North, which is one Peyton Manning away from being the worst division in football right now. Did I mention they also have the first overall pick?
This is just the first step in a number of moves in what should be a long tenure for Andy Reid in KC. Even if Smith does go the way of, Elvis Grbac, Warren Moon, Trent Green, Dave Krieg, and now Matt Cassel, the Chiefs are trying, and as of right now they are on the rise.
Tomorrow, we look at how this deal impacts the 49ers and the future of Colin Kaepernick.