March 1, 2013
The San Francisco 49ers will complete a trade with the Kansas City Chiefs on March 12 which will send quarterback Alex Smith to Kansas City for the Chiefs’ 2nd round pick in the upcoming NFL Draft, along with an unconditional pick in next year’s draft. There are some people from both angles who are upset with this deal. Analysts have said this is a mistake for the 49ers because they’re trading away a player that is a valuable backup in the event starting QB Colin Kaepernick goes down with an injury. I disagree with this notion for two reasons. The first is because of the fact any player who plays professional sports, especially quarterback of a football team, is one play away from getting injured. I’m pretty sure all players know there is quite a risk for injury every time they step on the field. The second reason is Smith signed a 3-year deal where he is making over $8 million each year. That’s crazy to think a team would keep a player who’s making that much money to sit on the bench. The 49ers were going to do anything they could to get a deal done for Smith, and releasing him without any compensation was the absolute last resort because they know how many teams want, and probably need, a QB with Smith’s credentials. Fans and people who follow the Chiefs would say the team gave up too much to get Smith, meaning a third-round pick or less would’ve been good enough instead of the second-rounder that is being given to the ‘Niners. The fact the Chiefs made this deal isn’t surprising at all to me because I understood how much they wanted and needed a quarterback, and the draft class is not that deep as far as that position goes. New head coach Andy Reid wants to have an established starter heading into mini-camps when they start in May. He’s not looking to have an open competition for starting QB because the Chiefs were holding open tryouts for this position all of last year. The only question I have from the Chiefs’ perspective is whether or not Smith is the right fit for an Reid-ran offense. We all know Reid loves to throw the ball, to the tune of 60 to 65 percent of the time. A lot of these plays call for the ball to go down the field, looking for the big chunk yardage. If there is one knock on Smith, it’s the question of having the arm strength to push the ball down field. This reason is why I’m a little bit surprised Reid and the Chiefs management didn’t try to talk to his former team, the Philadelphia Eagles, about acquiring QB Nick Foles. It’s apparent the Eagles have decided to go in a new direction with new head coach Chip Kelly and it doesn’t appear Foles fits into those plans. While I believe Smith is a better player, Reid likes Foles a lot and he has a big arm to get the ball down the field. With all that said, I do believe getting Smith will make the Chiefs a better team to the point of contending for a playoff spot. I personally think the deal is good for both. The 49ers get more draft picks to keep a youth movement going for the future, and the Chiefs get their quarterback. Only time will tell how everything will result, and we’ll see if the critics are right or wrong as well.
By Charles Taylor