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After a terrible season that seen the Chiefs go 2-14, there has been plenty of movement for us fans to get excited about since the off season began. In this article I will look at the Alex Smith trade and the effect it has had on other decisions the organisation has made.
There has been lots of reason for optimism for Chiefs fans recently. The new management group of John Dorsey as GM and Andy Reid as Head Coach has given a disgruntled fan base a new lease of life. At least it did until the news started to filter through that the Chiefs had traded for Alex Smith. It wasn't the fact they traded for him that had the fans shocked, it was the price that we gave up for him. A second round pick this year, with potentially as high as a second next year seems alot to pay for a Quarterback that has only started to show alot of promise the last 2 seasons. Just when everyone was starting to get excited about the future of the franchise this seemed a bit of a kick in the teeth.
Looking at it now, as high a price as we seemed to have paid, I was no doubt that it was the best way to move this franchise forward. At least in the short term. When you look at the other options in free agency and the draft, you start to build a picture that trading for Smith was the best possible scenario for this year. He will get paid roughly the same amount that Cassel was due this year and next (around $7.5 Million per year). The problem I, along with most Chiefs fans is the idea that he could be offered an extension past the 2 years that he is contracted to. A poll on Arrowhead Pride conducted soon after the trade for Smith was announced showed that 70% of the fans were against it.
The other options in free agency were primarily Matt Flynn and Nick Foles. By opting instead for Smith, Dorsey and Reid seen the advantage of experience over the unknown. I must admit that before the trade was announced I was hoping that a trade could be initiated for Foles. With the links he has with Reid who drafted him last year, I was hopeful that we could possibly get him for a 3rd. Flynn also has ties to Dorsey from the time that they spent together in Green Bay. Maybe the fact they decided on Smith over both Flynn and Foles speaks volumes for their trust in Smith. Or maybe it shows no faith in the other two.
The Quarterback draft class is the worst it has been for some years. There is no stand out prospects like Luck and RGIII last year. The main Quarterbacks being talked about the most appear to be Geno Smith, Tyler Wilson and Ryan Nassib. The timing of the news that we traded for Alex Smith was no coincidence, the news broke not long after the combine had wrapped up. Both Dorsey and Reid were present for alot of the time at the combine, neither seen anything to make them think of taking one of the Quarterbacks with the 1st overall pick. Alex Smith was seen as the best way to go.
The anger at the center of the Chiefs fan base wasn't so much aimed at the trade, but more for the price that was given up to acquire Smith. There was alot of thought before the trade moved forward that if no one was willing to offer up anything, the likelihood was the 49ers would release him into free agency anyway. There was talk that maybe the price could have been a 3rd or 4th rounder. Personally, I would've been happier if it was a 3rd but I can live with what it is. At the end of the day, I think the price of acquiring a decent Quarterback has gone up, and in the NFL there is the haves and have nots. It boiled down to the Chiefs not having, and the 49ers having 2 starting caliber Quarterbacks.
I find it extremely unlikely that Matt Cassel is back with the team in any capacity next season, be it as a back up or a 3rd stringer. There's no way this regime is going to pay him $7.5 million to sit on the sidelines with a headset. The biggest problem on the Chiefs last season was the amount of turnovers. This was seen as one of Cassels strengths up until last season. On the flip side, Alex Smith only got intercepted 5 times the whole of last season with a completion rate of 70.2%. I realise that he only started 7 games, but its still a far cry better than Cassels 12 interceptions and a completion percentage of 58.1. The intriguing thing about Smith is everyone he has been asked to throw the ball more than 35 times a game he's lost. This could be vital with the system that Reid is likely to employ, relying heavy on a pass happy scheme.
Recently, Bowe signed a new deal, 5 years $50 million, with $26 million guaranteed. Branden Albert was placed under the franchise tag and our punter Dustin Colquitt was also wrapped up long term. Tyson Jackson also restructured his deal which will see his cap hit number this season reduced from around $17 million to $7 million. This gives us cap space and a bit of flexibility in free agency. Albert Breer reported that he knows for a fact that the Chiefs are active in the cornerback market in free agency. Since then we have signed Dunta Robinson formally of the Falcons. This probably eliminates the chances of Dee Milliner being the first round pick.
News also filtered through Thursday that Eric Winston was released. Last season wasn't Winstons best year, however he was still rated as the 9th best Right Tackle in the league come the end. The troubles that he goes through come in the pass game. He is a great run blocker but not so good at stopping rushers getting after the Quarterback in the pocket. The release of Winston solidifies the belief that Reid will rely heavily on Alex Smith to throw the ball alot more next season.
There is going to be alot of attention of the number 1 pick and what we should now do with it now the Quarterback appears to have been addressed. I think in an ideal world you would trade down and pick up the extra picks. Dorsey was quoted on 810 sports radio in KC that the Chiefs are in 'ongoing discussions' about trading the 1st pick. With this being a deep class, but not one containing a stand out can't miss prospect, I have a hard time imagining someone sees the need to trade up to bag their man. There are a few possibilities albeit unlikely. The Raiders have been rumored to be interested in Geno Smith. If this be the case then they may feel the need to trade up to avoid anybody else being able to jump in front and steal Geno before they draft at number 3. Its also possible that someone see's Luke Joeckel as number 1 on their big board and they think that the Eagles will pick him before they get on the board. A team like Arizona possibly. In any scenario I wouldn't be happy with the thought of trading out of the top 10.
With all these outcomes very unlikely I think we go who Dorsey believes is the best player on the board at either Offensive or Defensive Line. Dorsey was also quoted on 810 saying that they are looking at 6 to 8 players that they could possibly take with the 1st pick. My money would be one Luke Joeckel at Offensive Tackle with outside chances on Shariff Floyd and Star Lotulelei on the Defensive line. Floyd can possibly play outside, opposite Jackson at End, or Lotulelei could become the Nose Tackle and Dontari Poe shift across to the End position. I think that its fair to suggest that we could go Quarterback later in the draft, possibly the 4th or 5th round. We'll need a back up and a project as I can't see Cassel or Quinn on the opening day roster.
Going forward, I fully trust Dorsey and Reid have made the right decisions thus far. I think that Alex Smith was the right way to go baring in mind the projected rookie QB class. Until a move this brain trust has made gets proved to be a mistake I see no reason not to be optimistic. There is potentially a very stable period ahead for KC and I'm truly looking forward to challenging for a play off spot next season. Denver are possibly out of reach, but there is a real chance that if everything clicks, this franchise could make the play offs as a wild card. Have faith KC, have faith!