Sean Smith is right where he wanted to be.
The Kansas City Chiefs have a number of difficult decisions to make about several free agents, and the team's starting cornerback is definitely one of the most valuable. After missing games early due to a suspension, Smith eventually rounded into impact form and gave the Chiefs another special season in the secondary.
Looking back at what Smith's agent said last April heading into Smith's final year of a three-year contract signed with the Chiefs, it's clear this is the moment for which he's been waiting.
"[Smith] is very comfortable playing out the year and becoming an unrestricted free agent at 29 (years old), which is the reason we did a three year deal," said David Canter, Smith's agent, last April. "We did that deal specifically so that Sean could hit the free agent market again once the numbers had popped and once the money had significantly increased."
Smith's initial deal with the Chiefs is now considered a steal by any measure. The three-year, $16.5 million deal paid off in the first year, and only looks better with each passing year as other contracts are handed out. Given the dearth of top-flight corners hitting the market, and the relentless demand for playmakers in the secondary, Smith will be paid handsomely.
The Chiefs can force Smith to play out another year by using the franchise tag, which would come with a $13 million price tag — nearly the entire amount the Chiefs paid him the three previous seasons. That said, the team also has other players to consider with that same method, in case John Dorsey is unable to come to long-term deals with players like Eric Berry or Jaye Howard.
If the Chiefs want to sign Sean Smith to a new deal, it's going to be a very expensive one without any sort of discount. The expectations for nothing less have been in place for quite some time.