The Kansas City Chiefs had a surprisingly successful first season with Alex Smith under center running new head coach Andy Reid’s offense. But does that mean Smith is worthy of top-tier quarterback money? Apparently he believes it does.
A report on Wednesday claims that Smith wants to be paid like a franchise quarterback and wants to get an extension done before the 2014 season kicks off. Smith signed a three-year, $24 million contract back in March of 2012, and will be a free agent following the upcoming season.
Smith has always been the “solid but unspectacular” type of quarterback and his demands for big money could fall on deaf ears. The National Football Post’s Jason Cole claims that Smith is looking for a deal above what the Chicago Bears gave Jay Cutler. Cutler was given an annual average of $18.1 million, and is older than Smith and was not as good as the 30-year-old Chiefs quarterback in 2013, but most agree he Cutler more physical upside.
In 2013, Smith completed 60.6 percent of his passes for 3,313 yards, with 23 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He played in 15 games and posted a quarterback rating of 89.1. He led the Chiefs to an 11-5 record (though they started 9-0), and they lost to the Indianapolis Colts 45-44 in the opening round of the playoffs. That’s not bad for his first season in a new system under Reid.
But Smith was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft and has never lived up to that billing. He lost his job to Colin Kaepernick after eight seasons with the San Francisco 49ers and has never shown the kind of game-breaking ability that teams want in a signal-caller they build their franchises around.
That said, the Chiefs may have to get a deal with Smith done, because they don’t have a natural successor on their current roster. Tyler Bray, Chase Daniel and the recently-drafted Aaron Murray don’t exactly instill confidence that the Chiefs could comfortably move on from Smith.
I think most in the NFL agree that Smith is not worth anything close to $18 million a year, but the Chiefs will likely have to work out some kind of extension with him or slap him with the franchise tag in the offseason.