And just like that, the widespread speculation of where Alex Smith will land and what the Kansas City Chiefs will do at quarterback has been answered. Jay Glazer of FOX Sports reports that the San Francisco 49ers have completed a trade with the Chiefs for Smith.
Though the deal won’t become official until the new league begins on March 12, Glazer notes that the Chiefs have “really made a commitment to Smith” and multiple reports cite that San Francisco will receive Kansas City’s second-round pick (No. 34 overall) in the 2013 NFL Draft and another mid-round conditional pick in 2014.
Kansas City’s decision with the top pick this April now looks to easy: take the top offensive tackle (likely Luke Joeckel) or trade down and stockpile. San Francisco sure has stockpiled well, as the team is now flushed with a total of 14 draft picks (including compensatory picks).
Smith’s Stint in San Francisco
In 80 games (75 starts), Smith has completed 1,290 of 2,177 passes (59.3 percent) for 14,280 yards and 81 touchdowns to 63 interceptions and added 761 yards with four scores on the ground. However, through no fault of his own, he had to deal with sky-scraping expectations the moment he was selected as the No. 1 overall pick out of Utah in the 2005 NFL Draft.
Expectations are high for any player—especially a quarterback who’s chosen in the first round, let alone the first overall pick. However, Smith had to deal with unfair and immediate expectations as he drew comparisons to Steve Young and Joe Montana. He also struggled with injuries and was forced to adjust to a new offensive coordinator and a new system each season. That will have an affect on anyone. Yet, the 6-4, 217-pound quarterback always handled adversity extremely well.
During his first year with Harbaugh and Roman in 2011, Smith completed 273 of 445 passes (61.3 percent) for 3,144 yards with 17 touchdowns to just five interceptions. He also led the league with his interception rate (1.1 percent) and led the team to four fourth-quarter comeback wins—tying the franchise record set by Montana.
Coming off by far the best campaign of his career, Smith performed even better this past season. In 10 games (nine starts), Smith completed 153 of 218 passes (70.2 percent) for 1,737 yards with 13 TDs to five INTs before sustaining a concussion against the St. Louis Rams in Week 10 and being replaced by second-year signal-caller Colin Kaepernick.
Kaepernick took the league by storm from the get-go and he finished the regular season completing 136 of 218 passes (62.4 percent) for 1,814 yards with 10 TDs to only three INTs in seven starts. He also added 415 yards and five scores on 63 carries and Kaepernick didn’t slow down in the postseason, either. Smith handled also handled that adversity like a pro.
Smith-Kaepernick Statistical Comparison
During the regular season, Smith and Kaepernick threw the exact same amount of passes. In nine starts, Smith completed 153 of 218 passes (70.2) for 1,737 yards with 13 TDs to 5 INTs. In seven starts, Kaepernick completed 136 of 218 passes (62.4) for 1,814 yards with 10 TDs to 3 INTs. Of course Kaepernick outgained Smith on the ground—415 yards and 5 TDs to 132 rushing yards.
Why Kansas City Got A Good Deal
The Chiefs’ new regime in 2013 is in a similar situation as the one that got started in San Francisco in 2011. Though the Chiefs finished 2-14 in 2012, the team has talent and at important positions for Smith like tight end, running back and receiver. Smith should thrive in a similar system in Kansas City under offensive coordinator Doug Pederson and head coach Andy Reid.
The front office looks to be in business come April 25. The Chiefs could trade down with another team in the Top 10 that needs either a quarterback (Geno Smith), offensive tackle (Luke Joeckel) or defensive lineman (Sharrif Floyd, Bjoern Werner, Damontre Moore, etc.) that want to move ahead of the Jacksonville Jaguars, Oakland Raiders or Philadelphia Eagles, etc.
Why San Francisco Got A Good Deal
The Niners needed to move on from Smith and get something worthwhile in return. Mission accomplished.
Now they’ll look to find a backup for their young star quarterback and work to tweak the offense for Kaepernick’s first full season as the starting signal-caller. In addition, they’ll look to address their impending free agents and upgrade their pass rush and secondary.
Michael Gartman is a College Football and NFL Senior Writer, the AFC South and NFC West Lead Writer and the Founder, CEO of GridironGrit.com. He’s also about to start reporting on topics across all sides of the political spectrum and analyze important issues in the liberty movement for a political website. Follow him @_MichaelGartman on Twitter.