The Kansas City Chiefs and the San Fransisco 49ers have agreed to a deal that will send former starting quarterback Alex Smith to Kansas City when the NFL season officially begins on March 12.
Not only does this makes sense for both teams, it finally puts an end to the whiny cognitive dissonance of Niners fans who couldn’t choose who to rally behind: Smith or the man he was benched for, Colin Kaepernick.
There simply isn’t any reason for San Fransisco to keep Smith. Sure, he developed into a slightly above average quarterback throughout the years whose conservative throwing style fits head coach Jim Harbaugh’s offensive philosophy well, but the emergence of Kaepernick now makes him moot.
Having two starting-level quarterbacks on the same team is useless, so the 49ers decided to move on and trade Smith to Kansas City for what is being said will be a 2013 second round pick and a similar pick in 2014. Smith, who was drafted first in 2005, never led the Niners to a Super Bowl and overall has had a
mediocre career (passer
rating of 79.1).
This move allows the Niners to have an elite quarterback and still have the draft prospects to strengthen their secondary, which is the weakest link in their vaunted defense. Kaepernick not only broke the record for most rushing yards in a
playoff game (181 against Green Bay), but he threw for 1,800 yards and 10 TDs in eight games as a
starter in the regular season while also rushing for 415 yards and five
It’s important to note that there’s a reason why Niners fans complained when Smith was replaced: he was in the midst of a career year before an injury sidelined him and the team had just signed him to a three-year, $24 million dollar contract after last season. Also, no one really knew how good Kaepernick was, coming into the season he had only taken seven snaps in 2011.
Before his injury, Smith played 10 games, throwing over 1,700 yards and 13 touchdowns. He was putting up a career-high passer rating of 104.1, and the Niners had only lost two games in that stretch. Smith’s last two seasons of playing well above his normal level were not enough for San Fransisco, as the franchise saw Kaepernick eclipse Smith’s per-game production in almost every way.
However, Smith — who has improved after each of the last four seasons — is now set to be under center for the Chiefs, who are in a dire situation.
Kansas City finished a woeful 2-14 last year with former Patriots quarterback Matt Cassel at their helm. Cassel is rumored to be let go by the Chiefs after four awful years with them, even being benched during the 2012 season, and is rumored to have drawn interest from the Arizona Cardinals.
In his time with Kansas City, Cassel saw himself in a slow and steady decline as he missed seven games each of the last two seasons and put up abysmal passer ratings of 76.6 in 2011 and 66.7 in 2012. Last year, he had six touchdowns, 12 interceptions and seven lost fumbles in nine games.
The Chiefs will see an immediate upgrade at the quarterback position as Smith appears to have reached the prime of his career, but he has one thing to prove to everyone: is he legitimately good or just a product of Harbaugh’s system?