The Kansas City Chiefs have done it again. For the second time this offseason the Chiefs have filled a vacancy in their organization with the best person available. First, they hired Andy Reid, who was the best available of all the head coaches who were fired following the season. Now, the Chiefs have traded for Alex Smith, the best quarterback available on the trading block this offseason. The additions of Reid and Smith will breathe new life into an organization reeling from a two-win season in 2012, and will give the Chiefs hope for a quick turnaround in 2013.
To put things in their proper perspective, Smith isn’t exactly the be all and end all of quarterbacks. As a former number one overall pick, it took him a while to establish himself as a viable starting quarterback, and even when he did, it was because he had a lot of help around him. However, Smith is still the best available quarterback. He’s a better option than Matt Flynn, Nick Foles, or any other backup that could be made available via a trade this offseason. He’s also better than any quarterback the Chiefs could find in this year’s draft. Considering they are giving up their second round pick to acquire him, Smith is certainly a better option than any quarterback that would be available at that point in the draft. Most importantly, Smith is better than the quarterbacks the Chiefs had on their roster in 2012. He may not be the long-term answer in Kansas City, but he does give them a chance to compete.
It’s no secret that Smith needs a lot of help around him to succeed, but he’ll actually have a nice assortment of help waiting for him in Kansas City. With Reid at the helm, Smith will have an experienced coach that has proven himself capable of guiding a team to a conference championship game, just as Smith has proven that with the right people around him, he is also capable of guiding a team to a conference championship game. Although Smith isn’t all that young anymore, Reid does have a good history of developing quarterbacks, and he should be able to help Smith grow as a quarterback. If nothing else, Reid has the experience as a play caller to find a way to utilize Smith in the best way possible, accentuating his strengths and hiding his weaknesses.
As for the players Smith will have around him, he joins a team that sent four defensive players to the Pro Bowl last year. A good defense is a prerequisite for winning with a quarterback like Smith, and the Chiefs have the making of a good defense with three Pro-Bowl linebackers and a Pro-Bowl safety. If Smith can do a better job of keeping the defense off the field than Kansas City’s quarterbacks did in 2012, the defense will certainly improve and put Smith in manageable situations to win games. In essence, the addition of Smith will be good for the defense, which in turn will be good for Smith.
Offensively, there are questions as to the quality of the receivers Smith will be able to throw to in Kansas City, especially is the team loses Dwayne Bowe to free agency. However, the presence of Pro-Bowl running back Jamaal Charles should help take a lot of pressure off Smith, much like Frank Gore did for him in San Francisco. So, with a reliable running game and a lot of promising talent on defense, Smith will be set up well to make Kansas City a competitive team.
Considering how many teams are in need of a quarterback and the amount of interest there was around the NFL in acquiring Smith, the Chiefs should be commended for pulling off a trade for him. It was their second best move of the offseason behind making Reid their new head coach. Now Kansas City has their head coach in place, their quarterback in place, and the number one overall pick; not a bad place to be in for a team that finished 2-14 last season.