How Much Can Alex Smith Really Help the Kansas City Chiefs?
What are the Kansas City Chiefs doing? After finishing last year 2-14 they have traded a second round pick this year for Alex Smith. In addition to the 34th pick in the draft for a journeyman quarterback, KC also yielded an early pick in next year’s draft. In other words, a team that has finished last in their mediocre division the past two seasons, and has made the playoffs once since 2006 has decided to give away valuable picks for a guy who has never thrown more than 18 touchdowns in a season. For his career Smith has completed less than 60-percent of his throws.
It would be one thing if the Chiefs stretched to get a young quarterback like Kirk Cousins, who showed flashes of brilliance as a rookie, and will only play in Washington if Robert Griffin III is injured. It is another thing to give up picks for a guy who was once benched for Shaun Hill and David Carr. In seven NFL seasons Smith has started 16 games twice. In general this is because of poor play, not injuries.
Smith's best full season in the league was two years ago when he helped the 49ers to the NFC Championship Game. During the regular season he ranked ninth in the league in QB Rating. He finished the season 19th in the NFL in passing yards, 17th in touchdown passes, 11th in completion percentage, and 17th in yards per attempt.
Matt Moore, a veteran who won't get a ton of money this off-season, has nearly identical career numbers to Smith in terms of QB Rating, and yards per attempt, while boasting a significantly better touchdown to interception ratio. In 2011, Moore played in 13 games with the Dolphins. He completed 60.5-percent of his passes, threw for 16 touchdowns, and averaged 7.2 yards per attempt. In the same year, Smith's best in the NFL, he completed 61.3-percent of his passes, with 17 touchdowns, and 7.07 yards per completion in 16 games. One guy is worth two premium picks, while the other can be had for very little?
In last year’s draft the number 34 pick could have netted you Cousins, Nick Foles or Russell Wilson. Two years ago you could have chosen from Andy Dalton, Colin Kaepernick, or Ryan Mallett. Any of those six options could have given the Chiefs somebody to build around with more upside than Smith.
If the Chiefs were one player away from contending, maybe Smith's 104.1 QB Rating this last season before he was benched for Kaepernick would make some sense. However, Kansas City is rebuilding. To do so around a mediocre veteran quarterback at the expense of draft picks does not make sense.