As the NFL season is coming to an end and the Super Bowl two weeks away, the Kansas City Chiefs are already preparing for next season. Several roster changes will be made, probably more this offseason than previous ones due to many of them being starters. Names like Derrick Johnson, Tampa Hali, Dee Ford, Allen Bailey, Darrelle Revis and ultimately Alex Smith are fine examples. What moves will be made that is best for the team and the franchise going forward?
Are the Chiefs still in the window of making it to a Super Bowl with this roster? Honestly, no. The past two seasons were the opportunity and they “Chiefed”, meaning they do what they seem to always do. Break our hearts just as we are starting to get excited again by losing in a somewhat unbelievable fashion. With losses like that taking place two years in a row, the Chiefs need to seriously reevaluate their entire roster; more than just the names listed earlier.
One name that has remained atop of many fans list is quarterback Alex Smith. As Patrick Mahomes awaits in the shadows before stepping into the bright light of expectations that have been placed upon him. Since Smith has been the main topic of discussion of many Chiefs fans, I believe now is the time to discuss the pros and cons of Smith remaining with Kansas City Chiefs next season.
Smith has led the Chiefs to the playoffs every year but one since coming to Kansas City. While having a top five win-loss record in the entire NFL as a quarterback for the Chiefs. He reliably solidified the quarterback position for the first time since Trent Green. Smith is extremely intelligent and accurate, which was on display for a majority of the season. Smith was placing the ball in tight windows, hitting the deep throws and the deep out routes. Those were all aspects of Smith’s game that fans were upset with last season, but this season he did a spectacular job and led the NFL in several passing categories.
The biggest pro of keeping Smith for next season is the fact that Andy Reid was finally able to open his entire playbook. Utilizing all of his weapons with Smith at the helm of the offense. If Patrick Mahomes steps into the starting role next season, Reid has to essentially start the trusting process over and only give spurts of his playbook.
Why should the Chiefs trade away something as reliable as Smith? The Chiefs issues this season started primarily on the defensive side of the ball and the offensive line. The middle season struggles of the season had an effect on Smith as well. He lost two receivers that he had a great connection with Chris Conley and Albert Wilson, as the relationship with Tyreek Hill was blossoming. When Conley and Wilson went down the Chiefs receiving core dropped tremendously in productivity.
Smith did his part in keeping this team in contention and executing his role throughout the season. The Chiefs are set to owe Smith 17 million dollars. After this year’s performance and ending it with another trip to the Pro Bowl, Smith has earned the 17 million dollar contract.
After listing every great advantage of Smith, it is now time to list every flaw in his game. That is only fair, right? Smith does a great job taking care of the ball and not being the sole purpose in a loss for the Chiefs, but at the same time, Smith was never the sole purpose for a Chiefs win either. The Chiefs rely too heavily on explosion plays and turnovers. This season was a prime example of needing Smith to step up and lead this team when the defense could not.
He proved during the mid-season struggle that he was not completely capable of the task. Granted losing two reliable receivers does not help any quarterback during tough times. Smith is known to get happy feet in a clean pocket, drop his head and miss guys getting open late in their routes. The option to even find that possible receiver is gone the moment his eyes go down.
During the middle season struggle, Smith displayed those flaws quite often. It showed the loss of trust in his offensive line and receivers. Smith was not able to take charge and lead his team when they needed it most. This has led to the downfall of trust from many fans too. Kansas City has felt some serious heartbreak during Smith’s tenure with the team. While some of those heart breaks are not purely his fault, others are. Is Smith worth the 17 million dollar contract if the season will end the same as the previous one, in heartache?
Smith has established himself as a valuable asset to this team and in the NFL. There are several franchises across the league that desperately need immediate help at the quarterback position. Some might be willing to trade draft picks at the opportunity to obtain a reliable guy that doesn’t turn the ball over. Smith’s trade value has most likely risen due to teams like the Jacksonville Jaguars reaching the AFC Championship with a strong defensive presence and little help from their quarterback. Add in a guy like Smith, and the Jaguars are most likely heading to the Super Bowl.
The Chiefs have several decisions to make this offseason, primarily at the quarterback position. While determining the smartest route for the team and franchise. Figuring out how to clear enough cap space to make moves and put themselves in position to obtain immediate help through free agency or the drat.
The first decision this offseason is to keep or trade Alex Smith.
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