Alex Smith, the San Francisco 49ers’ former starting quarterback, has asked for his release before the NFL’s free agency period begins on March 12. Smith was enjoying a strong season for the 49ers before being benched in favor of Colin Kaepernick. The Chiefs are rumored to be one of several teams who are interested in pursuing Smith, which makes sense. Signing Smith would be a great move by new general manager John Dorsey.
First, let’s look at Smith. The former top overall pick struggled early in his career, often getting benched and never living up to his lofty draft status. However, over the past few seasons, he has grown into an efficient quarterback who rarely makes a big mistake. In the eight games he played this season, Smith compiled a 104.1 passer rating. Had that held up for an entire season, it would have finished as the third highest rating in the league this past season behind only Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning.
Smith has been labeled by many as a glorified game manager, but that wouldn’t be a bad fit with Kansas City. With the dynamic Jamaal Charles in the prime of his career, the Chiefs should be a run-first team in the near future. Matt Cassel’s turnovers completely derailed the offense last season, and Smith can provide the Chiefs with efficient, mistake-free football.
Many Chiefs fans feel the team should draft a quarterback with its top overall draft pick, but this simply is not a good draft class for quarterbacks. The team could massively upgrade its offensive or defensive line with the firstoverall pick if it gets Smith in free agency, and then decide to draft a quarterback next year or in the later rounds of the draft. Kansas City could also sign Smith and still draft its quarterback of the future. Smith will likely be available for a decent price, and his presence would allow the Chiefs to bring along its new quarterback slowly.
One of the biggest mistakes Scott Pioli made during his reign of terror as Kansas City’s GM was not investing into the quarterback position apart from his initial signing of Matt Cassel. The Chiefs may or may draft their QB of the future in April, but either way, they should sign Alex Smith.
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