Although it cannot become official until March 12th, the Kansas City Chiefs traded a 2013 second round pick and a conditional draft pick in 2014 for San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith.
Smith struggled at the beginning of his career, but posted a 19-5-1 record under head coach John Harbaugh the past two seasons.
Acquiring a quarterback through a trade or free agency is nothing new to Kansas City.
The Chiefs have not drafted a quarterback in the first round since Todd Blackledge in 1983. And he is more renowned as an ESPN commentator than he is as a former Chiefs quarterback.
And 12 players, Steve Bono, Rich Gannon, Elvis Grbac, Warren Moon, Trent Green, Damon Huard, Brodie Croyle, Tyler Thigpen, Matt Cassel, Tyler Palko, Kyle Orton and Brady Quinn, have all started under center since Kansas City won their last playoff game in 1993. Quarterback Joe Montana won their last January game.
The media have already assumed Smith will just add to this list of names. Change has surrounded Alex Smith throughout his career. Through his first seven seasons, he played under seven different offensive coordinators and thus as many different playbooks. Finally, Smith found consistency when Harbaugh arrived in San Francisco.
Until a concussion knocked him out of a Week 10 game against the Rams. He would not start again in 2012.
Smith was replaced by quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who provided the game -changing explosive plays Smith failed to deliver most games he started. Smith is what NFL analysts call a “game manager”.
At 28 years old, Smith faces a new challenge to learn another offensive system and adapt to a completely new team. But the one thing that could keep Smith from joining that list of forgotten quarterbacks in Kansas City is head coach Andy Reid.
Reid, a disciple of the west coast offense, brings his pass-heavy scheme to the Midwest, the very offense that originated in the city Alex Smith started his career.
Yes, this team has talented receivers in Jonathon Baldwin and Dwayne Bowe if the team does indeed franchise tag him. Also, Kansas City has running back Jamaal Charles if Reid chooses to use him. Furthermore, the Chiefs have a young, capable defense that has tremendous potential if it can stay healthy.
But Andy Reid is still the key to Smith’s success in the Midwest.