The Kansas City Chiefs made a bold move in the draft by moving up from 27 to No. 10 to select their quarterback of the future, Patrick Mahomes. It cost the Chiefs a significant amount of capital, but when a team falls in love with a specific quarterback, no price is viewed as “too high.”
What made the decision particularly interesting is the fact that the Chiefs were already set at quarterback for a few more years thanks to Alex Smith – a savvy veteran who owns a 41-20 record in Kansas City. It’s clear the Chiefs aren’t sold on him being their franchise quarterback for much longer, and he’s well aware of that fact.
“I think [the Chiefs are] committed to me [only] through this year,” Smith said, via ESPN. “That’s just the nature of it. If you don’t go out there and perform, I mean, coach [Andy] Reid and [quarterbacks coach Matt Nagy] are very honest. You’ve got to go out there and do your deal. We all have to.”
The Chiefs haven’t explicitly said that Smith will only be around for one more season, but you don’t trade up 17 spots for a quarterback and have him sit on the bench for two or three years. At least, not in today’s NFL. It’s not that Smith has played poorly the past four years, but he’s more of a game manager than a Super Bowl winner.
November 17, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid (left) talks to quarterback Alex Smith (11) during the fourth quarter against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Broncos defeated the Chiefs 27-17. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Mahomes has far better potential, and has the makings of a true franchise quarterback. Smith acknowledges that he has to play better, regardless of the fact that the Chiefs drafted his replacement.
“Whether or not we drafted Patrick, it doesn’t change that, right?” Smith said. “If you’re not good enough and didn’t get it done, you’re not going to be around long. That’s just our culture. I know it. That’s the nature of the position.”
This isn’t the first time Smith has dealt with a quarterback looking over his shoulder, vying for the starting job. He went through the same in San Francisco when Colin Kaepernick eventually replaced him.
Smith feels this time around it’s a bit different, mainly because Andy Reid and the front office hand-picked Smith and brought him over from the 49ers. He doesn’t blame the team for adding Mahomes, knowing how important the quarterback position is.
“I’ve been through it,” Smith said. “I’m in a different place than the last time I kind of dealt with something like this, [but] I get it, right? If any of us were the GM, this in my opinion might be the most important position in all of sports. You’d be crazy not to be stockpiling talent.”
It’s unlikely Mahomes passes Smith on the depth chart this season, knowing how raw he is and how much development he needs to go through, but never say never. If he catches on quickly, learns the playbook at a rapid pace and cleans up his footwork, we could see a midseason switch at quarterback, depending on how the Chiefs’ season is going.