Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith said Tuesday that he has not given any thought to breaking off negotiations on a long-term contract, though that remains a possibility with the start of the regular season just over a week away.
Smith said earlier in training camp that he wanted to end discussions of a new deal by the time the games count. That happens Sept. 7, when Kansas City opens its season against Tennessee.
”It’s a good question. I wish I had a better answer for you,” Smith said. ”I’ve still just been locked into games and practicing. With camp and preseason winding down, we’ll see.”
Smith is in the final year of the three-year contract he signed with the 49ers, and is due to make $8 million this season. His agent has been speaking to the Chiefs for several months, but the two sides have not been close to an agreement.
Most suspect he’ll settle for an extension similar to what Colin Kaepernick, his replacement in San Francisco, signed this offseason: six years, $126 million with $61 million guaranteed.
Smith has not played well in the preseason, throwing two interceptions in the red zone in his final outing against Minnesota.
But he’s been hampered by an offensive line in turmoil, an injury to running back Jamaal Charles that kept him out for two weeks, and a suspect wide receiver group that will start the season without suspended star Dwayne Bowe.
When it was suggested that Smith, who is coming off the best statistical year of his career, might have been wise to finish a deal before this season, the affable quarterback simply smiled.
”I don’t think it necessarily affects my contract,” he said. ”I’ve said it before, I’d have loved to get it done, but the fact that we’ve had some of those things, it doesn’t change that.”
Smith also said he doesn’t believe his uncertain future will have any bearing on his ability to lead a team that is coming off an 11-5 record and playoff appearance.
”I know myself and having teammates in all kinds of contract situations, it’s the last thing I’m thinking about,” Smith said. ”In the locker room, it’s `What is that guy sacrificing? Is he accountable? How bad does he want it for the team?’ Those are the things I look for in a teammate.
”If a guy is in his last year, in a dispute, he’s tagged, whatever it may be, that’s the last thing I think about it. It’s `what kind of teammate is he? What’s he putting in?’ ”