19 Days to Camp: Alex Smith

Tyler Bray & Alex Smith

When the Kansas City Chiefs acquired Quarterback Alex Smith in March of 2013, they did so knowing it wouldn't cost too much in draft compensation or salary over the next two years. But in stabilizing the one position that's been out of control for more than a decade on this team, they have a bigger issue at hand in deciding to offer him a long term contract or let him walk after the season.

Let's not kid ourselves. Alex Smith might be the best quarterback this franchise has seen since, Trent Green. Before that it was, Joe Montana. So the Kansas City Chiefs better make the right decision about the future of their current starting quarterback.

Its been three months since the Chiefs and Agent, Tom Condon, have been pursuing a long term contract for Mr. Smith. To date, though they appear closer than at anytime in their attempts to come up with a reasonable compromise, the two sides haven't been able to swallow enough pride to get the deal consummated.

That might seem dramatic. But honestly the two sides are in a bit of bickering match, largely because the perception is that Alex Smith needs to be paid like an elite quarterback. However, Kansas City doesn't want to tax their salary cap in the coming years.

Still, that's not the only issue at hand for Head Coach, Andy Reid and General Manager, John Dorsey, they're faced with in deciphering the merits of getting Smith under contract. With youngsters, Tyler Bray and Aaron Murray, in the fold for the conceivable future, Smith's contract status becomes a bit muddy.

I'm already on record stating that Bray or Murray could step into a starters role in 2015 or 2016. In fact, Smith could be franchised in both those years and it would still cost the Chiefs less to go that route than giving him $60 million in guaranteed money on his next contract.

When the San Francisco 49ers signed, Colin Kaepernick, to his mega millions contract, it took days to decipher the actual value of the contract. In the end, the man who ultimately replaced Smith in the starting lineup for the NFC West powerhouse would receive for the life of the contact about $12 million in annual salary.

The Chiefs looked at that contract and hoped to structure one very similar. However, that was done well after the two sides had already begun hammering out parameters for a deal. Now that the landscape has changed slightly, both with Kaepernick's contract and possessing a pair of young gunslingers on the roster, each side has begun to look into their respective crystal balls to find an immediate solution.

I have no doubt Smith, entering the prime of his career, deserves a new contract from the Chiefs. His performance the second half of the season a year ago and his post-season effort against the Colts were equally brilliant.

To that end, Dorsey and Reid will ultimately do what's best for the entire organization.

For Smith, he has to understand that Kansas City is trying to build a balanced roster. That means taking it on the chin just a bit in order for the team to continue to manage the salary cap so it can build upon the base in the years to come that currently exists within the 53-man roster.

In the future with an expanded salary cap, Kansas City could become more aggressive in free agency. But if Smith's contract demands rise significantly or the Chiefs are forced to carry a large Franchise Tag in 2015 or 2016, we might see another off-season like this past one - when the Chiefs were hamstrung by their salary cap.

My gut tells me the two sides will come up with a compromise and get a contract done before the start of training camp. However, how long Smith actually remains the starter in Kansas City will always be an issue that faces this franchise.

That's because for the first time in franchise history, the Chiefs have options at the quarterback position. However, for the moment, the best option remains Alex Smith.

Next Up: Andy Reid




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