Matt Cassel: Chiefs Should Target Geno Smith with Veteran QB Likely to Be Cut

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistFebruary 24, 2013

PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 12:  Matt Cassel #7 of the Kansas City Chiefs warms up against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on November 12, 2012 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Geno Smith is the only quarterback the Kansas City Chiefs should target this offseason.

The Chiefs appear to be making the position a top priority heading into 2013, and Mike Garafolo of USA Today reported that Kansas City is likely to release Matt Cassel:

Meanwhile, a person briefed on the Chiefs' thinking in regard to Matt Cassel said the veteran quarterback has not been offered a pay cut from his slated salary of $7.5 million. The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the team hasn't talked about Cassel's contract situation in detail, said it seems Cassel is destined to be released soon.

This comes as far from a shock to Chiefs fans. The writing has long been on the wall for Cassel. He was dreadful in 2012, throwing for 1,796 yards and just six touchdowns to 12 interceptions. Cassel's quarterback rating of 66.7 was dead last in the league among the QBs who qualified.

Pretty much any quarterback would be an upgrade at this point.

Kansas City looks to be targeting either Geno Smith, Nick Foles (though that is unlikely) or Alex Smith, with the veteran getting the nod, according to Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports. Alex Smith is a solid option and did very well over the past couple years with the San Francisco 49ers until Colin Kaepernick took over.

Trading for him would be a mistake, though, since Geno Smith is the better option of the two for the Chiefs.

Many will bring up that Smith is simply the best in what is an extremely poor quarterback class in the 2013 draft. While it's true that the prospect quality isn't very deep, that doesn't disqualify Smith from becoming a possible Pro Bowl quarterback.

The former West Virginia Mountaineer has already made waves at the combine with his 40-yard dash time. Ian Rapoport of put it best on Twitter:

Smith is not a run-first quarterback and never built a reputation as being very mobile in college. Seeing that 40-time will entice teams. It looks like, at the very least, Smith can be the kind of quarterback who can scramble a bit to create some more time for himself in the pocket.

That kind of speed can't be honed at the pro level. A player either comes in fast or he doesn't. Kaepernick and Robert Griffin III are the gold standards in the NFL right now. However, Cam Newton and Russell Wilson have demonstrated that a quarterback doesn't have to be a burner to be effective on the ground.

Accuracy is a major question mark with Smith. Although he only threw 21 interceptions in his four years at West Virginia, Smith never had to make a ton of deep throws. The offense allowed him to make easier throws against what were very weak Big 12 defenses.

Over time, Smith will become an extremely good quarterback. The Chiefs may not want to wait for another rebuilding project, but it's what's best for the organization. Andy Reid drafted Donovan McNabb, much to the chagrin of Philadelphia Eagles fans. He helped groom McNabb to a possible Hall of Fame QB over the years.

This is not to say that Smith will turn into the next McNabb. Under Reid, Smith can turn his raw talent into real production on the field and turn the Chiefs into a winner.