Why the Kansas City Chiefs Overpaid in Trading for Alex Smith

Michael LingbergCorrespondent IIIFebruary 27, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JANUARY 12:  Quarterback Alex Smith #11 of the San Francisco 49ers looks on during warm ups prior to the NFC Divisional Playoff Game against the Green Bay Packers at Candlestick Park on January 12, 2013 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

When you think of Alex Smith during his time with the San Francisco 49ers, what comes to mind?

For me, it's a shoulder shrug and a big ol' "meh."

Smith was drafted with the first overall pick in 2005 out of Utah by San Francisco ahead of a much worthier—in hindsight—quarterback, Aaron Rodgers.

But to call Smith a bust is going a bit too far. He's a good quarterback, but not great by any stretch of the imagination. And the fact that he's had to adapt to many head coaches, offensive coordinators and offensive schemes must be taken into consideration. That, along with injuries, stunted his growth as an NFL quarterback. 

Smith played for San Francisco for the past eight years and that should be enough for anyone to evaluate his abilities, despite the constant instability around him. There's just no getting around the fact that Smith is nothing more than a game manager; he's not going to overwhelm anyone with statistics.

But we got a glimpse of Smith's potential when he becomes comfortable with one system for a long period of time. He completed 70.2 percent of his passes and his eight yards per passing attempt was the highest of his career. A comfortable Alex Smith is a decent Alex Smith, and that's something the Kansas City Chiefs can look forward to now. 

However, the fact remains that Smith does not have consistent game-changing ability. He's somewhat predictable, and that makes his teams easier to defend. That's why he was benched for Colin Kaepernick. 

Now the Chiefs have him. And for all of the reasons stated above, they overpaid for him by trading a second-round pick in the 2013 NFL draft as well as a conditional 2014 pick. 

Sure, Kansas City snagged itself a starting quarterback and will have upgraded from Matt Cassel, who is more suited to being a very good backup. 

But a second-round pick, which turns out to be pick No. 34? That's a bit steep for a quarterback who has proven that he won't make enough of a difference to win a Super Bowl. 

Perhaps the Chiefs would have been better off offering a third-round pick at the highest. It's not like Smith is a young, promising, up-and-coming commodity. Giving up a pick as high as they did gives off a whiff of desperation. 

Then again, they did what needed to be done. Kansas City needs a quarterback, and because there are none worth reaching for with the first overall pick in the draft, Smith was the right decision. He's an able, veteran quarterback who won't be the reason the team loses a game.  

They just paid too much for him. 

But hey, that's what we thought the Washington Redskins did after what they gave the St. Louis Rams for Robert Griffin III. That turned out to be a great risk. 

Hindsight would be great if we could use it earlier. For that, we should judge this trade after next season. 

Good luck in Kansas City, Mr. Smith.