This is going to be a compilation of stuff about the trade of soon to be former 49ers Quarterback Alex Smith who as of Tuesday will officially be traded to the Kansas City Chiefs and along with my sendoff I will post a few tidbits of the repercussions around the league the trade will create:
A few years ago I had compared Alex to Drew Brees in terms of development. A few people here scoffed at that notion(this was when Drew Brees was starting to light it up as the QB of the Saints). I was more comparing him to the Brees who played in San Diego than the Brees who played in New Orleans.
The past two years however only make the two that much more similar. Especially when you look at the good amount of similarities(especially in Brees’ age when he went to NO and Alex’s age as he is about to be traded to KC). So if you will be so inclined to read the rest of this massive post I present to you an updated comparison of the careers of Drew Brees and Alex Smith:
2001 Drew Brees is drafted by the San Diego Chargers with the first pick in the 2nd round of the 2001 NFL Draft. While he was considered the second best prospect at QB in this draft(eventually becoming the best of it) he was downgraded by a lot of teams due to his stature, perceived lack of arm strength, and the fact that his success in the NCAA came from being in the spread offense run at the time in Purdue. Also in this draft the Chargers selected LaDanian Tomlinson who would wind up becoming the leading rusher in Chargers history. He made his first start in November.
2002 Drew Brees is named the starting QB this season. He leads the Chargers to an 8-8 record that while not impressive still led to a glimmer of hope in the eyes of Chargers fans.
2003 After a disappointing start to this season Brees is eventually benched in favor of Flutie. Chargers regressed this season
2004 the Chargers select Eli Manning and then trade him to the Giants for Philip Rivers. At this point it’s not a matter of if Rivers will start but a matter of WHEN Rivers will start. Due to a delay thanks to a holdout by Rivers’ agent Drew Brees is the starting QB and has a really good season and leads the Chargers to a playoff berth. Brees age at this season 25
2005 while the Chargers of this season are not as good as the 2012 49ers it ends a similar way for Brees(injury ends his tenure as starting QB for the Chargers and well his time with the Chargers too). Brees age at this season 26
2006 Philip Rivers is named the starter of the Chargers while Brees. Brees talks with Miami and New Orleans and ends up going to New Orleans who had recently hired Sean Payton to be their Head Coach. Payton was known as a good offensive mind and pretty good with quarterbacks. This Saints team has a well established RB in McAlister, had just picked Reggie Bush, and had a good pair of WRs in Horn and Colston. Brees’ age at this season 27
2005 Alex Smith is selected with the first overall pick by the San Francisco 49ers. He has a high ceiling despite concerns about a lack of arm strength and playing in a spread offense that Utah ran under Urban Meyer. Also in this draft the 49ers selected Frank Gore who would end up becoming the leading rusher in 49ers history. Alex becomes the starting QB in October/November and has a rough time in the NFL as a rookie.
2006 Alex has a bounce back year under new offensive coordinator Norv Turner. The 49ers end the season 6-10 which is considered a vast improvement over the 2005 season in terms of how competitive they were.
2007 Alex struggles out the gate this season and due to injuries his term as starter is cut short. 49ers regressed this season
2008-2010 Alex was either hurt(2008), benched for a good chunk of the season(2009), or both(2010). These seasons could be used to contradict my argument but the fact that Alex was younger coming out of the league gives my comparison legs still.
2011 The 49ers trade up in round 2 to get Colin Kaepernick. Once again it’s not a matter of if Alex Smith’s days as the starting QB of the 49ers are numbered but a matter of when. A lockout prevents the coaches from properly developing Colin and thus Alex Smith is re-signed when possible and is the starter. In his best year as a starter at this point leads the 49ers to the playoffs. Smith’s age this season 27
2012 Alex Smith is having a season that somehow looks to be topping his 2011 season. Then week 9 vs the Rams he is knocked out of the game and never plays another meaningful snap as a 49er. 49ers make the super bowl all but sealing Alex’s fate in SF. Smith’s age this season 28
2013 A trade is agreed upon in principle that will send Alex to the Kansas City Chiefs a team who just hired an offensive minded coach who is known for getting a lot out of QBs in Andy Reid, has an all pro RB in the form of Jamaal Charles, and has a pro bowl caliber WR in the form of Dwayne Bowe. They had just tagged starting LT Brandon Albert and will most likely draft a RT high this year. Also this team has a pretty good amount of talent on defense especially after adding Dunta Robinson at CB and still looking to add. Smith’s age when the 2013 season starts will be 29
Now I am not saying Alex in Kansas City will be Drew Brees in New Orleans but one could say the talent across the board right now in KC is better than the talent across the board on the 2006 Saints. Add the fact that aside from Denver the AFC West is a weak division right now and is pretty much ripe for the taking even with Denver.
Alex Smith might not have been Joe Montana or Steve Young. He probably wasn’t even Jeff Garcia. But Even though he didn’t get a fair shake when Nolan and Singletary were the head coaches he refused to do anything but be one of the classiest individuals in football.
I was one of the biggest Alex Smith supporters early in the season so watching him play against the Saints in that 2012 playoff game I was more invested in that game than I usually am for the 49ers(Yes I know writers aren’t supposed to tell who they root for in football for this piece I kinda don’t care). Alex Smith did things even I didn’t think were capable at that point. And not because I doubted him but because I was already in this place where I was happy enough that the team had done well enough to get a first round bye. But I also thought the Saints offense was very dangerous and even the best in the NFL couldn’t match pace with Brees when he was on.
But not only did Smith match him he made for one of the most memorable finishes to a playoff game since The Catch 1 and 2. For all the bad times he had to endure as a QB I am glad that the one moment people will remember now will be the end of that game.
The following season he handled being benched in favor of Colin Kaepernick with complete class. He could have divided the locker room and refused to help Kaepernick adjust to starting like a lot of other QBs but he was very instrumental in the quick development of Kaep. This might be the reason alone that Andy Reid coveted Smith so much that he decided to give two high picks for Alex(because I think he will do well enough to turn that pick into a 2nd rounder).
But Alex wasn’t just trying to improve his stock in the eyes of future suitors. He is one of the very few classy individuals in this league. Wouldn’t gloat, didn’t have screaming matches with opponents, and wouldn’t be seen in the police blotter.
Also even if you weren’t a 49ers fan you would have to admire his toughness. Mike Nolan lost the locker room in 2007 because he questioned Alex’s toughness even when opposing players even commented that Alex was wincing in pain with every pass and that they respected his toughness. Sorry Nolan but I’d be more inclined to believe the players than a coach looking to blame shift. Ironic that the players who said this played for the team Nolan is now the defensive coordinator of.
So Alex it’s been a fun ride and good luck in Kansas City…..and get them good enough to make that second pick a 2014 second rounder!
How the Smith trade affected the: San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers were already expected to be loaded with draft picks coming into the 2013 draft. They were sitting at 11 picks with 3 more comp picks to be announced. This trade ended up giving them 5 picks in the first 3 rounds(6 is the one comp is in round 3). That is Belichickian in terms of stockpiling picks and now puts them in a position to have prolonged success in the NFL by trading for future picks or trading up to acquire better talent in the draft.
This also gives them the flexibility to trade for a player who can help them win the next Super Bowl. They could even draft more youth to the talent base that could either start now or develop into really good starters.
This team will be contending for super bowls for years to come due to their combination of great Head Coach, great General Manager, and the ability to both rebuild and reload at the same time due to the plethora of draft picks. This makes me very confident that the 49ers can bounce back from a bad Super Bowl experience.
How the Smith trade affected: The Kansas City Chiefs
At the end of the season the Chiefs were in a strange corner. They were essentially backed into the “You have the first overall pick you need a Quarterback right now for the future!” hole that having the worst record in the league typically puts you in. The problem is they had the first overall pick in a very weak QB class. Any of the top QBs here you could argue would be a reach at 3rd overall let alone 1st.
The Chiefs want to build on the trenches that much you can easily tell. Let’s face it if there was an RG3, Andrew Luck, Cam Newton, Colin Kaepernick, or Russell Wilson in this draft they would have decided to go QB in a heartbeat and this trade doesn’t happen. But the Chiefs saw no one worth the first overall pick and no one in free agency who they could consider worth the money a QB would get(Not including Flacco because he was a lock to stay in Baltimore).
Luck would so have it a frequent “trade involving a QB” partner in the 49ers happened to have a QB who the season before was 7 attempts shy of leading the league in passer efficiency and the year before that was thisclose to bringing the 49ers to a Super Bowl. I don’t care what anyone would think you see that and you jump on that trade. Never mind that it was expected he would be cut. You wouldn’t want to chance that.
And not only that but Kansas City, on paper, does not have the kinda talentless team that is typically picking first overall. They have a lot of talent on defense, one of the top halfbacks in the league in Jamaal Charles, a top receiver in Dwayne Bowe(who was recently re-signed), a LT in Albert who is young and talented and who should be book ended with a talented rookie in 6 weeks. The talent and coaching are there for Alex to take another team to the post-season at the least. Get him a tight end and things will get even better.
One thing Chiefs fans will not see from Alex is 20 interceptions(which is the total thrown by Matt Cassell and Brady Quinn combined). So if you are still a skeptical Chiefs fan that is a major plus.
If Alex is traded to another team the Chiefs probably have to end up settling on Geno Smith.
Hot the Smith trade affected: Ryan Mallett
Ryan Mallet who is currently the backup to Tom Brady was once considered a top QB prospect going into the NFL Draft. Then he had a stumble and was picked by the New England Patriots with one of their many third round picks. You could tell that Belichick was either going to get a good pick for Mallett or he had just drafted the eventual successor to Tom Brady.
Of course it is hard to showcase when you are the backup to Tom Brady but even now Mallett is still young enough to demand value on the trade market. Remember he is only the second string in New England because the QB starting is a future first ballot Hall of Famer in Tom Brady. Mallett would have had to be lights out good from day one and then have to wait on a Brady injury to get playing time in year 1 or 2.
Even with that said he has the kind of skill set that is considered a perfect match for a team like Cleveland or Arizona. Both teams lost out on the Alex Smith trade but now Ryan Mallet is one of the top QBs who could be getting their current teams a new draft day haul.
If I am Cleveland I do what I can to acquire Mallett. Unlike Matt Cassell he was a starter in college and a very productive one at that. Cleveland’s offense is going to feature a very vertical passing game and that is the best fit for Mallett. If Cleveland had a 2nd rounder I would throw it at New England for Mallett. But a 3rd could probably do due to the lack of playing time he had in New England. I think it would be worth it to get Mallett to that WR group.
How the Smith trade affected: Geno Smith
Geno Smith is as of this moment considered the best Quarterback prospect of the 2013 draft class. Unfortunately that just means he is the prettiest girl of an ugly contest. Any other draft he is probably a late first early second rounder. But due to the fact that there are so many openings at QB and so few options for these teams someone has to be it.
While Smith might go to an equally talented but just as QB needy team in, say, Arizona there will be some money lost if Arizona doesn’t trade up to get him. So let’s say he doesn’t get picked first due to a trade and he winds up at 7 with Arizona. That means Geno Smith would be making 11 million less over the rookie contract than he would have made if he was picked number 1 overall.
So if there is one real loser in the Alex Smith to Kansas City trade it would have to be Geno Smith.
Sorry I didn’t report anything but football and took my sweet time between my first and second posts. Been busy but this coming week I plan to update a lot more frequently due to the sheer amount of signings that are about to happen in the NFL with free agency starting.
So until next time