Everyone benefits from this trade!
Just over two years ago, the Kansas City Chiefs won their division led by their Pro Bowl QB Matt Cassel, while the San Francisco 49ers had another disappointing year finishing 6-10 and shuffling their draft bust, Alex Smith, in and out of the starting role…oh, how the times have changed.
Clearly, a team’s fortunes can change very quickly in the NFL, and the Chiefs are hoping that by trading for Smith, he can have another revival in Kansas City.
At face value, the Chiefs overpaid for Smith, while the 49ers made out like bandits. It was obvious that Smith wasn’t going to be in San Francisco this year, so the 49ers’ options were to either trade him or cut him (which would have put the 49ers on the hook for at least $1 million). With such little leverage, it’s amazing that the 49ers received the 34th pick in this year’s draft, plus a third-rounder next year that could turn into a second-round pick depending on how well Smith and the Chiefs do. Now the 49ers are in a better position to add better pieces around Kaepernick and are set up to be a top team for the foreseeable future.
But this was also a good move for the Chiefs. Considering how inflated the QB market has been in recent years, the Chiefs’ decision is understandable. For example, the Raiders traded a first- and second-round pick for Carson Palmer, while the Cardinals gave up a second-round pick and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie for Kevin Kolb. While it didn’t really work out for these teams, the fact remains that this is just what it costs to acquire a mid-level QB, even if it’s a gamble. It’s like renting an apartment in New York…you know the price seems too high for what you’re getting, but you can either pay it or not live there. If the Chiefs didn’t make the move for Smith, another team might have, and they would risk not finding a decent QB this year.
Plus, sometimes it’s better to pay for something you know you could get for cheaper later if there’s a convenience to having it now. With their coach and QB situation settled, the Chiefs are in a much better position to re-sign Dwayne Bowe and attract other free agents.
Overall, everyone benefits from the trade. The 49ers gain cap flexibility and high draft picks, the Chiefs gain a solid quarterback, and Alex Smith gets a chance to start again. If he plays smart football like he did the past two years, Kansas City can start winning games this season. And in a not-so-deep AFC, a wild card spot is not impossible.