Jan 4, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) celebrates after throwing a pass for a touchdown during the second quarter of the 2013 AFC wild card playoff football game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Alex Smith wants top-tier money, around $18 million


The Kansas City Chiefs have no intention of letting starting quarterback Alex Smith hit the free agent market in 2015, as they know just how difficult it is to find a franchise quarterback in this league. They traded two second-round picks to the San Francisco 49ers to Smith, and he did a solid job of leading a passing attack bereft of adequate pass-catching talent last season. He was a big reason for the Chiefs massive turn-around, even if it would be categorically untrue to state that he was the only factor. Smith averaged just 6.5 yards per attempt, but he had 23 touchdowns compared to just seven interceptions and played a controlled game. The “game manager” tag is an appropriate label for Smith, but that reflects his style of play. He doesn’t possess a good downfield arm, but he’s smart, accurate, and quality starter overall.

Teams don’t like putting themselves in a vulnerable position at quarterback, which is why the Chiefs are even willing to use the franchise tag on Smith if talks continue to go nowhere. Neither side has made much progress on an extension, and both sides would ideally like to get something done before the regular season starts (at the latest).

What complicates things is the gap between the Chiefs value of Smith and his own price tag, and it’s a classic leverage vs. actual value issue. The NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports that Smith wants to be paid like a “top-tier” signal-caller, because he know that he holds the leverage. This league is all about the quarterback position, because it is ridiculously difficult to win without a sufficient QB. Smith knows he fits that bill, and he knows that the franchise-QB-or-bust mentality inflates his value. Per Rapoport, “there is no 2nd-tier QB market”, and that gives Smith all the leverage.

The National Football Post’s Jason Cole tweeted that Smith wanted to make more money than Jay Cutler once he signed a seven-year, $126 million extension with the Chicago Bears back in January. Rapoport replied  with confirmation that this is the case, and he added that Smith is looking for around $18 million per year (Cutler is making $18.1 million), and that number seems to be the magic number at QB, as it’s the very baseline for a deal with Colin Kaepernick (he’ll likely make at least $20 million per year since he’s better and younger than both Smith and Cutler).

Should Smith make more money than Cutler? The whole leverage argument above from Rapoport states that he can find a way to obtain that kind of money, but $18 million is an awful lot to spend on a quarterback who is pretty much an average starter in this league. He’s a quality player, but he’s average when comparing him to all of the other starting QBs in this league. To be fair, though, he didn’t have many weapons last season, which puts him at a disadvantage, especially when comparing his supporting cast to Cutler’s. Even so, Cutler has better physical tools, which can make all the difference in these discussions due to the greater upside that tools provide.

Tags: Alex Smith Jay Cutler Kansas City Chiefs

  • P Heitman

    Not true. Stop spreading bad rumors.

  • GDL40

    ” To be fair, though, he didn’t have many weapons last season ” …. sure our WR’s sucked, but if it wasn’t for J. Charles, and the deffense (the first half of the season) Alex wouldn’t have numbers nearly as good as the ones he did (which weren’t great in the first place).

    • P Heitman

      That’s like saying Peyton Manning would have had worse stats last year if he didn’t have Welker, J. Thomas, D. Thomas, Decker and Moreno….duh man. Good players around you make you better. Period. You’re kind of proving that point in your own comment….

      • GDL40

        HAHAHA ….. you mentioned FIVE offensive players, that are all really good, I mentioned ONE ! And just in case you are trying to defend little Alex, let’s put it like this, Peyton Manning would’ve had similar stats with our team, however, there’s no way in hell Smith would have Manning’s #’s of last year with that Denver team.. I know theres no way to prove it, but anybody that watches football knows that. And my point wasn’t that a QB ain’t shit without his receivers, my point was that this quote making excuses for Alex is ridiculous, and that JC made Alex, not the other way around. But your Manning example is wrong, because those receivers didn’t make Manning.

        • P Heitman

          You totally missed the point, idiot.

          • GDL40

            Let’s start the insults ! sign of intelligence ! I think YOU are the idiot who missed MY first point, but yet you had to stick your nose in it. Either way, I’m not the kind that is so immature to argue over a screen on the web and insult people that I have no idea if they are this or that, or what they are about, that makes you look pretty fuckin’ dumb and ignorant, Mr. ” know it all” . bottom line, Smith is not worth half of what these reports say whether they’re true or not. peace out !

          • P Heitman

            Good luck, hope you learn to read! :)

          • GDL40

            HAHAHA…..thanks ! Hope u grow up some day .

          • P Heitman

            You’re no fun. Hey when you find a logical argument as to how Alex Smith sucks because he has no supporting cast, let me know. I’d be interested to see what kind of garbage you come up with.

        • P Heitman

          You said:

          “sure our WR’s sucked, but if it wasn’t for J. Charles, and the defense (the first half of the season) Alex wouldn’t have numbers nearly as good as the ones he did (which weren’t great in the first place).” – This implied that the Chiefs only had ONE offensive weapon for Smith to work with. I made the point that Denver had FIVE weapons to work with. If Peyton didn’t have those 5 guys, he wouldn’t have had the season that he had. If Smith had more offensive weapons, he WOULD have. Learn to read and reason. You know nothing.

  • arnie

    Top tier money? For what?

    • trinity

      Exactly. He’s not worth even half that.