It appears the Kansas City Chiefs think they have their franchise quarterback in Alex Smith. Jason Cole of the National Football Post is reporting that the Chiefs and Smith will try to come to terms to a contract extension before the beginning of the 2014 season.
The Kansas City Chiefs will try to extend the contract of quarterback Alex Smith this offseason be-fore he begins the final year of his current deal, a source said Wednesday.
Smith led the Chiefs as they went from 2-14 in 2012 to an 11-5 record and playoff appearance this season. He has one year left on a three-year deal he signed in 2012. The final year is worth $7.5 million, all of that in base salary, making Smith vastly underpaid compared to other quarter-backs of his experience and ability.
KC traded two second round picks to the 49ers in order to acquire Smith in March of 2013. That reason alone would make one think the Chiefs have an interest in re-signing Smith.
But there is a good reason to extend Smith because of his on-field performance as well. A deal makes a ton of sense for the Chiefs given Smith’s performance in the second half of the season and in the playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts. Smith set career records for yards passing, yards rushing, touchdown passes, and record his second lowest interception percentage for a season despite setting a career high in passes attempted. The continued improvement of the offense coupled with the type of scheme Reid likes to employ makes extending Smith a logical move.
What Smith will command in an extension is tough to figure out. Cole notes that Smith is underpaid given “his experience and ability” and notes Jay Cutler recently signed an extension worth $126.7 million with $54 million guaranteed. But Smith is not the statistical calibre of quarterback that Cutler is, which tends to weigh heavily into contract negotiations. It is hard to think that given Smith’s statistical body of work and the Chiefs salary cap issues that Smith’s extension would even come close to the $54 million Cutler was guaranteed.
Smith’s current deal, which was signed after the 2011 season with the San Francisco 49ers, was worth three-years, $24 million. Comparing his numbers from that season to this season is quite interesting.
2011: 61.3 completion percentage, 3,144 yards, 17 touchdowns, 5 interceptions, 90.7 QB rating, 45.77 QBR
2013: 60.6 completion percentage, 3,313 yards, 23 touchdowns, 7 interceptions, 89.1 QB rating, 49.43 QBR
It would seem that a steep upgrade in contract value won’t be coming Smith’s way. While he has more of a history of success now than what he did after the 2011 season, he is also two years older and will be 30 when the 2014 season starts. There’s no doubt Smith will get some kind of raise, but it seems his raise won’t be too significant.
However, an extension could help relieve some salary cap strain for the Chiefs in 2014. Estimates have the Chiefs at around $120 million in used cap space for 2014, with an estimated salary cap somewhere between $123 and $126 million. None of KC’s committed $120 million includes any of the Chiefs pending free agents. All of Smith’s $7.5 million salary counts against the cap in 2014, so a restructuring of his deal may help open up some space to re-sign a few guys or make a run at some secondary help in the offseason.