Kansas City Chiefs: Alex Smith playing in a contract year

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports /

The Kansas City Chiefs have Alex Smith under contract until 2019, but the veteran quarterback will treat this year like it is his last in KC.

When the Kansas City Chiefs traded up to draft Pat Mahomes in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft, the writing on the wall was clear. Mahomes became the quarterback of the future, which leaves no room on the roster for current quarterback Alex Smith in the long run. The Chiefs have Smith under contract until 2019, but he’s approaching this year like it’s his last.

The Chiefs addressing the quarterback position with a first round pick has been a long time coming…34 years to be exact. On top of that, the KC leadership was very open with Alex Smith about their plans this year. So it came as no surprise to Smith when the team selected Pat Mahomes.

However, the general consensus of the pundits, not to mention the word from the KC leadership, is that Mahomes is going to need time to develop. That means Alex Smith is still the starting quarterback in Kansas City for now.

In all actuality, Smith could be the quarterback in 2018 as well. However, the veteran signal caller is not expecting that. Alex Smith recently told reporters that he doesn’t seen the Chiefs as being committed to him beyond this year. That means Smith is playing in what is called a “contract year”.

Money Changes Things

Alex Smith approaching this season like it is a contract year is good news for Chiefs fans. When their financial future is on the line, NFL players tend to kick it up a notch. That was certainly the case for Smith in 2013 when he had the best season of his career to earned a contract extension in Kansas City.

Related Story: Kansas City Chiefs: Alex Smith Is A Great Mentor For Pat Mahomes

The quarterback market in the NFL is getting tighter these days. Reliable quarterbacks are tough to find. That means a guy like Alex Smith can really cash in via Free Agency. Smith has a further advantage in being owed a $14.5 million salary in 2018. That means even if the Chiefs trade him, he will still get a decent pay day.

All Good For Kansas City

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This is virtually a no-lose scenario for Kansas City…unless of course they are losing games. The better Alex Smith plays, the more value he has, which means a trade becomes more likely. Since the Chiefs have already accounted for Smith’s salary in 2018, they do not have to release him. If they do release him, it opens up a ton of salary cap space.

Meanwhile, the Chiefs should continue to win games as Alex Smith plays for his future. In fact, if Smith plays at his best to work for a new contract, KC could very well make a big run at the Super Bowl. In the eyes of most, the team missed out on their shot last year due to poor quarterback play.

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Ultimately, the current quarterback situation is one that offers a lot of promise to the Kansas City Chiefs. This is a truly unique situation for a team to be in. The Chiefs have plenty of options facing them. If Alex Smith approaches this season as a contract year, there is no telling what the outcome will be.