We all found out today that the worst kept secret is as official as it can get until March 12th… That secret is that the Kansas City Chiefs have traded for QB Alex Smith. They are giving up this years second round selection (34 overall) and a conditional pick next year. So what kind of impact will this have on the Denver Broncos?
While on paper, this seems to be a slam dunk win for the Chiefs, a little perspective is in order. For starters, quarterbacks are generally not traded to another team to which they go on and have great success, especially not former starting quarterbacks still in their “prime.” When was the last time one of these trades really worked out, and once you tell me, ask yourself “man, how far back did I have to go in history to find this shining example?”
The quick answer is also the most obvious answer… Joe Montana! Joe Cool was traded from the San Franchisco 49ers to the Kansas City Chiefs back in 1993. That was 20 years ago. And although that move worked out of the Chiefs, it never netted them a championship; Not to mention that Joe Montana is still regarded as quite possibly the best QB in NFL history… What I’m trying to say is that it’s practically sacrilege to even mention Smith in the same article as Montana. So although we all might want to sound smart by bringing this up, lets try to refrain from using that particular instance as an example.
Recent history has Matt Schaub (career backup) being traded to the Houston Texans. It took a few years, but that move seems to be panning out. Another recent trade that worked out was the Seattle Seahawks trading for Matt Hasselbeck (career backup). Again, it took a few years, but that move worked out. But again, I”m struggling to find non-backup QB trades that were successful. We saw Brett Favre traded to the NY Jets, but that was a bust. We saw him traded from the Atlanta Falcons to the Green Bay Packers, but again, Favre wasn’t a starter when that trade took place. We saw John Elway, Eli Manning, and Phillip Rivers all traded, but they were traded in the offseason of their rookie year before they reported to any mini-camps, let alone played a game. We have seen quarterbacks that were cut/free agents have great success though. Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Kurt Warner, and heck, Brett Favre are but a few of these examples.
So what does this move really mean to the Broncos? It means that Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil are about to have career games against the Chiefs. Alex Smith is a sack machine. He has only started 2 full seasons in his seven year career. In those 2 seasons, he had 35 sacks (2nd year in league) and 44 sacks (2011 season). What I’m trying to say here is that Smith is like Knowshon Moreno…. He always gets hurt, and while he has flashes of greatness, he always finds a way to catch the lightening rail back to reality.
What else does this mean to the Broncos? Not much. While Smith is probably an upgrade over Matt Cassel, he certainly isn’t a “no brainer” upgrade. In Alex Smith’s best passing year (2011), he still only mustered up 3,144 yards. To put that into perspective, Smith passed for a whopping 73 more yards per game than Tim Tebow. To be fair to Smith, I should mention that he passed for 30TDs over the last 2 seasons…. you know, about the same amount of TDs that Peyton Manning gets after 13 games (ok, that wasn’t so nice… sue me). So when you take a step back from the hysteria and take a deep breath, you’ll see that this move will probably have minimal affect on the Denver Broncos, at least as long as Peyton Manning is under center. While I have no doubts that the Chiefs will never again have the #1 overall pick while Alex Smith is their starting QB, I also have very little doubt that the Chiefs will still only be the second or third best team in the AFC West as long as Alex Smith is under center.
Lets hear your comments below. Feel free to put me in my place with well thought out opinions.
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