It was recently reported by Adam Schefter ESPN Senior Writer that the Kansas City Chiefs will listen to trade offers in 2018 for their starting passer Alex Smith. Now Niners Live is here to provide the reasons why the San Francisco 49ers should bring Alex Smith back to the Red and Gold.
Alex Smith, the career recap
Alex Smith’s career had a slow start after being drafted by the 49ers first overall in the 2005 NFL Draft. His growth was stunted by constant changes at head coach, offensive coordinator and wide receiver. Smith found his stride at the end of the 2011 season; since then he has the third most wins in the NFL. He was traded to the Chiefs in 2013 when the team decided Colin Kaepernick was the future franchise quarterback. Now that the Chiefs have first-round pick quarterback Patrick Mahomes II, Smith’s days in Kansas City are numbered.
Career Stats: 28,620 passing yards, 62.0 completion percentage, 164 touchdowns, 91 interceptions and an 86.2 passer rating. 2,111 rushing yards, 4.4 ypc, and 13 touchdowns. 82-56-1 win/loss record. Two Pro Bowls.
Important to note: Smith signed a contract extension of 4 year, $68,000,000 with the Kansas City Chiefs within the last couple of years.
Smith lost his starting position because he missed games due to a concussion, not because of poor play on his part. The week before getting injured, he went 18-19 for 232 yards and three touchdowns versus the Arizona Cardinals. His completion percentage of 94.7 in that game is an NFL record with a minimum of 15 attempts.
Since the start of the 2012 season, Smith has led his teams, 49ers and Chiefs, to winning seasons, division titles, and playoff wins. In fact, in his last 28 starts, he is 24-4, which is the best quarterback winning percentage since week seven of the 2015 season. Smith has mastered the finer details that lead to victories. He plays the game cerebrally and can truly play the chess game at the line of scrimmage with defenses (being able to consistently make the right adjustments based on the defense).
He has fought through adversity, and is playing the best ball of his career to start the 2017 season, in three games he has completed 65 of 84 passes, 77.4 pct., 774 yards, seven touchdowns, zero interceptions and a passing rating of 134.1 (via ESPN.com). The Chiefs are currently 3-0. The 49ers need a leader like Smith running the offense.
The critiques state that Smith is an average signal caller, who is a game manager, only throws check downs, and doesn’t have the arm strength to stretch defenses. It is true that he plays cautiously with the ball, but is that really a bad thing? Smith doesn’t throw costly interceptions, or throw into double or triple coverage. He can also hurt defenses with his feet and knows when to use his wheels to convert critical first downs. Simply put, his play doesn’t sabotage his team’s chances of winning.
In week one versus the New England Patriots, he silenced those doubters by throwing the ball accurately downfield, and showing he won’t be shy this season dropping dimes downfield to his playmakers Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, Kareem Hunt and the rest of the Chiefs’ skilled players. Smith led the Chiefs to a 42-27 victory over the defending Super Bowl champions in their own house (video/highlights). His stat line versus the Bill Belichick coached Patriots; 28-35 for 368 yards with four touchdowns and zero interceptions. Put some respect on his name, already!
Fitting into Shanahan’s offense
Kyle Shanahan will be the coach of the San Francisco 49ers for the foreseeable future. Shanahan’s offense last year ranked number one with the Atlanta Falcons, he is considered an offensive genius (via/per Bleacher Report).
Smith would excel in Shanahan’s version of the west coast offense. Smith is currently running a version of that offense with the Chiefs. The one positive of him having numerous offensive coordinators is that he has been exposed to all the major offenses, and will be able to easily master Shanahan’s playbook
Smith is also very intelligent, he graduated college in two years and recorded a very high NFL combine wonderlic test score. Chiefs’ head coach, Andy Reid, has given Smith complete control of his offense’ something Reid has never done with previous signal callers.
Alex will allow Shanahan to unleash his entire offense on defenses with Smith under center. He can handle all the line adjustments in the pass and run game, audible into better plays, is extremely accurate in the short and intermediate passing game, mobility to extend plays with his feet, and has added the deep ball to his game.
The 49ers failed to score a touchdown in their first two games, and then came to life with five against the Los Angeles Rams in a hard fought 41-39 loss. Smith has seven touchdown passes in the three games while posting a 77.4 completion percentage as aforementioned through this 2017 NFL season. Hoyer played a good game, but threw an interception his first throw of the game which led to seven quick points for the Rams. Brian Hoyer has thrown three interceptions and lost a fumble, Smith has zero turnovers.
It should be Noted: The 49ers’ offense was gifted a short field three times due to two special-teams turnovers, and a natural zone infraction by the Rams on an attempted punt attempt by the 49ers. This led to 17 points.
Would you pick Brian Hoyer over Alex Smith?
Since Alex left the 49ers four seasons ago, the team has had one playoff appearance. The Chiefs have had three. He is also playing in arguably the toughest division in the league, the AFC West, which includes the Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders, and Los Angeles Chargers. The Chiefs won the AFC West in 2016.
Key Stat: The 49ers’ record since he was traded is: 27-40.
Why the 49ers should consider trading for Alex Smith in 2018
Trading for Smith would give the team a real shot to compete in the division. His contract ends in 2019, the team could resign him or replace him with a third-round pick, C.J. Beathard, or a quarterback they draft. Smith will be 35 at the end of his contract, with a lot left in the tank. Trading for Smith will benefit the 49ers’, both present and future. He will be a great mentor to pick C.J. Beathard or any other quarterback the team adds in the future. Smith is not selfish and won’t hesitate to share his knowledge of the game with his understudies. The team has offensive weapons at all skill positions, accompanied by a proven scheme. It just needs the right ring master to distribute the ball effectively. That ringmaster is; Alex Smith!
Brian Hoyer’s play in the first two weeks of the season is blatant evidence that he is not the franchise’s franchise quarterback. The team must look to upgrade the position next offseason, and if Smith is on the market, they would be wise to bring him back to his home state of California. Smith will give them a top-tier quarterback who is ready to win now, and a source of knowledge for a young understudy quarterback. Smith, in Shanahan’s offense, has the potential to lethal. That’s a lot of mental fortitude running the offense. Only good things can come from that. He has unfinished business in a Red and Gold jersey; winning a Super Bowl. That is why the 49ers should trade for Smith in 2018, so he can finish what he started in the 2012 season.
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All records, statistics, and accolades are courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.com, Pro Football Focus, 49ers.com, ESPN.com, NFL.com unless otherwise indicated. Author Jimi Payne Staff Writer at Niners live. Co-Author, Content Creator, Editor, Sequoia Sims