For the second day in a rowon the blog, we’re going to discuss the Chiefs and their desperate situation at the quarterback position.
A wise old man once told me that without a quarterback, you haven’t spent a dollar. Or something like that. I wasn’t really listening. But we all know that a quality NFL team is one with a quality, top-level quarterback. And the Chiefs don’t have one, nor is their one in the pipeline.
These are desperate times for the Chiefs as they are busy contemplating where to go in 2013 and beyond. And your friendly neighborhood blogger/columnist is here to offer some free advice. Because it’s Christmas.
I have three directions the Chiefs could take as they approach this fork in the road. I’m curious which you like best.
1) Sign a free agent - Sounds like a decent way to go, until you realize how thin the free-agent quarterback crop looks. Outside of Baltimore’s Joe Flacco, there’s not much there. I suppose Jason Campbell and Matt Moore could entice some teams, but mostly as back-ups. Some regard Flacco as one of the top five to 10 quarterbacks in the NFL. Others believe he has been fortunate to play on such a good defensive team in Baltimore for all of these years and that when he’s relied upon to produce big-time offense he often comes up short. I think Flacco would be a great fit in Kansas City, but the price could be exorbitant and I do not expect the Chiefs to be players for Flacco, whom I suspect will wind up back with the Ravens either with a new contract or with the franchise tag.
2) Make a trade – How much would the Chiefs have to give up to acquire, say, Alex Smith from the San Francisco 49ers? Or Kirk Cousins, the exciting rookie from the Washington Redskins? A willingness to make a deal would open up some potential avenues for the Chiefs in their pursuit of a quarterback, but it’s always difficult to give up what would be necessary to acquire a potential quarterback. Perhaps Smith could be had for less than a king’s ransom, though. He’s clearly on the way out in San Francisco. But there is probably some doubt in the mind’s of potential Smith suitors, including the Chiefs. Would he wind up being another version of Cassel? Smith had a very good season in 2012, leading the Niners to a sparkling record and to the NFC championship game. But if he was really a guy, why did San Fran coach Jim Harbaugh give up on him and hand the job to Colin Kaepernick a few weeks ago? I suppose Kansas City could lower its sights and go after Seattle back-up Matt Flynn, who was supposed to be the starter before the Seahawks drafted Russell Wilson. Are there other quarterbacks you think the Chiefs should pursue in a trade?
3) Draft a quarterback. It was telling to me as I was looking through the past five NFL drafts Monday that of the 59 quarterbacks
selected in the draft during that time frame, only one (Stanzi) was taken by the Chiefs. What’s going on here? Kansas City’s history with quarterback development has been sketchy, at best. But to virtually ignore the position in the draft makes no sense, especially considering the mostly shaky nature of the team in the past several seasons. But 2013 will present another chance for the Chiefs to pick a quarterback high in the draft. There’s just one problem – last year’s draft was the time to pick a quarterback. This time, the pickings are slim. USC quarterback Matt Barkley has dropped out of the first round on most of the draft boards, leaving West Virginia’s Geno Smith as the top QB prospect. There are evaluators who love Smith and others who believe he’s a bust waiting to happen. I’m with those who see good things for the Mountaineers’ quarterback, who has had a sensational senior season that has been somewhat overlooked because of West Virginia’s disappointment season void of defense.
So what would I do?
I’d take Geno Smith with the first-round choice, even if it’s No. 1, and I’d pursue a trade for Alex Smith because I think he’s the most expendable quarterback who could be on the market. Bring the Smith boys to camp in July and let them battle it out. Suddenly, the Chiefs have a quarterback who has taken a team to a conference championship game and a young, exciting quarterback who could develop into a special player. Geno Smith, though, has the feel of a quarterback who needs some time to develop. If the Chiefs could get a strong season or two out of Alex Smith during a rebuilding process, perhaps his understudy would be ready to take over.
There is some pie-in-the-sky to all of this, to be sure. But the Chiefs have to do something to address a glaring weakness. And they can’t really go anywhere until they do so.
It’s past time for Kansas City to find some answers at the quarterback position. The team’s fan base is fed up.