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Impasse lingers between Alex Smith, Chiefs

Smith AP

The Chiefs ultimately gave up a pair of second-round picks to get quarterback Alex Smith.  They may not be willing to give up a ton of cash to keep him.

Smith tells Tom Pelissero of USA Today that the first overall pick in the 2005 draft isn’t interested in a contract with the same structure as the deals signed this year by 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton.

Asked whether Smith, who turned 30 earlier this year, would sign Dalton’s six-year, $96 million extension with $18 million in escalators that pays out $25 million over the first two years and then becomes a year-to-year proposition, Smith basically said no.  But with more words.

“That’s a tough question,” Smith said.  “Certainly, I think it’s a tough thing.  I look at both Andy and Kap and they’re both on their rookie deals.  They’re both second-round picks in the new rookie wage scale, so what were their salaries?  It’s a very different situation for me.  This whole new rookie wage scale, with these young guys getting re-upped, it’s kind of a different element, because they’re in a far different situation than the guys used to be.  If you were an early pick, it used to be your contract was top-tier anyway.  It’s different to kind of mix the two.”

Smith is right.  Though he’s not trading in the final year of his pre-2011 first-round rookie deal, he’s due to make $7.5 million this year.  Kaepernick and Dalton were scheduled to make $1 million.  Smith also has made plenty of money; a big but not huge payday doesn’t have the same appeal for him.

Moreover, Smith is represented by Tom Condon of CAA, whose firm represents franchise quarterbacks like Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Eli Manning, Matthew Stafford, Tony Romo, Sam Bradford, and Matt Ryan.  With CAA client Robert Griffin III in the pipeline for a new contract and Eli Manning closing in on the last two years of his second contract, Condon surely hopes to end this new trend of quarterbacks receiving modest signing bonuses and carrying the risk of injury and/or ineffectiveness after only one or two years of the deal.

If Smith is willing to carry the injury risk through 2014, he’ll gain plenty of leverage come January.  The Chiefs then will have to decide whether to apply the franchise tag at $17 million or more — or whether to let Smith hit the market and flip the switch to Aaron Murray, who’ll make a mere $510,000 next season.

Dollar for dollar, Murray could be the better choice, especially if coach Andy Reid can get the most out of Murray, like Reid has done with every other quarterback with whom he has worked.  For Smith, someone will offer him a large chunk of money, since there simply aren’t enough good quarterbacks to fill 32 depth charts in the NFL.

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41 Responses to “Impasse lingers between Alex Smith, Chiefs”
  1. sdsupersean says: Aug 9, 2014 8:23 PM

    Smith is better than Kaepernick , hands down. Dalton has a higher ceiling, but a much lower floor. With so many teams lacking consistency at QB, he’s cashing in big next year. In KC or elsewhere.

  2. thestrategyexpert says: Aug 9, 2014 8:29 PM

    Well if they screw this up by overpaying Smith, or losing out on him, then at least they have Aaron Murray on a well-controlled cost and a chance for redemption. He’s young and unproven, except in the art of making big plays happen.

  3. ctiggs says: Aug 9, 2014 8:33 PM

    #Kapistheman #smithisaBUST

  4. theseekeroffun says: Aug 9, 2014 8:35 PM

    All Alex has done is to do everything asked of him. He did not get a fair chance in SF with numerous OC’s. He has done an admirable job in KC, pay him.

  5. rover3001 says: Aug 9, 2014 8:39 PM

    The author talks about Aaron Murray as if he’s going to be around for certain. He is a 5th-round pick, and the reality is that he may not even make the team. Chances are Murray is the Chiefs’ 3rd or 4th best QB.

  6. jimthebuilder27 says: Aug 9, 2014 8:43 PM

    Better than Kaepernick, and he’s a better person too.

  7. bamboozle99 says: Aug 9, 2014 8:45 PM

    He still is the most expensive checkdown artist in the league.

  8. Steeler Nation is so far above you and your lowly franchise. We built this league. Pittsburgh's three rivers are made from the tears of our opponents. Bow to your supreme overlords. says: Aug 9, 2014 8:47 PM

    Many other game mangers out there.

  9. unbridledsexy says: Aug 9, 2014 8:50 PM

    KC would be stupid to give up Smith. He is the best QB they’ve had since Trent Green. That being said there is nothing wrong with KC sitting back and making sure he can do it one more season before spending the money.

  10. youngosays says: Aug 9, 2014 8:53 PM

    of course he wants more guranteed money. His rookie contract basically paid him millions for being a bust

  11. crappygovernment says: Aug 9, 2014 8:56 PM

    Go play in the canadian mormon league!

  12. dirk504 says: Aug 9, 2014 9:00 PM

    Better than Kap? The same Kap who’s led the 9ers 2 a Super Bowl and NFC championship game in 1 1/2 seasons? Lol Smith had plenty of chances with a loaded 9er roster. He should be thanking Harbaugh from KC to Santa Clara.

  13. thefirstsmilergrogan says: Aug 9, 2014 9:05 PM

    to the guy who says alex has done everything they asked, my guess is they asked him to win that playoff game last year….

  14. rainponcho87 says: Aug 9, 2014 9:08 PM

    SF fan here who thinks Smith now pretty good but we suffered through years of him learning his craft. Very very few QBs are given so many chances. He got pretty lucky, he came out under the old rookie deals, made a lot of money, got chance after chance because he was the #1 pick, and now he is decent so can command a lot of money in a QB driven league.

  15. wolff111 says: Aug 9, 2014 9:09 PM

    He can dream only to be at Kap’s level. Week 5 he’ll have a rude awakening

  16. phlockar says: Aug 9, 2014 9:10 PM

    Glorified game manager. He shouldn’t expect an elite QB type contract

  17. packerbackernj says: Aug 9, 2014 9:11 PM

    The whole AFC West got meatballs for schedules last year. This is a mediocre division at best. Paying him what he wants is insane, Kyle Orton could play the same for far cheaper.

  18. mrwalterisgod says: Aug 9, 2014 9:14 PM

    As a Seahawks fan, I WISH the Niners still had Alex Smith. Kaepernick’s ceiling is so much higher.

    If the Chiefs give in and pay him $20 million + per season, they WILL regret it.

  19. fmwarner says: Aug 9, 2014 9:15 PM

    Everyone saying Smith is better than Kaepernick needs to be drug tested.

  20. jredshoes says: Aug 9, 2014 9:41 PM

    We must be getting close to an agreement because everyone is reporting on negotiations they have no real knowledge of. Both sides using the media to send messages to the other and before the season both Smith and Houston will see their extensions

  21. haleyistheman00 says: Aug 9, 2014 9:45 PM

    Tyler Bray before Murray

  22. gbatap says: Aug 9, 2014 9:48 PM

    When he was on his old style #1 overall deal and underperforming I don’t remember Alex offering to give money back to the niners.

  23. pittsburghdamned says: Aug 9, 2014 9:48 PM

    Kaepernink should be a 3rd down receiver.

    I would never choose a QB who looks & acts like a 13 yr old kid who still thinks hip hop is cool

  24. greengoldandbold says: Aug 9, 2014 10:05 PM

    If I were Andy Reid, I’d be playing Aaron Murray a lot this preseason. It would get a point across that they have options, provided he plays well, and 2. you need to know what you have at QB if Smith goes FA.
    He’s not a $20 mil QB. Maybe $15 mil tops.

  25. bubbybrisket says: Aug 9, 2014 10:14 PM

    Steeler Nation is so far above you and your lowly franchise. We built this league. Pittsburgh’s three rivers are made from the tears of our opponents. Bow to your supreme overlords. says:
    Aug 9, 2014 8:47 PM

    Many other game mangers out there.

    ——————————–

    Like Big Ben…

  26. largent80100 says: Aug 9, 2014 10:27 PM

    Middle of the pack deal (which is 9-12 million/year today) lasting 3-4 years wouldn’t be bad for KC.

    But this impasse will last longer than expected considering KC’s current cap situation, and they need to sign Houston too.

  27. wtfchiefs says: Aug 9, 2014 10:50 PM

    Smith does his best, but I don’t think he’s done enough to deserve a big payday. It’s fun to root for a player like him though.

    Kaepernick is a tool. He hangs his head far too much on the field but has major twitter bravado and likes to tell everyone about his neat tattoos.

    One is likeable, one is not. One is, by all accounts, a team player with limited arm strength and questionable decision making.
    The other has freakish athletic ability, great arm strength, and uses words like “haters” to motivate him but craps his pants when the chips are down.

    But frankly speaking, I don’t think the Chiefs nor the 49ers have a QB here that will ever win a Lombardi though. If you could somehow combine them though, you’d have one heck of a quarterback.

  28. michaeldgonzales says: Aug 9, 2014 11:59 PM

    This guys nothing but a bum. You guys are trippin thinking he’s even near Kaps league. What game are you watching? Must be the right shade for you. Anyway they need to let him walk because as you guys will see he will have an average season and lose early in the playoffs. That’s even if they make it there. Get a grip when you compare guys. Kaps already way above Smith and he’s only going to get better.

  29. mschurm1 says: Aug 10, 2014 12:05 AM

    Smith was sensational in the championship game. Nobody was beating the Giants that day.

  30. rainponcho87 says: Aug 10, 2014 1:51 AM

    which Kaepernick are you watching? Craps his pants when the chips are down? The dude has a winning playoff record, and most of those games have been on the road. Hasn’t won it all, but he nearly won the Super Bowl and that was his 10th start in the NFL. Only the household names of Vince Ferragamo and Jeff Hostetler had fewer starts prior to playing in a Super Bowl. Last season, he came wisper close to beating Seattle in Seattle, the team that went on to destroy the AFC representative.

  31. 4thandlonger says: Aug 10, 2014 2:19 AM

    Chiefs can’t win a superbowl paying Alex Smith 18+million a year. That’s my opinion. That kind of spending means you either have to save money on defense (which they can’t do as they will need a quality defense) or save money on offense on the line, receivers or running backs. I think they need a power running game and line to win with Smith and could go with cheap receivers but you need someone who can catch it.

    But if you don’t pay Smith you chancing that you find the next Wilson, Dalton or Kap in the draft wher eyou could find the next Blaine Gabbert or Ponder.

    I wish some of these athletes like Smith would take a pay cut (compared to max value) and enjoy winning some big games. That’s how you give yourself a legacy. Smith might retire with 100million but no legacy where he could sign a Dalton deal and retire with 80million but as a KC hero who won some play off games there.

  32. mitchem85 says: Aug 10, 2014 2:37 AM

    Why would you give up two second round draft picks and not sign the guy? He took them to the playoffs and had an outstanding game. If the rest of the team had played like smith, they would probably have been in the SB.

    If someone is “going to pay him anyways” then the chiefs should have no issue signing him, see if Murray develops and if he does, trade smith to one of the so-called teams that would sign Smith if he hit FA. You’re hedging your beta if Murray doesn’t pan out.

    Even a 3rd or 4th round pick would be better than just letting him walk. Whatever contract the chiefs and Smith would agree on, I’m sure another team wouldn’t mind picking up that tab if he were put on the trade block.

    I’m not even a chiefs fan and this makes no sense to me..

  33. joetoronto says: Aug 10, 2014 6:27 AM

    The Chiefs made their bed by putting Smith in a system that makes him look better than he is.

    He’s an average QB with a soft arm that throws one 5 yard after another.

  34. Stiller43 says: Aug 10, 2014 8:15 AM

    The definition of average – sure he doesnt turn it over, but he also doesnt make big plays either. He only wins when he has outstanding defense

  35. talkingfan says: Aug 10, 2014 8:16 AM

    I’m not a 49ers fan, but I would much rather have KAP than Smith not close

  36. katydogs1 says: Aug 10, 2014 9:28 AM

    COMP ATT C% YDS YD/A TD INT SAK YDG

    1 292 473 61.7 3,379 7.14 24 13 43 211

    2 308 508 60.6 3,313 6.52 23 7 39 221

    Here are 2 QB stat lines very similar but one is considered a “game manager” and the other is considered a “stud”. QB1 is over 16 games Qb2 is 15 games. Here are rushing stats for a total comparison

    1 ATT 111 YDS 585 AVG 5.3

    2 ATT 76 YDS 431 AVG 5.7

    QB1 is Cam Newton QB2 is Alex Smith

  37. nookers says: Aug 10, 2014 9:58 AM

    a bust that won 13 games last year .. sure people.

    sign the guy or trade him to buffalo for EJ Manual and a couple jerseys.

  38. chuckxx says: Aug 10, 2014 10:20 AM

    Smith is not better than Kap. If he were he would still be a 49er. He is not a top 5 QB. Couldn’t hold a candle to Peyton, Drew, or Tom B. At best he would fall somewhere between 12 and 18.

  39. harshedmellow says: Aug 10, 2014 11:07 AM

    Interesting conundrum for the Chiefs. Smith is a classy guy who won a ton of games last year and, as pointed out already, played an excellent playoff game. And, he’s the very definition of an athlete who’s managed to improve and grow incrementally. Which bodes well for the next few years. Much like an NBA power forward who’s game is built on positioning and smarts, rather than raw athleticism, Smith’s game should also continue to improve as he progresses through his prime years here.

    BUT, if you pay him top dollar, you hamstring your team, and he needs some elite talent around him.

    Hopefully he takes 14/15 per with a contract structure that gives him some security. Seems about right. He seems like someone you could trust to not change much, for better or worse, over the next few years.

  40. 1topprospect says: Aug 10, 2014 12:24 PM

    Insane to sign an okay QB to a HOF contract. Chiefs’ fans are so accustom to awful QB play they would want the chiefs to spend any amount to keep a mediocre QB. He’s thrown for over 3000 yards twice in 10 years!!!! Come back to earth people. Dalton has 3 3000 yard seasons in 3 years. That’s perspective. If smith was elite he would have reached elite status 7 years ago. Bye bye smith

  41. dalcow4 says: Aug 10, 2014 12:35 PM

    Better hang onto him, KC. He isn’t great but is pretty good– and he will get paid big time with or without you.

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