Nov 1, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; Kansas City Chiefs inside linebacker Jovan Belcher (59) on the ground after trying to tackle San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Mathews (not shown) during the third quarter at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

AFC West Fight – KC Chiefs On The Rise?


Once in a while it may be interesting to check out what your (division) rivals are doing. We already recapped the Denver Broncos‘ offseason moves and we also discussed the new quarterback situation in Oakland.

Now it´s time take a look at what the Kansas City Chiefs were able to do in the last few months to upgrade their roster.

Without a doubt, their No. 1 priority for this offseason was to address their field general position. And they did that already days before the new league year opened; the team worked out a deal with the San Francisco 49ers which made Alex Smith a Kansas City Chief. The Chiefs gave up a second round draft pick (34th overall) this year and a conditional third round pick in 2014.

Well the question is, what kind of impact will the former Niners´ signal-caller have in Kansas City?

With Alex Smith, not exactly a quarterback threat is entering the AFC West in my opinion. Although he was picked No. 1 overall in 2005 by the 49ers (over Aaron Rodgers(!) who was picked 24th overall), Smith had an awful start in San Francisco: one touchdown, 11 interceptions, and a passer rating of 40.8 over nine games – definitely no stats to be proud of. He did a better job in his second year but I guess it´s safe to say that, overall, he was a bust in his first five years in the National Football League. But then the Jim Harbaugh era found its way into Bay Area and started to make an impact in the NFL. And it showed that with great coaching, i.e. with a coach that accentuates what he does best, Smith can be a reliable force on the offense.

To sum it up: He started his tenure in San Francisco as a bust, but he leaves the team as a well-respected and solid passer – I guess it´s just accurate to call a record of 19-5-1 over the last two years “solid”.

Smith´s name is often used with the term “game manager” in one sentence. This means he isn´t considered to be the kind of big-play gunslinger-type of quarterback who´s going for the deep pass on a regularly basis; he doesn´t even have the arm strength to do that. He´s more of a methodical and calculating passer, trying to avoid turnovers and putting the ball to the right guy at the right time. In other words, he´s a guy who “does the little things very well.”

So don´t expect big plays from a KC quarterback next season (81 touchdowns in 80 games, never thrown more than 18 touchdowns per season; nothing “big” about that). Therefore I guess the Chiefs don´t consider Alex Smith to be their next franchise quarterback. But they did not address the position in this year´s draft, so they obviously see more in Smith than just a solid option for the next two years (he´ll be an UFA in 2015 though).

The Kansas City Chiefs also did a lot of business in the hours before the franchise tag deadline.

In March, the team and wide receiver Dwayne Bowe agreed on a five-year, $56 million deal with $26 million in guarantees. In the first three years of the new contract he will earn a staggering $36 million! This deal also made it possible to save up the franchise tag for another former first-rounder: left tackle Branden Albert – which means they are keeping him around for (at least) another year, at $9.828 million. As if that wasn´t enough, the Chiefs´ front office made Dustin Colquitt the highest-paid punter in NFL history, signing the veteran to a five-year contract worth $18.75 million, including $8.9 million in guaranteed money…Wow! With those moves, the Chiefs did exactly the opposite of what the Chargers have done in recent years: maintaining talent on the roster.

Besides adding some more free agents, like the cornerbacks Sean Smith and Dunta Robinson or wide receiver Donnie Avery, they also let some player personnel hit the streets. Defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey signed with the 49ers and the team cut their starting quarterbacks from last year Matt Cassel (now in Minnesota) and Brady Quinn (signed with the Seahawks). Another interesting move was the release of right tackle Eric Winston; who is still available in free agency.

Winston has been linked to the Chargers a couple of times this offseason; and with those unpleasant news (or rumors) that first round pick D.J. Fluker might not be able to play on the right end of the offensive line and maybe has to be moved inside, this talk could become reality again. But whatever, the release made sense, as it freed up $3.5 million in cap space and they owned the first overall pick in the draft, which they used on offensive tackle Eric Fisher.

Well, talking about their draft picks…aside from Eric Fisher there wasn´t a pick that got me impressed too much except for inside linebacker Nico Johnson. They grabbed him in the fourth round and was a solid value pick in my opinion. Johnson may struggle in pass defense but he is a good run-stuffing linebacker. He won´t be a future Pro-Bowler but with his good size and athleticism he should be able to compete for the starting job next to Derrick Johnson.

So, BoltFam, what do you expect from the Kansas City Chiefs in 2013? What will their offense be able to do next season with Alex Smith as their field general? Were those flurry moves right before the franchise tag deadline good decisions, or did they overpay Bowe, Colquitt and Albert? And finally the most important question: Will the Chargers be able to win more games than the Chiefs and thus maybe enter the playoffs? Just place your thoughts in the comments section below.

Thank you for checking out this piece.

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  • Cgoodness13

    They got a mediocre QB and coach and wasted their 1st round pick on a position already filled, they are not on the rise.

    • Ioane

      I would agree with you on the QB part, but I don’t think they wasted there pick.

      • Cgoodness13

        Well a RT at #1? Seems like a waist (fisher is moving to the right side)

        • boltingindiego

          but thats only for probably one year so he can get used to nfl speed. albert is only signed on for one year with the franchise tag.

          • Nick in PB

            That there is the truth, and a good plan! I only wish we had that option!

          • boltingindiego

            if it wasn’t for the saints pickin ahead of us in the 3rd i think we would be doing that this year with starks as the 1 year stop gap at lt and armstead for the future.

          • MC Boltman

            Yep! Thats about it…

        • MC Boltman

          Hmm talkin bout first round picks…Well I don´t want to be too negative on our draft selection…but you know what had been reported about Fluker…#justsayin

      • http://boltbeat.com/ Ernie Padaon

        Truth… That was the best selection there… I probably go Joeckel tho

        • NativeSanDiegan

          Me too. Actual production against the best D’s in college outweigh combine and senior bowl for me. The BPA at premium position andI liked Nico Johnson. But I personally believe Reid has always been a bit of an underachiever as a coach even with superior personnel. Don’t think they will do it on the field, especially right away with Smith and new personnel.

    • MC Boltman

      I agree that they paid a high price on Alex Smith…well it was bad year to be in need of a quarterback – but I expect them to compete with us for a wild card spot.

  • joerockt

    I think Smith benefited from a great coaching staff/team with the 49ers. I don’t see him having the same success here.

    • http://boltbeat.com/ Ernie Padaon

      Exactly! Not afraid of Smith

  • Ioane

    For some reason, the talking heads have been all over the Chiefs jock strap the last 3 years. Lets take last year for example, they were all in the Chiefs wagon saying they would win the division, the outcome? First pick in the draft.

    The Chiefs have made a lot of moves and spent a lot of money. I just don’t think they spent that money well.

    They have Smith who is an upgrade over Cassle, but not by much. I hate to make a bold and early statement, but I don’t see Alex having the type of success he had the last 2 years with the miners. The Chiefs are no where near the 9ers.

    Other than AlexSmith, there other big FA signing was Sean Smith, who Miami allowed to walk even though they play against Brady twice a year. IMO, that says something about him. Now he has to deal with Rivers and Manning twice a year.

    I see them improving to 3rd place in the division, right above Oakland.

    • MC Boltman

      Nice little place there at 3rd…would be fine with me :) But I agree, there had been great expectations last year, but they just stank…we´ll see, at least I think the games vs. KC are gonna be tougher than last year..

  • boltingindiego

    for kc to succeed on offense is to run the ball and have solid protection for smith which on paper looks like they can do it. Their secondary is the weak link on d last year and if that unit improves then they have a solid d. I see them battling 2nd with us.

    • MC Boltman

      Great analysis. Guess they have the protection for Smith and they upgraded their secondary…two very solid pick ups in FA and a good value pick in the fifth round. I expect a much improved KC team in 2013 (but then again…how much more can you suck than 2-14?…ups *season 2000 flashback*…)

  • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

    I’m not sold on Smith being a great QB, but that game in the playoffs where he got into a shootout with Brees, and won was THRILLING! I remember watching it in an L.A. taco shop and thinking “DAMN son”!!!
    He made moves toward shedding the game-manager title there. I don’t think he is elite, or even close.. but, we won’t have it as easy as we did with Cassel. Having said that, I am with loane… I am over the “The Chiefs are going to be much better this year” talk. We were better than them (again) and we were handicapped by Norv, and AJ. We will beat them out.

    • MC Boltman

      Ha, that´s just fine with me – Let´s beat them out :) Yeh, but I see it the same way…Smith is no QB threat, but in the right system and with good protection he can be able to lead a team..we´ll see

      • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

        Agreed.
        Andy may not be the coach he once was.. but, he has had a lot of success with QB’s.. he can make even the bad ones look pretty decent.. But, with KC, I’m still thinking we pull off the Sah-WEEEEEEEP…. hahahaha

        • MC Boltman

          Haha…let´s do it – I´m all for it :)

  • Rob Base

    That’s just a bunch of horseshit as my gramps would say. 9ers coaches and players made Smith ok. But now it’s Reid coaching with some good players if they can stay healthy. D is only thing I’m worried about if secondary is better. Offense seems to have injury bug. I say they get 3rd place. Bolts and Donkeys duke it out.

    • MC Boltman

      horseshit? Hope you´re not talkin bout the article :) Well, if you think they get 3rd place, then they you´re actually saying they are “on the rise”…cause how much lower you can get than being dead last in a 32 team league? Not much I´d say :)

      • Rob Base

        Not dissing article at all bro. Just saying I’m not believing the KC hype.

        • MC Boltman

          haha..actually I know what you meant…yeh, well KC is pretty good on paper, but what counts is what they do on the field…we´ll see whether or not Reid was able to make the team better

  • Alter Ego

    We concede nothing ! On paper KC looks ready to deliver some whup ass. On paper the Bolts were Super Bowl bound for years. This year is all about change – this year we battle. The AFC West just became a tough out again – if your going to be a bear be a Grizzly. A super bowl champ has to rise from the best. We ain’t afraid to beat up KC – it has to be done.

    • Alter Ego

      Nice article MC. KC is loaded. It’s gonna be a fight.

      • Nick in PB

        Agreed!

        • MC Boltman

          Thank you too….

      • MC Boltman

        Thanks! Much appreciated! Yeh, the AFC West is improving…but so are the Bolts! #boltup

    • NativeSanDiegan

      TRUTH!!!

  • Nick in PB

    As a team, they improved a lot by getting rid of Crennel. Just like we did by shedding the loose skin of Norv Turnover! They will be better and they will be better with Smith as their QB. Smith didn’t get very good mentoring his first few years in the league. Nothing solid until Harbaugh got there. He’ll be fine in that offense. U doubt they are going to give away games like last year… then again, I doubt the Chargers will either!

    • MC Boltman

      Yeah, agreed – I think Chiefs games will be tougher this time…but we´re standing strong too! #GoBolts

  • Alter Ego

    At the beginning of the year lots of teams are loaded – hell, every time I change my granddaughter’s diaper its loaded too. Most of the time its a lot of crap. There can be only one. Go Bolts

  • Dion Chin

    Every year analysts say the Chiefs are gonna be an improved team and every year they prove them wrong. I am never worried about the Chiefs or Raiders lol.

    • MC Boltman

      Yeh, in 2010 our special teams performances allowed them to succeed and enter the playoffs…hope they won´t do it this time – ahh I´m confident for this season.