Posted on January 6, 2018, by Bryan Zarpentine

Kansas City Chiefs Alex Smith

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The NFL playoffs are yet to begin but there’s already chatter about what to expect during the offseason. The quarterback position figures to be a focal point of the offseason. All eyes figure to be on Kirk Cousins of the Redskins and Eli Manning of the Giants, not to mention all the quarterbacks available in the draft. However, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith could also end up being a prominent figure during the spring and summer months.

Hours before the Chiefs kicked off against the Tennessee Titans in the Wild Card Round, there are reports that the team is open to trading Smith. Reports indicate that the Chiefs won’t actively shop him. However, they would be interested in listening to other teams. If teams believe he’s available, there should be quite a few giving the Chiefs a call.

Kansas City’s willingness to trade Smith appears to be driven by the presence of rookie Pat Mahomes. The Chiefs traded up to take Mahomes 10th overall in last year’s draft. He stayed on the bench until getting the start in a meaningless Week 17 game against the Broncos. The Chiefs won the game with Mahomes completing 22 of 35 passes for 284 yards. The rookie from Texas Tech led an 11-play, 67-yard drive to set up the game winning field goal as time expired.

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Obviously, there’d be some risk in trading Smith to open the door for a quarterback with one career start. During his five seasons in Kansas City, Smith has been to the Pro Bowl twice and led the Chiefs to the playoffs four times. However, the Chiefs are high on Mahomes and have a head coach in Andy Reid who could continue to develop the young quarterback. Also, Smith is set to be a free agent after the 2018 season. Trading him now could give the Chiefs a couple extra draft picks to help build around Mahomes.

Of course, since the Chiefs aren’t in a rush to trade Smtih, they’ll be able to hold out for an enticing offer, perhaps taking advantage of a quarterback-needy team. The Bills, Browns, Broncos, Cardinals, Jaguars, Jets, and Vikings could all be in the market for an experienced quarterback. The Redskins and Giants could also be added to that list depending on what happens with Cousins and Manning.

Even with Cousins and a couple other viable quarterbacks available in free agency and several noteworthy available in the draft, several teams could inquire about Smith. Given Smith’s consistency, playoff-caliber teams that feel they are capable of reaching the Super Bowl may favor him over drafting a rookie. If the Chiefs can just get two or three teams with genuine interest in Smith, they may be able to drive the price up and find good value in a trade.

According to the reports, it could take the Chiefs reaching the Super Bowl to persuade them to hold onto Smith. Kansas City is certainly an intriging team in the AFC playoffs. But they are far from favorites to advance to the Super Bowl. Barring something unforeseen, the Chiefs trading Smith appears to be the most likely scenario this offseason, adding an interesting wrinkle to an offseason that will already be heavily focused on quarterbacks.

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