Chiefs fans, welcome to mediocrity.
With the trade of Alex Smith to the Washington Redskins, the Kansas City Chiefs have locked themselves into mediocrity for the foreseeable future.
On the back of another 10-win season, the Chiefs elected to trade starting quarterback Alex Smith to the Washington Redskins for cornerback Kendall Fuller and a third-round pick. Thus beginning the Patrick Mahomes era in Kansas City.
The problem? The Chiefs are trading a top-10 quarterback in return for a quarterback with one professional appearance.
The trade itself is a terrific deal for the Chiefs, getting a good corner to put on the opposite side of Marcus Peters as well as a third-round pick is terrific business. Not to mention freeing up $17 million in cap space.
But, it comes at the wrong time.
Since the Alex Smith era began in 2013, the Chiefs have only missed the playoffs once, coincidentally the only year the team had fewer than 10 wins. Now with Mahomes leading the offense, this team is destined for multiple 8-8 years while Mahomes gets games under his belt.
The Chiefs team is not built for that. It is built to win now.
On defense, Eric Berry is coming off an Achilles injury and it is uncertain if, at his age, he will fully recover. In addition, Peters and Fuller are both in the midst of their physical primes. Not to mention the entire pass rush is way past its prime.
Offensively, the line is not getting any easier and Travis Kelce can’t stay healthy. Tyreek Hill and Kareem Hunt are both relatively unproven as both of the dynamic playmakers only just burst on to the scene this past season.
If I were the general manager of the Chiefs, I would have re-signed Smith to the exact contract he got in Washington. Over the next three seasons, let Smith continue to try and break through as the Patriots get older and the Steelers implode.
At the end of the third year of Smith’s four-year contract, you hand the key to Mahomes. Mahomes will be in the same position as Jimmy Garoppolo is now in San Francisco, just finishing his fourth year learning from Tom Brady, one of the best quarterbacks in the league.
Peters will be at his peak physically as will Hill and Hunt. In this span, the Chiefs will have time to maneuver in whichever way the team wants. They can continue to build for the future with explosive players that fit Mahomes’ style.
Mahomes has potential but needs time to achieve it. By moving to Mahomes earlier, the Chiefs have cemented their place in the middle of the NFL.