Chiefs start retooling with Smith trade
Every offseason is full of trades, signings and the NFL draft. However, this offseason began a little earlier than expected with a blockbuster move that took place before the Super Bowl.After getting bounced from the playoffs early once again, the Kansas City Chiefs informed the league that Pro Bowl quarterback Alex Smith was available via trade. Smith still had one year left on his contract, but the Chiefs felt it was time for a change. In the 2017 draft, the team traded up to the tenth overall selection to take Texas Tech University quarterback Patrick Mahomes II. Mahomes has been progressing really well and learned a great deal from Smith in 2017, so the Chiefs felt comfortable handing him the keys to their future. Smith’s future was thus placed in the hands of Kansas City’s front office. In a year where the draft class could see four or five first-round quarterbacks selected, and Kirk Cousins – the Washington Redskins franchise QB - possibly on the move as well, the Chiefs were unsure what the market would be for Smith. Right away they received their first offer, and it was from their division rival the Denver Broncos. The Broncos offered All-Pro cornerback Aqib Talib and a second-round pick. However, the Chiefs are aware of what Smith is still capable of, and did not want to trade him to a rival within their division. Shortly after, Kansas City sent Smith packing to another team. Out of seemingly nowhere, the Washington Redskins completed a deal to acquire Alex Smith from the Chiefs to be their new franchise quarterback. In return, the Chiefs acquired promising young cornerback Kendall Fuller and a third-round pick. The Redskins offered less than what the Broncos offered, but the Chiefs benefit more from keeping their division rival weaker. Amidst a quarterback controversy regarding Cousins’ contract, no one expected the Redskins to make this deal, much less make it this soon. Shortly after the deal, Alex Smith signed a four-year extension with Washington worth up to $94 million, $71 million of which is guaranteed. This almost certainly means that Cousins is on his way out of Washington, but there are still a bunch of possibilities for where he could end up. The Redskins could have easily signed Cousins to that same deal, but for some reason, they were ready to move on. Washington now has two options: franchise tag and trade Cousins, or let him go as an unrestricted free agent. In a trade for Cousins, the Redskins are most likely going to eat some of the money that comes with franchising him. With such a massive salary attached to Cousins, teams may stray away from trading for him, forcing those teams to draft a quarterback, or trade for a different QB, such as Teddy Bridgewater of the Minnesota Vikings, for a much lower price tag. The other option is to let Cousins go as a free agent and save the money they would have to pay out of his contract in a trade. Regardless of what the Redskins decide to do, there is a long list of teams interested in Cousins’ services. The top suitors for Cousins are the New York Jets, Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns, Arizona Cardinals, and the Broncos. Cousins has previously stated that he is open to playing for the Browns, but with the first and fourth pick in the draft, Cleveland might address its quarterback situation through the draft. The Jets are serious front runners to acquire Cousins as he hits the market, possibly landing their first franchise quarterback since Joe Namath. It will be interesting to see where Cousins winds up, but regardless, the offseason has started with a bang.