If this is indeed Alex Smith’s final season in Kansas City, he’s certainly making it count.
The veteran quarterback has looked like a different player in his 12th professional campaign, subverting his game-manager reputation with 9.8 yards per pass attempt. In wins against the Patriots and Eagles, he threw five touchdown passes — a third of his 2016 total — and did so with interceptions. In short, Smith looks like a former No. 1 overall pick.
But the last time he put up career numbers, Smith lost his starting job. Less than five years ago, he was part of a 49ers squad that would eventually reach the Super Bowl. He started 10 games — then suffered a concussion and saw himself supplanted by second-year pro Colin Kaepernick.
The following February, the 49ers shipped him to Kansas City for a pair of second-round picks.
As good as he’s looked this September, Smith could very well find himself in a new city a few months from now. Patrick Mahomes arrived in Kansas City earlier this year as the No. 10 overall pick, and will inherit the franchise at some point in the near future.
Smith has a firm grip on the reins through the rest of this season, but he’s also due $17 million next year. If Mahomes develops quickly enough behind the scenes, Kansas City could try and flip Smith for additional assets.
The 33-year-old San Diego native has acknowledged the possibility. Before Kansas City traded up for Mahomes this year, it hadn’t drafted a quarterback in the first four rounds since 2006. The franchise may be coming off an AFC West title, but it also needed to plan for the future.
“I get it,” Smith said Tuesday. “If I were a GM — I mean, it’s … one of the most important, impactful positions in sports. You touch the ball every single play. You impact the game more than anybody. You’d be crazy not to stockpile talent.”
WHO’S COACHING KANSAS CITY?
Andy Reid may be the best active NFL head coach still without a Lombardi Trophy. First hired by the Eagles in 1999 despite his lack of coordinator experience, Reid, 59, has missed the playoffs only six times in 18 seasons. He has already worked his magic at Arrowhead Stadium. Before his arrival in 2013, Kansas City had reached the postseason three times in the past 15 years. Reid has matched that total already, and is gunning for a fourth appearance with what may be his most potent offense yet.
BY THE NUMBERS
- 355 — Yards from scrimmage by rookie Kareem Hunt, who has also scored five…