EDITOR'S NOTE: The San Francisco 49ers have agreed on a trade that will send quarterback Alex Smith to the Kansas City Chiefs, according to a Wednesday report by FOX Sports insider and NFL Network contributor Jay Glazer. Earlier this week -- before news of the agreement broke -- Adam Schein explained why Smith would be perfect for Kansas City. In the wake of this latest development, here is his take on why such a deal makes sense:
'Tis the season for the juicy rumor.
Over the weekend, CBS reported that the San Francisco 49ers were telling teams they had a deal worked out to trade quarterback Alex Smith, but the trading partner remained a mystery. My NFL.com colleagues Albert Breer and Ian Rapoport reported that Smith wouldn't be shipped to the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Cleveland Browns were also reportedly out of the running. Several other reports had Smith headed to the Kansas City Chiefs. On Monday night, the general manager of one quarterback-starved team told me via text message, "I think he's going to Kansas City."
Such a deal would make all the sense in the world for both the team and the player.
The Chiefs won two games during the 2012 season. If they trade for Smith, you can put them down for at least a six-game improvement. That's what happens when you trade for a winner, a leader, a great player.
You read that correctly.
This is not about indulging in hyperbole. I'm not merely reacting to a rather poor veteran quarterback market. In fact, I have used these words to describe Smith on NFL.com before.
I know I can win games with Alex Smith, both in the regular season and in the playoffs. I know Smith is battle-tested. He was drafted by the Niners with the No. 1 overall pick in 2005, drawing instant -- and unfair -- comparisons to Joe Montana and Steve Young. Smith didn't come close to living up to those expectations, but that wasn't entirely his fault. In addition to dealing with injury issues, Smith had to adjust to a new offensive coordinator and a new offense every year. Such constant change would negatively affect any quarterback. Even when coping with the irrational behavior of former coach Mike Singletary, Smith acted like a pro. He can handle adversity.
In Kansas City, Smith would enjoy great coaching and stability, two things he clearly benefited from after Jim Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Greg Roman arrived in San Francisco in 2011. During his first season with Harbaugh and Roman, Smith threw just five picks. Perhaps even more impressive was the fact that he threw a pick on just 1.1 percent of his throws, best in the league. Smith led the Niners to four fourth-quarter comeback wins that season, tying a franchise record held by some guy named Montana.
Haters would say Smith was merely a game-manager that year. While it's true that San Francisco had a great defense and run game, Smith threw for 3,144 yards. Ask the New Orleans Saints if Smith was acting like a game-manager when he carved them up in a showdown with Drew Brees in the divisional round of the 2011 playoffs. Smith finished that victory with gigantic, strong, clutch fourth-quarter throws. If Kyle Williams hadn't fumbled against the New York Giants, Smith would have reached Super Bowl XLVI. And I think he would've beaten the New England Patriots.
Smith followed up on that season by completing 70.2 percent of his passes in 2012. Before suffering a concussion and -- rightly -- losing his job to the more talented Colin Kaepernick, Smith beat Aaron Rodgers and the Packers in Green Bay, outshined Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions on national television and beat the rival Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals in back-to-back weeks.
Kaepernick gives San Francisco a different dimension with his ability to both run and throw. He's better than Smith. That's not up for debate. But I believe the Niners still absolutely could have been a Super Bowl team in 2012 with Smith playing every game.
Tony Romo just finished what was, in my opinion, the best regular season he's ever had with the Dallas Cowboys. Matt Schaub just notched his first postseason victory with the Houston Texans. Stafford and the Chicago Bears' Jay Cutler are immense talents. Andy Dalton has led the Cincinnati Bengals to the playoffs twice in two years. But ask yourself this: During those big fourth-quarter moments, would you take any of these quarterbacks over Alex Smith?
The Chiefs were horrible last season, but they aren't talent-poor. They have weapons on offense. They have players with untapped potential on defense.
Critics like to point out that new Chiefs coach Andy Reid couldn't win the big one when he was with the Philadelphia Eagles. Sure, that's a fact. But he also changed everything in Philly, turning that team from a laughingstock into a legit double-digit win threat and perennial Super Bowl contender.
Reid and Chiefs offensive coordinator Doug Pederson could aid Smith in the same way that Harbaugh and Roman did. In Kansas City, Smith would have talent at running back, receiver and tight end. The Chiefs also have the No. 1 overall draft pick. While no quarterback in this class is worth taking there, Kansas City could use the slot to significantly boost the offensive line by selecting tackle Luke Joeckel.
The Chiefs can be back in business with Reid, Joeckel and Smith, a list of additions that would represent a solid offseason. A new coach, left tackle and quarterback can make for a powerful combination in a parity-filled league that lends itself to rags-to-riches, Horatio Alger-type tales.
Smith wouldn't drive disgruntled Chiefs fans to the box office. But he would bring wins and added credibility. He would change the culture in Kansas City. Frankly, from that perspective, Smith would be perfect for several teams, including the Jaguars, Cleveland Browns and New York Jets.
Reid and new general manager John Dorsey need to make this happen. They shouldn't flirt with trading for Eagles quarterback Nick Foles. They shouldn't draft a quarterback first overall. They shouldn't overthink this.
Follow Adam Schein on Twitter @AdamSchein.