Alex Smith, Chiefs headed for the franchise tag?


General manager John Dorsey and coach Andy Reid have expressed confidence in recent days that the Kansas City Chiefs will ultimately reach a long-term contract agreement with quarterback Alex Smith.

Those comments seem overly optimistic in light of the lack of progress in negotiations that led the Chiefs to consider the idea of drafting a first-round quarterback earlier this month.

While there is now sentiment that Smith holds all of the cards with no legitimate competition for his starting job, that the Chiefs have leverage of their own in the form of the 2015 franchise tag.

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday, via sources informed of the situation, the club is indeed willing to wield the franchise tag if talks remains remain stagnant.

That decision is nine months away. Much can change in the meantime.

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The problem both sides are facing is the same one standing in the way of a new contract between Andy Dalton and the Bengals: There is no second-tier quarterback market in the current NFL landscape.

Smith is pushing to be paid commensurate with Jay Cutler's $18 million annual average. The Chiefs are understandably balking at devoting such a high percentage of their salary cap to a successful game manager with obvious limitations.

If Smith and Dalton want to find out their true value by playing out the 2015 season under the franchise tag and hitting the open market in 2016, we suspect they will be disappointed with the league's reluctance to embrace quarterback purgatory.

The latest "Around The League Podcast" breaks down the news and discusses players who could be summertime trade targets.