There is nothing like a deadline to spur action.
Days before the NFL season opens, quarterback Alex Smith and the Kansas City Chiefs struck a four-year, $68 million extension worth roughly $17 million per year that includes $45 million in guarantees, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reports per a source informed of the deal. The Kansas City Star first reported the news.
Smith is entering his 10th season, and there were questions this offseason about whether the Chiefs wanted to pay him among the top-tier of NFL quarterbacks. Smith won the staring contest by not agreeing to an Andy Dalton/Colin Kaepernick pay-as-you-go deal.
Smith had one year left on his contract at $7.5 million this season, which brings down the five-year average slightly.
The up-front money indicates the Chiefs believe they found stability at the most important position for at least the next two years.
Smith threw for a career-best 3,313 yards and 23 touchdowns last season, in his first year under Andy Reid.
The 30-year-old quarterback led a Chiefs offense that got in sync in the second half of the season and carried a limping defense down the stretch. Despite the Chiefs' defense blowing a big lead in the playoffs loss to the Indianapolis Colts, Smith put on one of his best performances -- completing 30 of 46 passes for 378 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions.
The Chiefs very well might have drafted in the top 10 in 2014 if Smith had not been under center last season.
During this preseason, Smith performed admirably despite a troubled offensive line that caused the quarterback to scramble for his life on many occasions.
Despite being the No. 1 overall pick in 2005, Smith has been viewed as the quarterback version of "always a bridesmaid and never a bride." From his last handful of years in San Francisco to the start of his first year in Kansas City, many believed Smith was merely holding the fort for a younger, flashier quarterback.
However, Smith finally got the contract that loudly states the Chiefs want him running the show and believe he can provide stability for the next several years.