We've long referred to Alex Smith as a bridge quarterback for the Chiefs, the guy who'll serve as a placeholder until the team finds its next face of the franchise. But after he took Kansas City from 2-14 to 11-5 -- and the playoffs -- in one season, the organization has wisely been in discussions about a contract extension.
Of course, these talks have been going on since January with little to show for them. And now Smith, 30, says he'll put negotiations on hold if they overshadow the team's preparation for the upcoming season.
“You're getting to the point where either way, you want it to stop being a distraction,” Smith said Wednesday, via the Kansas City Star. “You guys know how I feel about this, and it's the truth. ...
“You're finally gonna cross a line where it's like, it's just football from here on out and I'm done not only talking about it with you guys, but even behind the scenes as well. We talk about eliminating distractions and that's a part of it. The focus needs to be on ball.”
In May, there was an NFL.com report that Smith was looking for $18 million a year. And while he has said previously that he wants to remain in Kansas City, the Star reports that there are "significant differences" in what the team and Smith think he's worth.
Smith, who completed 61 percent of his passes for 3,313 yards, 23 touchdowns and 7 interceptions last season, ranked 20th among all passers, according to Football Outsiders' efficiency metric, and in Kansas City he remains the beneficiary of an explosive running game and a stout defense.