Days after Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton signed a six-year, $115 million deal that only included just 17.7 percent in guaranteed money, Alex Smith made it clear that he wasn't interested in a pay-as-you-go contract, which is effectively what the Bengals and Dalton agreed to.
On Sunday, the Chiefs and Smith agreed to a contract extension that will average $15.1 million over the next five years but includes $30 million in guarantees, and another $15 million injury-only guarantee in 2015. Put another way: Smith's average annual salary is, well, average, but he's now among the top 10 in guaranteed money.
Not surprisingly, Smith thinks the deal works for everybody.
“It was about something fair both ways,” the quarterback said, via the team's website. “As a quarterback, you certainly don't want to hamstring your team in any way because -- I know this more than anyone -- you rely so heavily on those playmakers around you. You certainly don't want to do anything like that, but at the same time, you do want something that's fair.”
We've previously said that Smith is a great option in Kansas City as the bridge quarterback to whomever is the next face of the franchise, but we're not convinced that signing him to a five-year extension is in the team's best long-term interests. But since we don't run an NFL team or make personnel decisions, what we think means little.
Meanwhile, Chiefs general manager John Dorsey, is excited about having Smith around for the long haul.
“He doesn't panic,” Dorsey said after practice Monday. “He's flat-lined. In critical situations, you like guys that make really good decisions. Just watching him around his teammates and how much his teammates like him—that speaks volumes because guys go to him. To me, that's a natural thing for that position to have but that quality is very few and far between in certain people.”
Coach Andy Reid sounded a similar tone.
“He's a winner, a hard worker [and] a good football player,” Reid said. “He's the same guy every day. I'm not going to have this up-and-down personality. You're going to have a guy that comes to work. Everybody knows and trusts that he's going to be prepared and ready to go and give it his best out there.”
Dorsey contends the decision to stick with Smith was made early and nothing has changed.
“I've always said all along, the one thing that Andy and I have and I think it's one of our strengths, is the ability to communicate,” he said. “We're like-minded in how we see players. When we sit and talk about these types of things, there's a natural fit. That was an early-on decision we made as an organization and then we had to get the trigger pulled and we got it pulled.”
Smith was integral in taking a two-win Chiefs team to 11-5 (including a 9-0) start last season, and maybe he can lead Kansas City to the playoffs again in 2014. More likely, we think: 8-8, and if the wheels fall off, 5-11.