Alex Smith doesn't sound like he expects to be playing for the Chiefs much longer
The Chiefs QB sounds very aware that he could be done in Kansas City after this season
You could make a strong argument that the NFL's best quarterback in Week 1 was Alex Smith. During the Kansas City Chiefs' 42-27 , Smith threw for 368 yards and four touchdowns, a performance that was good enough to be named AFC Offensive Player of the Week on Wednesday.
The funny thing about Smith's award is that if he were to win it again in Week 1 next season, he may be doing it for a different team. During a recent interview on In Depth with Graham Bensinger, Smith admitted that it "absolutely" feels like it's going to be his final season with the Chiefs.
Bensinger opened up the interview by asking Smith if it felt like the 2017 season would be his last year in Kansas City.
"For sure," Smith said. "It absolutely does. Without a doubt."
Despite his brutally honest answer, Smith didn't sound bitter about his situation. The Chiefs quarterback said that getting dumped by a team is just one of the harsh realities that comes with playing in the NFL.
"Structurally, the contract, the guarantees are less, and that's just the reality," Smith said. "You have to prove yourself year in and year out and if you can't get the job done, every team is going to go and try and find somebody else that can. That's the reality of the deal. I don't care who you are."
For most NFL quarterbacks, leading a team to a 12-4 record and a division title -- as Smith did with the Chiefs last season -- is pretty good for job security. However, it seems Smith definitely understands he may not be around much longer in Kansas City.
"You're a veteran, you're expected to perform and play at a certain level, and if you don't, the team, they're not just going to keep going, they're going to try and find someone else that can [play]," Smith said. "No different this year than every year. That's just the way it is. I don't think that's a bad thing, either. That's a nature of the business at this point."
"It was hard," Smith said of watching the Chiefs taking a quarterback. "I knew we were potentially going to take a quarterback. We hadn't really spent a lot of draft capital on a quarterback since I've been here. I definitely knew it was a possibility."
Smith's biggest problem with the trade, which involved the Chiefs giving up the 27th pick in the draft, along with their first-round choice in 2018 and a third-rounder in 2017, is that it hampered the team's efforts to build for the this season.
"We have a lot of expectations for winning now," Smith said. "We got this window of opportunity and let's take advantage, and here was a draft pick that maybe could've of contributed [this year], and now, I'm hoping that he sits for awhile."
Smith would've preferred to see the team use their 2017 first-round pick on someone who could've contributed to the team right away.
"It's a tough pill to swallow," Smith said of seeing Mahomes get drafted. "It's like, man, [we] could've added this or this or this position or this player."
Although Smith didn't want the Chiefs to take a quarterback, he said that there's no animosity among the team's QBs.
"If something comes up with Patrick that I see and I want to say, I'm certainly not going to bite my tongue and not say it," Smith said. "That's just the way I operate and [Chiefs coach Andy Reid] knows that, so he sees the way I am, and that's how I go."
During the interview with Bensinger, Smith described the 49ers, the team that drafted him No. 1 overall in 2005, as mostly dysfunctional during his first few years in San Francisco. Smith then made it clear that he doesn't want to see the same thing happen in Kansas City.
"If I can help these guys not go through [the dysfunction I went through in San Francisco], I certainly don't wish any of that stuff on him," Smith said.
In a separate interview with Bensinger, Reid said the Chiefs aren't necessarily planning on getting rid of Smith after this season.
"The reality is that Alex isn't getting any younger," Reid said. "That doesn't mean he can't go on and continue to go out and have a great career, so that's what where his focus is. He's far enough along in it, 'OK, I know what you had to do, I'm not getting any younger, but go watch what I'm going to do right now.' That's how we roll. That's the name of this league. It's not a personal thing, that's not where we go with it."
Smith has a contract that runs through the 2018 season, and if the Chiefs do get rid of him after this year, it would almost certainly come through a trade, and if Smith continues to look the way he did against the Patriots, his trade value will be sky-high by the time the end of the season rolls around.
The crazy part is that Smith strongly believes that he's only going to get better this season.
"I haven't reached my potential as a quarterback," Smith said. "I've shown flashes of it but I haven't done it really at the level I know I'm capable of."
If Smith can get the Chiefs past the Divisional round of the playoffs for the the first time since 1993, it wouldn't be a shock to see Kansas City keep him around until his contract expires following the 2018 season. At that point, Smith would be 35, and there's a good chance he could score one more huge contract in free agency.
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