The deal that was announced with, Andy Dalton, on Monday includes guarantees in the neighborhood of $30 million or less. On average, the contract looks to pay Dalton about $19 million per season for the next six years.
So how and why does this affect the Chiefs?
It has a direct impact on their contract negotiations with Alex Smith. It has been speculated and talked about for months, how can there be a “middle ground” set in the quarterback market?
In the NFL, the system either pays the unproven rookie hot shot quarterback a pile of money up front or the veteran signal caller with some NFL cache in the neighborhood of $17-$25 million per season with no middle ground.
The consensus seemed to be that Alex Smith and Andy Dalton would be the guys who either set that middle ground with their contracts or showed that $100 million is the new starting point for negotiating a QB contract.
Now that Dalton has inked his huge deal, the Chiefs find themselves stuck in a position where now, they have no choice but to either pay Alex Smith FAR more than he’s proven to be worth or run the risk of burning a bridge and losing their starter at the end of the season.
It’s been reported that the Chiefs have offered as much as $17.5 million per season to Smith, and he’s turned it down. That’s before Dalton got his coin but remember Dalton and Smith share the same agent, Tom Condon.
The Chiefs are now pinned into a corner at the negotiating table and while the franchise tag is always an option for next season with Smith, that number would still be in the upwards of $18 or $19 million for next season.
General Manager, John Dorsey, has shown over the last two seasons he’s not afraid to pay players that need to be paid, and pay them at or slightly above market value, see Jamaal Charles and Dwayne Bowe’s contracts as examples.
However, Dorsey has been unable to get Linebacker, Justin Houston, extended either - making the Smith talks even more tenuous.
Head Coach, Andy Reid, has also shown over the years he’s able to mold and develop any age of quarterbacks into winners. So regardless of talent level or playing style, he set the bar with quarterbacks like A.J. Feeley, Kevin Kolb, and Jeff Garcia in Philadelphia.
This Alex Smith negotiation though will really test both Dorsey and Reid in their vision for the Chiefs. They paid a hefty price of two second round picks for the veteran starter. At the time of the deal, they knew they would have to re-sign him long term in some fashion if he proved to be the long term answer in Kansas City.
However, now that the market has no gray area left, the Chiefs must decide if he’s worth that $100 plus million or if they feel more comfortable going forward with Aaron Murray, Tyler Bray, or another QB who’s yet to be drafted in 2015.
Photos: Andrew Weber (Andy Dalton) & Joh Rieger (Alex Smith
WARPAINT ILLUSTRATED MESSAGE BOARDS:
Should Dorsey give Smith $100 million deal?
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