A little over a month ago, we heard that extension talks between the Chiefs and Alex Smith were moving “very slowly,” with some movement expected after the conclusion of the draft. However, with the draft well behind us, Smith and the Chiefs still don’t appear to be moving toward an agreement.
According to Ed Werder of ESPN.com (via Twitter), there has been “very little dialogue” between the two sides, and there’s some skepticism that a deal will be agreed upon in time for the season. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com agrees, tweeting that the sides are still far apart with no progress being made, which is why Kansas City contemplated drafting a quarterback early.
As we noted yesterday, head coach Andy Reid expressed confidence during an appearance on the NFL Network that the Chiefs would get something done soon with Smith, but Terez A. Paylor of the K.C. Star reported a little later that contract talks for the signal-caller have been “almost nonexistent” within the last few months. And today’s reports certainly seem to back up Paylor’s account.
According to Rapoport (via Twitter), if Smith and the Chiefs find a common ground, it will likely happen later in the offseason, rather than now. And if talks remain stagnant, the club appears willing to use the franchise tag next March. As Rapoport adds in a second tweet, there isn’t really a clear-cut market for second-tier quarterbacks, so Smith is likely pushing to be paid like a top-tier option, while the Chiefs may be reluctant to make such a large commitment.
Jay Cutler‘s seven-year, $126MM extension provided the most recent point of comparison for quarterbacks like Smith, who have had some regular-season and playoff success, despite not reaching a Super Bowl. According to Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports (via Twitter), back in January Smith was seeking a deal that exceeded Cutler’s, and that probably hasn’t changed within the last few months.
Smith’s contract talks will be an interesting offseason subplot to follow, as we wait to see who blinks first. The former Niner may risk reducing his value if he heads into the 2014 season without a new deal, but finding a reliable starting quarterback isn’t easy, and it’s not clear if Kansas City has a viable successor on a roster that includes Chase Daniel and Aaron Murray.