KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Everything was going the Kansas City Chiefs' way in the first 12 hours or so of NFL free agency, and really in the days leading up to the signing period. General manager John Dorsey was pulling a magic trick of sorts, finding a way for the Chiefs to retain among others Eric Berry, Tamba Hali, Derrick Johnson and Jaye Howard and add Mitchell Schwartz.
Looking specifically at next season, Smith might have been as important as any of the free-agent bunch to the Chiefs. He is a steady if not spectacular player, not the type to stand out during any particular game but always appreciated afterward during the video review.
He was the perfect complement to the Chiefs' other starting cornerback, Marcus Peters, who last season took some chances and got beat a fair share of the time. It was unusual for Smith to get beat like that. He was rarely out of position and though he isn't a playmaker (five interceptions in three seasons with the Chiefs plus one in the playoffs) the Chiefs didn't need him to be one. They have Peters for that.
Throw in the fact Smith is 6-3 and almost 220 pounds and a nice match against the league's bigger, more physical receivers, the Chiefs will have a difficult if not impossible time in replacing him.
The Chiefs are now thin at cornerback. Peters and Ron Parker, a safety who played a lot at nickel back last season, are their only known commodities at the position. The Chiefs have Phillip Gaines, but he is coming off a torn ACL that cost him most of last season. They also have Steven Nelson, a third-round pick last year who played sparingly as a rookie, and a few developmental prospects.
That can't be a comforting thought to the Chiefs, not playing in a division with quarterbacks such as San Diego's Philip Rivers and Oakland's Derek Carr. The Chiefs lost four other players on the first day of free agency but nobody who figured prominently in their plans.
Smith did and his is the loss that will resonate.