- Adam Teicher, ESPN Staff Writer
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Take what quarterback Alex Smith did this season, combine it with what he did the past two years for the San Francisco 49ers, throw in the fact there's little realistic hope for finding a suitable replacement and it's a no-brainer for the Kansas City Chiefs this offseason to try to extend Smith's contract, as National Football Post speculates they will.
Smith still has one more season remaining on the contract the Chiefs inherited when they traded for him. They could always wait another year, but why? Locking him up now for the long-term allows the Chiefs to get on with other pressing matters.
Smith isn't one of the game's elite quarterbacks but he's certainly good enough to win with given the right cast around him. Smith is working on a three-year playoff streak. That's counting 2012, when the 49ers benched him late in the season after Smith had the 49ers poised to win the NFC West title.
The 49ers had an outstanding cast around him. The Chiefs have a brilliant player in running back Jamaal Charles and a lot of wishful thinking around Smith offensively.
Still, Smith hit career highs in passing yards (3,313) and touchdowns (23). His ability to make plays from nothing by scrambling also was crucial for the Chiefs. He had a career high 431 rushing yards.
His passing numbers improved late in the season. In the playoff loss to the Indianapolis Colts, Smith had a 378-yard, four-touchdown, zero-interception game -- mostly without an injured Charles. Smith and the passing game should improve next season as the Chiefs continue to mature in their offensive system and (presumably) add better receivers.
He protected the ball most of the season. Chiefs quarterbacks committed 27 turnovers in 2012, Smith had just 10 in 2013. The way he finished the season was troubling in this regard. He had a season-high three turnovers in his final regular season game against the Colts and lost a costly fumble that helped fuel the Indianapolis rally in the playoff game.
Smith isn't the perfect player but he was good enough to quarterback the Chiefs to an 11-5 season and into the playoffs, where he guided his team to 44 points. With a better defensive effort in the second half against the Colts, the Chiefs and Smith would be preparing for their divisional round playoff game against New England.
Instead, the Colts will play in that game. That's not Smith's fault. He did his part and now is the time for the Chiefs to do theirs with regard to his contract.