- Adam Teicher, ESPN Staff Writer
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Few issues are more important to the Kansas City Chiefs over the next few months than re-signing quarterback Alex Smith to a long-term contract extension. The recent comments of chairman Clark Hunt to Kansas City radio station 810 WHB are another indication the Chiefs intend to do so.
“When we made the trade for him a year ago, that was part of the thinking," Hunt said. "I don’t think that thinking has changed. He came in and did a nice job. We’re glad to have him as a part of the Kansas City Chiefs and we hope it’s longer than a two-year stay."
Smith had two seasons remaining on his contract with the San Francisco 49ers when the Chiefs acquired him in March 2013. If the Chiefs don't extend his contract, he will become an unrestricted free agent next year.
Smith had a solid first season for the Chiefs, throwing for 3,313 yards and 23 touchdowns and rushing for 431 yards. He has some room for improvement, such as his completion percentage. He completed 60.6 percent of his passes, which was 20th in the league.
As Hunt pointed out, there's reason to believe better things are ahead for Smith and the Chiefs' offense. Smith and his teammates were in the first year of coach Andy Reid's system, and the Chiefs went 11-5 and earned a wild-card berth.
"Alex is somebody who demonstrated he could play at a pretty high level with the 49ers the last several years," Hunt said. "Certainly, we were hopeful we would see that version of him. One of the things I enjoyed about the season was watching him get better as we went along, which makes sense. Andy’s offense is pretty complicated, even for someone as bright as Alex. But the longer he played in it, the longer the rest of the team was in this offense, you could see him getting better. I think it’s very exciting for 2014 to see where that offense goes."
Smith's passer rating of 89.1 was better than that of Andy Dalton, Cam Newton, Tom Brady and Andrew Luck. It was still only 14th in the league, so there's work to do. But Smith exceeded Kansas City's expectations, in his first year at least.
“You have to give him credit earlier in the year, when the offense was maybe not in sync, for playing smart, not making the mistakes that someone else might have made that would have gotten us beat," Hunt said. "Certainly, as the season went along and we needed to score more points, he and the rest of the offense showed they could do that. The NFL is a quarterback-driven league. You have to have somebody who is capable, experienced, somebody who protects the ball at that position, and Alex has shown he can be all of that."
3dEric D. Williams
3dEric D. Williams