Alex Smith didn’t have much choice when he was traded from San Francisco to Kansas City last year.
He had the final say when it came to staying with the Chiefs, though.
One day after signing a four-year extension that should solidify his future through the 2018 season, Smith expressed relief at being able to focus solely on football — rather than negotiations that had been going on for months, and that were threatening to bleed into the regular season.
“As much as you don’t want to think about those types of things,” Smith said, “you can’t help but they sit in the back of your head: ‘I’m playing for a contract, I’m playing for this and that.’ Sometimes you can just be an added distraction. I was hoping and really happy that it got done.”
Smith said he made it clear to his agent, Tom Condon, he wanted an agreement done before the start of the season. Chiefs general manager John Dorsey said that was also his goal.
“This has been a long process,” Dorsey said. “You know, Tom Condon is very professional in his approach. We had ongoing discussions, consistent discussions, and I’m just glad we can concentrate on football. I’m happy for Alex, happy for the organization.”
Smith is due $7.5 million this season, the final year of the contract he signed with the 49ers. His extension is worth $68 million, with $45 million guaranteed, a person familiar with the terms told The Association Press on condition of anonymity because details were not disclosed.
Asked whether the deal gave the Chiefs some flexibility moving forward, Dorsey replied: “I don’t really like to talk the specifics of numbers in these venues, but it’s a win for both sides.”
The Chiefs can now turn their attention to pass rusher Justin Houston, entering the final year of his rookie contract. Minus an agreement, the Chiefs could use the franchise tag on Houston next season without worrying about losing Smith to free agency.
“It’s one step at a time,” Dorsey said, “and as we’ve always said as the process goes along, we’ve had discussions with (Houston’s) representatives and we’ll continue to have discussions.”
Smith was a target for Dorsey and Reid almost from the moment they arrived in Kansas City. They traded two second-round draft picks to the 49ers to acquire him. It wasn’t long after his arrival, either, that Smith expressed his desire to sign a long-term deal to remain in Kansas City.
The 2005 No. 1 overall pick hardly hurt his bargaining power on the field.
Taking over a franchise that won two games the previous season, Smith threw for a career-best 3,313 yards with 23 touchdowns and only seven interceptions, even while skipping a meaningless regular-season finale. He led Kansas City to a 9-0 start, an 11-5 record and a playoff appearance, throwing for 378 yards and four touchdowns in a 45-44 loss to the Colts.
Once the season was over, the questions about his future began. They were finally answered Sunday night.
“It allows us to have a heck of a football player here in person, a good leader in the locker room,” Reid said. “All the players were fired up for him. Sometimes you don’t see that on teams, a guy does a big deal and you have jealousies here and there. That’s now how this crew was. We’re excited for him and he can just go out there and play football.”
Of course, that doesn’t mean there wasn’t some good-natured ribbing when Smith showed up Monday, and the Chiefs began preparing for their season opener Sunday against Tennessee.
“That’s part of the deal,” Smith said. “You better be able to wear it when you walk in.”
Smith said recent contracts signed by the Bengals’ Andy Dalton and the 49ers’ Colin Kaepernick didn’t have much bearing on his own negotiations. But he also acknowledged that reaching a number commensurate with his accomplishments was important to him.
“The funny thing is, you can have five-year contracts in the NFL but you’re ultimately always proving yourself,” he said. “It’s every year, every week. But it’s nice. It’s a two-way street. I wanted to be here and to have that reciprocated and put on paper, I’m really happy about it. It’s nice.
“And that clutter is kind of gone from your head and you can focus on Week 1.”
NOTES: The Chiefs signed DT Hebron Fangupo and LB Jerry Franklin to their practice squad. ... WR Kyle Williams, who had been on injured reserve, was released. ... WR A.J. Jenkins (concussion) and C Eric Kush (shoulder) did not practice Monday. Reid said both should be available Sunday.