Skip to: Content
Skip to: Site Navigation
Skip to: Search


Alex Smith to Chiefs. What happens to Matt Cassel?

The Kansas City Chiefs have agreed to acquire Alex Smith from the San Francisco 49ers. Will former Chiefs QB Matt Cassel go to the Arizona Cardinals?

By Janie McCauleyAssociated Press / February 28, 2013

San Francisco 49ers property no longer. Quarterback Alex Smith, left, talks with NFL broadcaster Steve Young before an NFL football game last year. The Kansas City Chiefs have agreed to acquire Smith from San Francisco.

(AP Photo/Tony Avelar, File)

Enlarge

San Francisco

Alex Smith quietly stayed behind the scenes after losing his job and watched from the sideline as San Francisco returned to the Super Bowl for the first time in 18 years. Yet the No. 1 overall draft pick from 2005 did make one thing known: The veteran quarterback still considers himself a starter.

Skip to next paragraph

And he hoped to get that chance again. Now, he appears to have it.

The Kansas City Chiefs have agreed to acquire Smith from the 49ers in the first major acquisition since Andy Reid took over as the team's new coach in early January, a person with knowledge of the trade told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal cannot become official until March 12, when the NFL's new business year begins. Another person familiar with the swap said the 49ers will get a second-round pick in April's draft, No. 34 overall, and a conditional pick in the 2014 draft.

After spending his first eight up-and-down years with the 49ers, Smith will get a welcome new start. The Chiefs will get the proven play-caller they hope can help turn things around under a new coach much the way Smith did under Jim Harbaugh in San Francisco.

"You never know when your opportunity's going to come," Smith said late in the season. "The good ones are ready when they do come."

The Chiefs have gone this route before, acquiring Joe Montana from the 49ers nearly 20 years ago, in April 1993, after he won four Super Bowls but gave way to Steve Young — San Francisco's quarterback of the future.

Not so different from Smith's situation last season behind second-year QB Colin Kaepernick.

Moving Smith was hardly unexpected. He realized it once Kaepernick emerged as a capable starter over the season's final two months, and Smith all but said goodbye with his first pro team when he played briefly in the regular-season finale against Arizona to cheers of "Let's Go, Alex!" and "Alex! Alex!" from the Candlestick Park crowd.

With Smith now headed for Kansas City, Matt Cassel is likely headed out of town. And Reid will enter his first draft as Chiefs coach in April no longer needing to search for a quarterback.

NFL.com reports that the Arizona Cardinals might be interested in Cassel:

The Cardinals were interested in Smith, but now they're moving on to option No. 2. Arians wants to push the ball downfield and even though Cassel isn't known for his cannon, he would be an upgrade. Cassel did throw 21 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in 2008, and 27 touchdowns and seven interceptions in 2010. So there's proof of success, just not sustained consistency.

The Chiefs' problems at quarterback are the single biggest reason they went 2-14 last season and secured the No. 1 pick in the draft for the first time in franchise history.

It's been a long-running problem for a franchise that has tried Steve Bono and Elvis Grbac (two more one-time 49ers), and more recently Damon Huard, Tyler Thigpen and Tyler Palko at quarterback. And then there's Cassel.

  • Weekly review of global news and ideas
  • Balanced, insightful and trustworthy
  • Subscribe in print or digital

Special Offer