KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- If the Kansas City Chiefs can get their starting quarterback signed to a contract extension, they should be set for the short and long terms.
Potential 2014 free agents: none.
The position: Smith had a solid if not spectacular first season with the Chiefs. His new team didn’t do a very good job of surrounding him with talented receivers but Smith still threw for 3,313 yards and 23 touchdowns and had a strong showing in the playoff loss to Indianapolis. His ability to protect the ball (just 10 turnovers) and his running skills (431 rushing yards) shouldn’t be overlooked. Smith next season needs to raise his completion percentage (60.6 in 2013) and the Chiefs need to find him more receiving threats. But one of the Chiefs’ major offseason goals should be to get Smith, who is heading into the final year of his contract, signed to an extension.
The Chiefs took a chance on Daniel as their backup, giving him good money last year even though he had never started a game. They were relieved to see how well he played in starting the final regular season game against San Diego alongside a bunch of fellow backups. Daniel was 21-of-30 for 200 yards and a touchdown against an opponent playing to get into the playoffs. The Chiefs would have won the game had Ryan Succop made his field-goal attempt late in the fourth quarter. That game should eliminate any doubt about Daniel’s ability to adequately replace Smith over the short term. He remains a mystery, though, if the Chiefs need him over a period of multiple games. Bray joined the Chiefs last year as an undrafted rookie. Though he didn’t play in a regular season game, he showed enough skills for the Chiefs to keep and develop him. Bray has a great arm, perhaps better than those of Smith and Daniel, and can make all the necessary throws. It will be a disappointment if Bray doesn’t at least challenge Daniel for the No. 2 spot next season.
The Chiefs should keep: Bray, Daniel and Smith.
The Chiefs should dump: nobody.
Free agency/draft priority: The Chiefs have a starter who turns 30 in May, a relatively young backup and a developmental prospect with serious ability. So while they appear set, the search for a quarterback should never end. The Chiefs don’t need to spend in free agency for a veteran or invest a high draft pick but if they like a prospect in the later rounds, that’s not a bad move.