Benching of Sean Smith makes little sense

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. -- Four days into training camp, there’s been no change of status for the Kansas City Chiefs' most accomplished cornerback. Sean Smith is still running with the second team behind starters Marcus Cooper and Ron Parker.

This isn’t what the Chiefs envisioned last year when they signed Smith as a free agent from the Miami Dolphins. It can’t be what they envisioned last month when they released Brandon Flowers, a cornerback even more accomplished than Smith.

There’s plenty of time for Smith to return to the starting lineup. Defensive coordinator Bob Sutton held out some hope that it could happen soon.

“He’s not far away," Sutton said. “He’s obviously played a lot of football and played very well for us. We just thought coming out of the spring ... the other guys were a little in front so we went that way as we started camp.

“He’s in the hunt. He’s just got to keep working."

Credit to the Chiefs for benching Smith, despite his considerable salary cap number of $5.75 million, if they didn’t think he was deserving of a starting spot. But in a sense, the Chiefs, at least for the time being, have lost both of their starters from last year at a position where they weren’t deep to begin with.

Flowers was a holdout, which complicated his situation. In a way, he forced the Chiefs to release him by staying away from offseason workouts.

But the Chiefs can’t make these moves in a vacuum. It makes no sense for them to release Flowers if they’re also going to bench Smith.

The Chiefs can afford only so many setbacks at cornerback. They’ve already exceeded their limit. Cooper looked promising for a time last season as a rookie but also played so poorly as the third cornerback for a stretch that the Chiefs had to bench him. Parker is a journeyman.

Smith isn’t a perfect cornerback, but that type of player is few and far between anyway. The Chiefs’ best defensive lineup is with Smith in it, and the sooner they get back to it, the better they will be.