NFL Team Report - Kansas City Chiefs - INSIDE SLANT


The Kansas City Chiefs announced Sunday they've reached a contract extension with starting quarterback Alex Smith. It's another four years, for $68 million and $45 million in guaranteed dollars. Smith is playing the 2014 season on the final year of the deal he brought with him when he was traded to the Chiefs from San Francisco in 2013. He'll receive $7.5 million from that 49ers deal.

"It was a priority of ours to get this deal done and keep Alex in a Chiefs uniform long-term," general manager John Dorsey said in a statement from the team. "Alex is a proven leader on and off the field. He is a special individual with a lot of ability, and we are fortunate to have him here."

While particulars remain to be sorted out, Smith will receive $30 million guaranteed on signing the contract, with another $15 million guaranteed for injury that kicks in at the start of the 2015 league season next March.

Smith is now signed through the 2018 season and the extension averages $17 million per season.

"John and his staff along with Tom (Condon, Smith's agent) and his group have worked hard to get this deal done; they've done a nice job," head coach Andy Reid said. "Alex is a smart, talented football player that has adapted well to our offensive scheme. He also, obviously, has had a tremendous amount of success as a quarterback in this league. We as a team are very happy to have Alex as our quarterback moving forward."


--By the time the final preseason game rolls around, every head coach in the NFL looks forward to turning the page and moving on to the regular season.

None more so in August 2014 than Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid. A loss to Green Bay wasn't but a few minutes old when Reid made it oh so obvious that he was happy to put the games that don't count behind the Chiefs.

"It's good to get the preseason over; let's get on with the regular season," Reid said after a 34-14 loss to the Packers. "We look forward to getting the season started."

Reid and general manager John Dorsey can now focus totally on Tennessee, their first-game opponent. There is a lot of work left for the Chiefs to finalize before kickoff against the Titans and beyond the personnel decisions; there's an offense that spent the preseason under-performing and is now a question mark.

The No. 1 offensive group led by quarterback Alex Smith and running back Jamaal Charles had 16 possessions in the four August games and was unable to score a touchdown. Smith and the passing game averaged only 5.6 yards per attempt with two interceptions and zero touchdown passes. His 59.8 passer rating was ugly.

Charles was limited to five touches, but heads into the regular season rested and healthy, and not worried about his team's impotent offensive performance.

"That doesn't concern me," Charles said. "With coach Andy in control of this offense and what he can do, it doesn't worry me at all. We believe in each other and that's all that matters. I know we can't depend on what happened last year; that's last year.

"This is a new season and we've got to get past that. Every game we play is not going to be easy like last year. We are going to have to work for every win we get and I know that."

Last year a soft opening schedule allowed the Chiefs to jump out to a 9-0 start. In those opening weeks, Reid's offense had early troubles getting on track and the team relied on the defense to throttle a string of pedestrian and inexperienced quarterbacks. By the second half of the season, the offense came together and was productive, right through the first-round loss in the playoffs. Smith threw four touchdown passes in that game that saw the Kansas City defense collapse and blow a 28-point lead with 28 minutes to play.

There were important departures in free agency on the offensive line coming into the 2014 season, but the weapons available to Smith were all back, with the addition of a healthy Travis Kelce at tight end and the explosiveness of draft choice running back/receiver De'Anthony Thomas. Kelce was the team's leading receiver in the preseason with 11 catches for 193 yards and two touchdowns. Thomas was limited to seven touches in the offense, but showed his speed on an 80-yard punt return for a touchdown.

That rebuilt offensive line has been the problem area. With last year's NFL No. 1 draft choice Eric Fisher moving from right to left tackle, Reid and staff knew there would be some growing pains. They were right, as Fisher has been very inconsistent. With right tackle Donald Stephenson missing the first four games due to an NFL suspension, Jeff Allen has been moved from left guard to right tackle. As of the opening weekend, the starters at guard were up in the air as Jeff Linkenbach, Ricky Henry, rookie Zach Fulton and Mike McGlynn are all in the mix.

How that mix shakes out will play a large part in the type of start the Chiefs can put together. The schedule is rugged, with games against Tennessee, Denver, Miami, New England and San Francisco in the first five weeks.

"I am not much on predictions," Reid said. "We are going to work hard and take it one day at a time and crank it. We look forward to getting the season started."