The Kansas City Chiefs acquired cornerback Kendall Fuller and a 2018 third-round pick from the Redskins in exchange for quarterback Alex Smith late Tuesday night. This trade is a blockbuster in every sense of the word as the Redskins then agreed to to a four-year, $94 million extension with Smith that runs through 2022 and has $71 million in guaranteed money. This trade has major dynasty implications as it cements Smith as the starter next year in Washington, assures us the Patrick Mahomes era in Kansas City is well underway and puts arguably the most talented quarterback into unrestricted free agency (Kirk Cousins) since Drew Brees left San Diego to sign in New Orleans a decade ago.
Let’s run through the players affected by this move.
Alex Smith, QB WAS
Smith was on borrowed time with the Chiefs ever since they traded up for Patrick Mahomes II in last year’s NFL Draft. Ironically, he had a career year with 4,042 passing yards, 26 touchdowns, just five interceptions and a quarterback rating of 104.7. Smith isn’t a gunslinger, as indicated by his career 6.91 yards per average completion but there’s something to be said for someone who hasn’t had a season with more than seven interceptions since 2011. There are a lot of teams in the NFL who would love to have a player like Smith who simply doesn’t turn over the ball at the helm of their respective offense and it seems Washington was squarely one of them.
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In dynasty terms, Smith is going to continue to be a solid QB2 as a player you can count on to be a bye week fill-in or injury replacement for a more elite option on your roster, though if he can re-create his magic season from last year, he’ll be a low-end QB1. His ADP likely won’t rise too much, though it could take a small bump as he’s entrenched as a starter with little to no chance of being benched for a younger option in the short term unless Washington surprises us by drafting a quarterback in April.
Patrick Mahomes II, QB KC
Here we go.
Mahomes wasn’t drafted to hold a clipboard for more than a season and he’ll now get the reigns to a fantasy friendly offense led by Andy Reid. In one game started last season, Mahomes had a modest 284 passing yards and no touchdowns with one interception. However, the Chiefs certainly see massive potential in him and will be willing to live with what promises to be some very up and down performances next season. Mahomes has truly elite arm talent and could make the Chiefs offense extraordinarily explosive. However, he’s also prone to trusting his arm a little too much and he’ll need to be careful not to attempt to make something out of nothing too often.
In terms of fantasy football potential, Mahomes has QB1 ability. He’s going to carry a lot of risk but expect his ADP to start climbing here shortly. He’s currently right around #135 and I’d expect that to rise ten to 15 spots here in the short term. If you’re willing to roll the dice on a project quarterback with massive potential, there may be no better candidate. However, a dynasty owner just needs to realize there’s some serious risk here as well – he’s going to need to very mentally tough through what are bound to be some tough stretches.
Kirk Cousins, QB WAS
Cousins will now undoubtedly hit the open market as a quarterback boasting three straight 4,000 yard passing seasons and 81 touchdown passes over the past three years as well. With teams like the Cardinals, Jets, Browns, Bills, Broncos, Vikings and a host of others in search of a franchise quarterback, the money Cousins is going to make on the open market is likely going to be record breaking. He’ll likely be a low-end QB1 or high-end QB2 wherever he ends up and will give a boost to the skill players on whatever quarterback-needy team he decides to sign with. The courting of Cousins will be very fun to watch here very soon.
This trade will also impact skill position players all over the league. It’s easy to say the skill players of the Chiefs get an upgrade with the high powered offense Kansas City attempts to employ with Mahomes but I’d be hesitant in going too far with that thought as Kansas City may just ironically miss the safety and security Smith provided to them. It’s not like the players they had on offense didn’t have great seasons last year with Smith, either.
As for the Redskins, their offense likely won’t be quite as explosive but I wouldn’t knock players like Josh Doctson down too much as Smith should still get his surrounding cast lots of fantasy points. After all, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce did just fine with him at the helm with the Chiefs.
Regardless of where Cousins ends up, this is the first major move of the fantasy off-season and one that will have far-reaching impact. We’re gearing up for free agency and the NFL Draft, so keep it here for all the analysis as it happens.
Ken is on Twitter at DLF_KenK
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