August 20, 2011; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith (11) runs around Oakland Raiders defensive end Mason Brodine (95) during the second quarter at Candlestick Park. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Why the Alex Smith Trade Hurts the Oakland Raiders

When Alex Smith was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs about a week ago, two teams were happy.

The San Francisco 49ers were pleased. They already have their young starting quarterback in Colin Kaepernick, and they traded away their back-up for some solid draft picks. The NFL Draft is always a great time for teams to get better through some young and fresh talent.

As for the Kansas City Chiefs, they have to be delighted. After dealing with quarterback issues over the past several seasons, they have now found their guy. Alex Smith is a veteran quarterback who will pair up nicely with new head coach Andy Reid.

But if there’s one team that should be  upset about the trade: the Oakland Raiders.

The Raiders, to say the least, are a struggling franchise. Carson Palmer isn’t sure what his future with the team is, defensive tackle Desmond Bryant was recently arrested, and Taiwan Jones is set to make the transformation from running back to cornerback.

There are plenty of questions lurking on the team, many of them unanswered.

With Oakland competing in the AFC West, it’s very hard for anyone to choose them to win the division. The Denver Broncos rule the division which also includes the Chiefs and the San Diego Chargers.

Denver, as long as they have Peyton Manning, will always be favored to win the AFC West. Always. And the Chargers may not be an elite football team, but Philip Rivers runs that show and they are very well respected across the league.

That leaves the bottom two teams- the Raiders and the Chiefs, to compete in a division that many people don’t even know they are in. Before Alex Smith was dealt to Kansas City, it seemed like the Raiders could make a push and be the third best team in their division. But now, it’s a whole new story.

With Smith now on the Chiefs, it shakes up a lot of things in the AFC West.

Dec. 9, 2012; Cleveland, OH, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Dwayne Bowe (82) makes a catch while being defended by Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden (23) in the first quarter at Cleveland Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Smith will be paired up with elite wide receiver Dwayne Bowe, who just signed a five-year contract that is worth over $56 million. That duo will be a force to be reckoned with during the season, and I don’t think any defense is looking forward to playing them. Throw in Jamaal Charles and his quickness and versatility, and you are looking at one dangerous offense. Their defense could use some improvement, but maybe the Chiefs will use their first overall pick in this year’s draft to bolster their struggling defensive squad.

It will be hard for the Oakland Raiders, who are just as much a mess on offense as defense, to compete with the Chiefs. Terrelle Pryor will be competing for the starting quarterback job, and even if he wins it, will have a large task ahead of him. The young and inexperienced group of Raiders receivers need to stay healthy for them to even have a slight chance of winning games next season. Darrius Heyward-Bey, Denarius Moore, and Jacoby Ford all dealt with injuries last year.

Darren McFadden has got to get it going as well. When healthy, he is definitely a better running back than Jamaal Charles, but the key words there are “when healthy”. McFadden, as well as back-up running back Mike Goodson, suffered a high ankle sprain last season that forced him to sit out for much of the year.

My point is, with Alex Smith moving to Kansas City, it puts the Raiders at the bottom of their division, a place that they don’t want to be, but a place that they are familiar with. If they want to get out of the hole that they have dug themselves into, they need to make a big trade, draft some fresh talent in the draft, or just simply install a new game plan.

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Tags: Kansas City Chiefs NFL Oakland Raiders San Francisco 49ers

  • chiefridgy

    Go Chiefs! Faiders Suck!

    • Brian Banifatemi

      Thanks for commenting, and for voicing your opinion..

      • chiefridgy

        Thanks for stating the obvious in your article.

        • Brian Banifatemi

          My pleasure!

  • Ricky Bobby

    Trade Carson, sign Vince Young & trade down to squire quality pics.

    • Brian Banifatemi

      Really? I think Terrelle Pryor is a better fit than Vince Young, wouldn’t you say so? We already know what Young is capable of and it’s nothing that special, whereas Pryor is young and has a lot to develop. I believe he can blossom into a quality quarterback.

      I say cut Palmer, and I wouldn’t be opposed to trading down!

      Thanks for commenting!

  • Tom Sparks

    That’s the perfect place for them, the “Black Hole Basement”, dark, musty, & mere shadows of who they project themselves to be!
    We might have had a terrible year, but we have never pretended to be even, slightly, improved at QB, like when the acquired Carson Palmer. Man can that guy throw—— INT’s!
    Mc Fadden better than Charles, hmmm. Injured or not, which he mostly is, he is NO Jamaal Charles! He was also hurt the year before, after they played who at the Black Orifice, the Chiefs! McFaiddin’ is more like it!

    • Brian Banifatemi

      Thanks for commenting Tom!

      Yes, the Oakland Raiders are currently in a bad place, but they will get out of it soon!

      Yes, the Chiefs were very bad last year, but you’re right in that they never pretended to be a team with a good quarterback. I mean, they had no reason to.

      And also, you bring up a valid point with McFadden and his injuries, however, I would still take a healthy McFadden over a healthy Jamaal Charles. DMC just has more explosiveness and a bigger build.

      • Tom Sparks

        Thanks for the, more than courteous reply to my opinion! It actually took me by surprise, I just happen to be born in KC & have moved all over the country for 1/2 of my 52 years. Due to an illness that causes me to deal with Chronic Pain & severe virtago, I have unfortunately not been able to get back to Arrowhead for a game in 9 years! I have lived 1/2 my life in this Northern (very frozen) Tundra called Fargo, ND. To my detriment, I remarried 17 years ago to a gorgeous SCANDANAVIAN gal, I call my wife! The story goes, the only reason people live in this town/region of 1/2 winter, 1/2 summer is you R either born here or marry a spouse of SCANDANAVIAN descent! LOL

        • Brian Banifatemi


          Wow, I am blown away by your response. Thank you for the long and lengthy comment, I really do appreciate every time a reader voices their opinion on an article of mine, and I always love to connect with readers and engage in conversations.

          First off, let me just say that wow! What a life you have lived, and it seems like you and your Scandavian wife are living happily together, which I am glad to hear about. Also, I am glad to hear that you are such a big fan of Fansided (at least our NFL coverage..ha!)

          Second, I am very impressed by your loyalty to the Chiefs. Just by reading your comment, I can feel your passion and energy that you put towards supporting your favorite NFL team. Sports can really bring out the best in people, and I love it!

          And lastly, you make great points for the McFadden-Charles comparison, but I just think it’s a toss-up. You really can’t go wrong with either one, but let me just say, that Jamaal’s game against the New Orleans Saints last year when he absolutely torched them for over 200 rushing yards, was insane! I was watching that game in pure amazement and I am a big fan of his. But again, I guess it’s just a preference!

          I want to thank you again Tom for engaging in such a great conversation, and I hope you continue to read my pieces and our pieces on Golden Gate Sports!

  • chucka1122

    The Raiders need to release DHB, and restructure C. Palmer’s contract or cut him as well. T. Kelly will be gone as well and that would save the Raiders 26 mill against the cap. DHB was such a failed draft pick at that position. I have said since the day they drafted him that he was not worthy of that spot and he has done nothing to disprove that. He is an average player at best. The Raiders then need to try and trade down and get more picks and start rebuilding through the draft. The O-line and D-line are the positions this team needs to address in the first round. Let us hope that the front office makes the right decisions.

    • Brian Banifatemi

      Thanks for commenting! I definitely agree with you on Palmer, although I think he should definitely be cut. There is no need for him at this point. We should start Pryor and build around him, and keep Leinart to back him up.

      As for Darrius Heyward-Bey, he was certainly a failed draft pick. He’s such a speedy receiever (all that Oakland seems to look for) but his hands and receiver skills are just clearly not there. Cutting him might be a bit harsh, but I wouldn’t be opposed to it as a fan.

      Trading down would actually be a great option, giving us more picks, thus more options to improve the offensive and defensive line- which like you said is probably the biggest team needs at this point.

      Anyone in particular you think Oakland should draft?

  • jaymes

    I’m a niners fan n alex smith is an ok QB but a Bust For a number one pick until Coach Harbaugh Came Along Far As DHB Yea He A Totally Was A Bad Pick For The Raiders They Choose Him Over Crabtree I was Shock When They Did That its more who yall personal in the office who knows what they doing in the draft not just pick a guy wit great speed but overall talent I’m just saying like what the niners are doing

    • Brian Banifatemi

      Thank you for commenting! I definitely agree with you that Alex Smith has not lived up to his potential as a #1 overall draft pick, but the 49ers aren’t too concerned about that anymore as now their guy is Colin Kaepernick. Heyward-Bey over Crabtree was a gutsy move and looking back on it, was probably a bonehead one as well.

      And yes, the Raiders’ front office really needs to make some changes and some good draft choices if they want to improve at all.

  • Hangtownie

    I think Alex Smith would of been a lot better if he was drafted to a team that had good coaching when drafted. I believe his first 6 years he had different O.C. every year. It’s tough to adjust to the NFL as a QB even tougher with a revolving door in the front office. Back to the Raiders, with so many holes to fill. I do think trade down and collect more picks. Restructure Palmers contract or release him. Trade McFadden for more picks or convert him to a 3rd down guy because he obviously lack durability for a every down runner.

    • Brian Banifatemi

      Thanks for commenting!

      And yes I definitely agree you with that it’s very hard to get comfortable in an organization that brings in so many new offensive coordinators. I agree with you that we need to cut Palmer, as for McFadden, I say give him one more year and see his production, if he really struggles again, then maybe it is time to let him go.

      The whole Alex Smith situation just was unlucky for him.

  • Gd94134

    The Raiders need to step it up and put Pryor into the starter spot and bring Jamarcus 2.0 back to compete for a position on the quarterback roster.Let Palmer go and free up some cap space and move forward. Things just havent been the same since Al D passed away.

    • Brian Banifatemi

      Thanks for commenting!

      Really? Why do you think the Raiders should bring back JaMarcus? If they really wanted a different back-up quarterback, I believe there are several better options for them.

      But yes, I do agree that we need to let go of Palmer, and also that things haven’t been the same since the great Al Davis passed away.