KANSAS CITY, Mo. — In one fell swoop, the Alex Smith era in Kansas City ends, his reign in Washington begins and Patrick Mahomes takes his place atop the Chiefs kingdom.
All that came into place Tuesday night as the Chiefs and Washington agreed to a trade for Smith. NFL Network‘s Ian Rapoport initially reported the deal sends Washington’s third-round pick (the 13th pick in the round) in this year’s draft to Kansas City along with a player. USA Today‘s Steve Gallo first reported the deal also sends cornerback Kendall Fuller to the Chiefs.
The teams may publicly confirm the details as soon as Wednesday, but the trade cannot be processed and official until the NFL’s new league year begins March 14.
Smith also agreed to a four-year contract extension worth $94 million with $71 million in guaranteed money, according to Rapoport.
The deal clears both the path forward to Mahomes as the club’s new franchise quarterback as well as valuable cap space off the books for Kansas City. Moving Smith frees $17 million in salary cap space. Fuller is under contract for two more seasons, including a salary of $647,500 in 2018.
Washington drafted Fuller in the third round of the 2016 draft, No. 84 overall. The former Virginia Tech defensive back played in 29 games with 12 starts for Washington the past two seasons. His acquisition fills what appeared as a need for the Chiefs in the offseason for a reliable cornerback opposite Marcus Peters. The club prefers Steven Nelson as nickel slot corner. Veteran Darrelle Revis delivered a solid performance for the team down the stretch drive, but he carries a cap hit of $10 million in 2018.
Fuller tallied 55 tackles, four interceptions and 10 pass broken up this past season. Pro Football Focus graded Fuller as the sixth-best cornerback in the league during the 2017 season. He turns 23 next month.
Chiefs general manager Brett Veach pulling the trigger now should free up significant cap space for the Chiefs to use once free agency begins in March. OvertheCap.com projected the Chiefs over the salary cap threshold by a projected $9.23 million. The trade gives the Chiefs a projected salary cap space of $7.12 million. That could change based on rollover cap dollars and a change in the estimated league salary cap for the 2018 season.
The deal also gives the Chiefs a much-needed pick in this year’s draft. The Chiefs sent their first-round pick in this year’s draft to Buffalo in the deal that landed Mahomes. The club also dealt their fifth-round pick to Cleveland for offensive lineman Cameron Erving and their seventh-round pick for cornerback Kenneth Acker.
As of now, that leaves the Chiefs with their own picks in the second, third, fourth and sixth rounds and Washington’s third-round pick. The club also expects to receive a fifth- or sixth-round pick as compensation for losing free agent quarterback Nick Foles last offseason. The team also acquired a conditional seventh-round round pick from Arizona for Marcus Cooper, but it is not know if the Chiefs qualified for the pick.
The trade leaves Mahomes as the only quarterback under contract for the Chiefs for the coming season. Backup quarterback Tyler Bray is unrestricted free agent. That means the Chiefs may use some of that cap space on a veteran backup quarterback behind Mahomes.