The Kansas City Chiefs have lost their first unrestricted free agent of 2010 after OL Wade Smith signed a four-year, $12 million contract with the Houston Texans.
Smith, who started nine games last season and 16 in his two seasons with the Chiefs, visited Buffalo and Arizona before choosing the Texans. He’ll compete for a starting job at center and guard.
“We think he has a legitimate chance to start inside,” coach Gary Kubiak said. “We didn’t guarantee him anything about a starting job, but if he plays well enough to be one of our three-best interior linemen, then he’ll start.”
Smith, 6-4, 296, turns 29 next month. He played at Memphis. He spent four seasons with Miami and two with the New York Jets before signing with the Chiefs.
The emails I received overnight were a good 70/30 questioning why the Chiefs didn’t make a stronger play (or any play at all for that matter) to keep Smith in Kansas City. While I agree Smith did everything asked of him last year, it’s hard to give a backup lineman that kind of money.
With that being said, there’s no way he is going to Houston to sit on the bench. The Texans will be giving Smith more time and money than the Chiefs were willing to offer.
There are reports out there saying Kansas City was interested in bringing Smith back, but they had more than ample opportunity to do so and never stepped up to the plate. If they truly wanted to keep him with the Chiefs they could have made an effort to sign Smith before he became an unrestricted free agent. Even if Scott Pioli initially underestimated the market for a backup guard, his almost-signing in Buffalo would have served as a wake up call.