Let me clarify off the top: we are talking about ten or fifteen years down the road. Andy Reid has full reign to be the Chiefs’ head coach for as long as he wants. Also, Alex Smith needs significant time as an assistant coach and coordinator before he is given the main headset.
However, in about a decade, Alex Smith is by far the front-runner to become the Chiefs’ next head coach.
Firstly, it is important to lay out the timeline for this happening. Eric Bienemy will get a head coaching job in the next two years. We have been saying this for years now, but the pressure is starting to stack up against some franchises to make that choice. Chicago, Cincinnati, Las Vegas, and Seattle all look to have hot seats, and Bienemy could do wonders in all of those systems.
When Bienemy finally lands his dream job, the Chiefs’ quarterback coach, Mike Kafka, will become the Chiefs’ new offensive coordinator. There is a reason that up until the NFL changed the rule, Andy Reid refused to let teams interview Kafka for their coordinator positions. He wants him to take Bienemy’s office whenever Bienemy moves on.
As a matter of fact, I believe that Andy Reid’s intention of the last few years was to groom Mike Kafka as the next head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs. However, barring a complete offensive collapse for the Chiefs’ offense (that is never going to happen under Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes), Kafka will not be overlooked as a head coaching candidate elsewhere for longer than three seasons. This means in the next seven years, I think the Chiefs will have gone through three different offensive coordinators.
Now, Alex Smith comes into this timeline when Kafka moves up to offensive coordinator, taking over his vacated QB coaching spot. He could honestly start as an offensive coordinator, but the Andy Reid coaching system requires starting low and earning your way up. Smith’s knowledge of the Reid system and playbook would make him the obvious front runner for the office.
When Mike Kafka finds his own head coaching job, Alex Smith would be the obvious front runner for the vacancy. I project this movement would happen around 2027/2028. This gives Smith five seasons as a positional coach in the Reid system, making him prone for moving up. He has the leadership to handle the position and the fan support, so it would be a great fit.
Andy Reid’s Inevitable Retirement
Now, in 2028, Andy Reid will be turning 70! This is older than Bruce Arians, Pete Carrol, and Bill Belichick are now! Does that mean he has to retire? No. Realistically he can coach into his mid 70’s (Gregg Popovich is 72) and probably will do exactly that. However, come 72 or 73, Reid will be considering retirement.
Part of retiring for Reid will be making sure he leaves the Chiefs’ organization in great hands. Reid could leave the Chiefs’ organization today and be leaving the team better than he found it, so his retirement considerations should not be retrospective, but forward-thinking. Who is likely to take his spot? Who is going to take their spot? Did he prepare them for that position? Did he leave them as an appropriate role model?
There is not a person I think Reid would be more comfortable leaving the team to then Alex Smith.
Alex Smith and Andy Reid saved the Chiefs’ franchise together in 2013. Alex Smith helped develop Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. Smith was the mentor for the new face of the franchise, Patrick Mahomes. He ran Reid’s west coast offense, he ran Reid’s RPO system. He helped develop and run the Chiefs’ current spread offense. Smith is guaranteed a spot in the Chiefs’ ring of honor. The fans rallied around Smith even when he was part of the Washington franchise.
Alex Smith loved being a Chief and loved leading the team so much, that once, after taking an extremely late hit to the head that we would late find out resulted in a concussion, he got up, tried to fight the opposing player, and then kept playing. Smith is so competitive that despite breaking his leg in half, having the injury get infected during rehab, nearly losing his life let alone his leg, having to spend almost two years in the most miserable physical rehab possible, and only barely escaping being cut by the Washington Football Team, he played football in 2021 and helped lead the Washington Football Team to the playoffs.
Patrick Mahomes credits the mentorship and leadership that he received from Alex Smith in his rookie season as a large catalyst for his growth as a player and leader. It was his leadership that helped Tyreek Hill succeed in the league past his initial role of “return specialist.” His love for the game also saved the Washington Football Team and saved them from disaster.
Alex Smith, with proper tutelage and training, is the perfect Chiefs’ head coach. Andy Reid should be on the phone with Alex Smith every day to try and get him on his coaching staff. At the very least, he can be a fantastic quarterback coach.
I know that I, and most Chiefs fans, would love this move for him. Hope you have a happy retirement Alex, but hope I see you soon.