The last time San Francisco traded a starting quarterback to Kansas City it worked out well for both sides. The 49ers gave the starting job to Steve Young, who won a Super Bowl and eventually landed in the Hall of Fame. Meanwhile, Joe Montana helped keep the Chiefs a contender.
This time, it could result in another Super Bowl for the Niners. For the Chiefs? They might have bought mediocrity at the expense of a second-round pick in 2013 and a conditional mid-round pick in 2014 to get Alex Smith.
The good news for Smith and the Chiefs is that they do have talent around him with running back Jamaal Charles, receiver Dwayne Bowe -- assuming he re-signs -- and coach Andy Reid. It's actually a good situation for a starter who was on fire before getting hurt and then benched for the more talented Colin Kaepernick. So Smith is an upgrade, but the question is how much better off are they? If nothing else, he limits mistakes, and that will help.
Meanwhile, the Niners now have 15 draft picks in April, including four in the top 93. There's no way they will keep all 15 picks, so they can be active, whether it's trading up for more defensive line help or dealing for disgruntled players such as Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis or Vikings receiver Percy Harvin.
San Francisco has one of the best coaches in the NFL, a talented quarterback and now even more picks and flexibility. They're about to get better.
- John Keim