The Raiders will need to upgrade in order to stay out of the AFC West basement after Alex Smith trade.
The Oakland Raiders had a terrible season in 2012, but at least they could say they weren't the worst in their division. That honor belongs to the worst team in the NFL, the Kansas City Chiefs. But so far this off season, the Chiefs have made some solid moves that have arguably made them a better team than the Raiders.
The biggest of those moves is technically not even official yet, but it was a big enough move that it could make the Chiefs significantly better than they were in 2012. Don't get me wrong, Alex Smith is not a game changing quarterback by any means. He doesn't make big plays, and is probably one of the last quarterbacks I'd want to run the two minute drill for my team. But in the case of the Chiefs, Smith still represents a huge upgrade.
Remember when the Chiefs were a good young team that was on its way to being one of the better teams in the AFC West? It was only three years ago that the Chiefs won the AFC West and were in the playoffs, and the team is really not much different.
The team still has a great running game and is solid on defense. Their biggest problem in 2012 were turnovers, and especially at the quarterback position. Kansas City threw 20 interceptions in 2012, only one less than the league worst Arizona Cardinals. And let's be honest here, the Cards really put their backs into earning that distinction. I'm not sure I've seen a team more intent on throwing picks than the 2012 Arizona Cardinals.
In Alex Smith, the Chiefs get a guy who isn't flashy, but who knows how to protect the football. That alone will help the Chiefs improve a good amount from last season. And for those who are concerned about the Jim Harbaugh affect and think that Smith will digress without him, I'd just like to remind you that Andy Reid is the same coach who made Kevin Kolb look like he was worth a 2nd round pick and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. He knows a little something about getting the most out of the quarterback position.
The Chiefs are still a long way away from being a playoff contender, but the upgrade at the quarterback position as well as an upgrade at head coach are nothing to sneeze at. The Raiders have yet to make any real moves this off season, so there is still plenty of time to improve, but so far, the Chiefs are winning the race not to be the worst in the west.