ST. JOSEPH, Mo. — The Kansas City Chiefs and the agent for quarterback Alex Smith have talked contract in the days since quarterback Andy Dalton got his extension from the Cincinnati Bengals.
But Smith indicated Saturday he's not interested in the type of pay-as-you-go pact signed in recent months by Dalton and Smith's former San Francisco 49ers teammate, quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Smith wants a deal that ensures he stays in Kansas City for the long haul.
"I want to get something that's right that I'm going to play out, absolutely, and that's definitely a focus of mine," Smith told USA TODAY Sports after Saturday's training camp practice.
Chiefs general manager John Dorsey told USA TODAY Sports he last spoke to Smith's agent, Tom Condon of CAA, "a couple days ago," but declined to comment further other than to say he has "great respect" for Smith as a player and person.
It's not surprising Smith, 30, wants stability, given the cycle of upheaval he has experienced as he enters his 10th NFL season and second with the Chiefs. He already has made a lot of money – more than $65 million, in part to his rookie deal as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2005 draft under the NFL's previous labor deal – and isn't at the same phase of his career as his younger, ascending counterparts.
Asked directly if he'd sign Dalton's contract if the Chiefs offered it, Smith said, "We're on the record. That's a tough question. Certainly, I think it's a tough thing. I look at both Andy and Kap and they're both on their rookie deals. They're both second-round picks in the new rookie wage scale, so what were their salaries? It's a very different situation for me."
Kaepernick – who took over as the 49ers' starter during the 2012 season, leading to the offseason trade that brought Smith to Kansas City – signed a six-year extension in June that gave him a $12 million raise in 2014 and then a series of year-to-year "rolling" guarantees.
That provided the template for the six-year extension Dalton signed last week with the Bengals that gave him a $17 million raise in 2014, with no further guarantees and, like Kaepernick's pact, future base salaries that hinge on multimillion-dollar performance escalators.
The result in each case: short-term reward for the player's early-career performance by wiping out the last year of a rookie contract that would've paid a little more than $1 million this coming season, and long-term protection for the team if the progress doesn't continue.
Smith is due a $7.5 million base salary in 2014, the last year of a three-year pact he signed with the 49ers in 2012. He was a replacement Pro Bowl pick last season, when he set career highs in passing yards (3,313) and touchdowns (23).
But Smith is probably closer to the level of Dalton – who will make about $42 million over the deal's first three years if he hits all the escalators – than the NFL's elite quarterbacks, and is older than the next-tier of fellow Condon clients Matt Ryan and Matthew Stafford.
Still, top-10 quarterback money means $16 million to $17 million a year, and that well may be the baseline for Smith's side in negotiations. Could a deal be struck before the regular season begins?
"I would love that," Smith said. "I certainly don't want it to carry on into the regular season and be thinking about it. It's hard to. It's hard to be dealing with it and eliminate it always. It can become a distraction. Hopefully, it gets knocked out and I won't have to worry about it."
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