The Chiefs finished last season with a pair of starting cornerbacks who stood 5 foot 9, making them easy prey for opponents with bigger, stronger receivers.
The Chiefs moved to remedy the problem Thursday by agreeing to terms of a three-year, free-agent contract with Sean Smith, who at 6-3 and 218 pounds is one of the NFL’s biggest cornerbacks. The deal was tweeted by David Canter, who is Smith’s agent, and reportedly is worth $18 million, including $11 million in guaranteed money.
The Chiefs viewed Smith, who will be 26 in July, as a nice complement to their other starting cornerback, Brandon Flowers. At 6-3, Smith is better able to match up with bigger, taller receivers than the 5-9 Flowers.
The Chiefs last week signed another veteran defensive back, Dunta Robinson. He will likely play as the third cornerback when the opponent uses extra receivers or as a safety.
The Chiefs played the last half of last season with Flowers and Javier Arenas, also 5-9, as their starting cornerbacks.
The moves to fortify at cornerback could be aimed at getting a better matchup against the Denver Broncos, the defending AFC West champions. The Chiefs last season found it most difficult to cover Denver’s two 6-3 wide receivers, Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker. The two combined to catch 22 passes for 344 yards and four touchdowns in two games against the Chiefs last season.
The Broncos also recently signed the smaller but prolific pass receiver, Wes Welker, to be their third receiver. The Chiefs, with Flowers, Smith and Robinson, look better equipped to defend Thomas, Decker and Welker than they were last season with Flowers, Arenas and either Jalil Brown or Travis Daniels.
Smith is the seventh player acquired by the Chiefs this week. They were able to complete the trade with San Francisco for starting quarterback Alex Smith. They signed as free agents Indianapolis wide receiver Donnie Avery, Miami tight end Anthony Fasano, New York Jets defensive end Mike DeVito, New Orleans quarterback Chase Daniel, plus Smith and Robinson.
Smith played four seasons for the Dolphins, three as the full-time starter. The Dolphins drafted Smith in the second round of the 2009 draft. He played in college at Utah.
A former teammate of Smith’s, Vontae Davis, said on Twitter before the free-agent contact period began that Smith told him he was already talking about a contract with the Chiefs. At the time, Smith was still under contract to the Dolphins, so that would be a violation of NFL rules.
Davis later claimed his Twitter account had been hacked and he didn’t send the tweet. Smith tweeted that all he did was congratulate a former coach, Al Harris, on his hiring with the Chiefs.