Alex Smith doesn’t deserve to be this underrated still

An early word of warning for the Chiefs: Be careful what you wish, and plan, for.

There might not be a more underappreciated player in the NFL than Kansas City quarterback Alex Smith. And, in a league that is suffering from a serious lack of competent quarterbacks, this is stunning because all the guy has done in his career is win.

The Chiefs surely shouldn’t be chastised for moving up in the draft to select Patrick Mahomes II with the 10th-overall pick this spring. However, if they’re too hasty about moving on from Smith to get to Mahomes, it could cost them dearly.

Sure, Smith is 33 years old and in his 12th NFL season, but he still is really good — as evidenced by his 368-yard, four-touchdown performance in outclassing Tom Brady and the Patriots in last week’s season opener.

Smith has been the poster child for the back-handed-compliment buzzword phrase “game manager” for quarterbacks who aren’t considered prolific enough to carry their respective teams but are just good enough to stay out of the way.

Well, Smith has managed to stay out of the way well enough to win 80 of his 137 NFL starts. In his four-plus years in Kansas City, Smith is 42-20 and has led the Chiefs to the playoffs in three of his first four years in K.C..

He’s thrown 81 TDs to just 63 INTs with the Chiefs (161-91 in his career) and has completed 64.8 percent of his passes (61.9 percent in his career).

Ask the Jets, Browns, Texans, Jaguars, Bills, Broncos, Bears and 49ers (Smith’s former team) if they would sign up for that productivity right now.

You know the answer to that.

Yet you wonder if the Chiefs are in a hurry to transition from Smith to Mahomes.

In a recent interview with “In Depth with Graham Bensinger,’’ Smith said he “absolutely’’ believes this will be his final season in Kansas City because of the presence of Mahomes.

Patrick Mahomes IIGetty Images

“You have to prove yourself year in and year out, and if you can’t get the job done, every…

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