The trade boils down to this:
Kansas City gets
San Francisco gets
QB Alex Smith
KC 2013 2nd rounder (#34 overall) KC 2014 conditional draft pick
According to San Jose Mercury News sports columnist, Tim Kawakami,
The 2014 pick moves from a 3rd rounder to 2nd rounder if Chiefs win a certain number of games, NFL source confirmsApparently the Chiefs hate the quarterbacks in the draft this year, maybe even more than the draft experts. There certainly isn't anyone in this draft to approach the three-headed monster from last year, and by all accounts the 2014 draft class is much stronger at QB as well.
— Tim Kawakami (@timkawakami) February 27, 2013
So what are the Chiefs' options?
Option A: Use Matt Cassel/Brady Quinn/street free agent as your starter this year, build up the support structure around the QB position, and move to grab your guy in 2014.
There's only one problem with this plan, Chiefs fans will riot if they have to sit and watch the Matt Cassel/Brady Quinn show for another year.
Option B: Draft a quarterback with the #34 overall pick
If they don't like the quarterback class, they aren't using the #1 overall pick to take one, and the odds of solving their quarterback position with a late-round pick are not good. So let's say they use the #34 pick on a member of the 2013 draft class instead of on Alex Smith. Maybe they get lucky, but clearly the Chiefs don't believe this is likely.
The cons to spending this much draft capital on the position in 2013 is it makes it much harder to sell your fans or your owner on spending significant (probably more) draft capital in 2014 on the same position.
We'll call this the Blaine Gabbert effect. You pick Blaine Gabbert high in the 2011 draft and he looks terrible, but you can't very well admit to failing with the #10 pick in the draft just one year later. So you stick with Gabbert and miss out on Ryan Tannehill and Russell Wilson in 2012, among others.
Option C: Trade a 2013 2nd and a 2014 2nd or 3rd for Alex Smith
Okay, instead of drafting a QB at #34 you "draft" Alex Smith with that pick. The draft capital argument from option B still holds when it comes to 2014 (and actually, you've spent a 2014 pick on Alex Smith as well).
Last year's #34 overall pick (Colby Fleener) had a 2012 cap hit of $971K. Let's add 10% and assume the #34 pick this year gets a cap hit of $1.07M. Alex Smith's cap hit this year will be $9.75M. Could Kansas City give him an extension to lower the 2013 cap hit? Sure, but then you haven't just invested draft capital, you've invested actual capital too, and you have just made it harder on yourself to move on if you like the 2014 rookie quarterback class.
The only reason giving up on Alex Smith after a year is better than giving up on [insert rookie QB here] after a year is you know what you're getting with Alex Smith, while the rookie has the potential to get better.
So this trade only makes sense if two assumptions are true:
1. The Chiefs don't believe in any of the 2013 rookie QBs (easy to believe)
2. The Chiefs believe they can contend with Alex Smith (For a playoff spot? Sure. for a Super Bowl? Heck no.)
With what we know about Alex Smith, I don't see how you can make the argument that he can lead a team to the promised land. Because of that, Kansas City gave up way too much in this trade.
The verdict: BIG win for the 49ers