Alex Smith had his NFL career revitalized with the Kansas City Chiefs.

After a back-and-forth tenure with the San Fransisco 49ers, Smith was dealt to the Chiefs prior to the 2013 campaign. Smith has shined during his time with KC, leading the Chiefs to the playoffs in three of the four seasons he’s been the starting quarterback.

However, it looks like there’s writing on the wall signaling Smith’s departure from Kansas City. The Chiefs traded into the first round in this year’s draft to select Patrick Mahomes, who’s poised to be the franchise’s QB of the future. Smith understands all of the factors that could lead to his exit, and believes it could happen following the 2017 campaign.

“Yeah, you know, for sure it absolutely does, without a doubt,” Smith said in an interview on “In Depth with Graham Bensinger.” “And I only say that because, that was exactly my mindset when I got traded here was no different. Like this could be my only year here right? I just think you become a veteran. Structurally the contracts — the guarantees are less and that’s just the reality, right. Like you got to prove yourself year in and year out and if you can’t get the job done, every team’s gonna go try to find somebody else they can, right? I mean that’s the reality of the deal.

“I mean, I don’t care who you are. I mean that’s the thing, right? You cease to be this developmental project — a rookie guy that’s on a rookie contract that maybe has years to grow. You’re a veteran. You’re expected to perform and play at a certain level. And if you don’t, the team isn’t going to just keep going (on same path). They’re gonna try and find somebody else that can. And so, no different this year than every year. That’s just been the way it is. I don’t think that’s a bad thing either.”

Smith got off to a terrific start to the season against the New England Patriots, completing 28 of his 35 pass attempts for 368 yards with four touchdowns. If Smith continues to put up those kind of numbers, the Mahomes era might need to be put on hold.

Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images