It doesn’t take a genius to do the math and realize that the San Francisco 49ers are going to have a hard time keeping a quarterback due $8.5 million in 2013 on the bench. Alex Smith wants to play, and he wants to do it on his own terms, which means not getting traded by the 49ers; he wants to be released before free agency begins.
Alex Smith has $8.5 million coming his way in 2013; $1 million guaranteed now and the rest coming on April 1. Smith, who lost his starting job to Colin Kaepernick midway through the season, in the 24-24 tie against the St. Louis Rams, leaving the game with a concussion and starting a snowball of events that has landed the 49ers in the Super Bowl with Kaepernick as the big star running the show, wants to start for a team.
Smith wants to have a say in where he goes to play next. If the 49ers trade him and his contract he does make those $8.5 million, but there’s a good chance it won’t be to a franchise he wants to play for. He will be losing a lot of money if he’s released before April 1 arrives, but Smith prefers having more control over where he carries on his NFL career at.
Smith, the number one pick in the 2005 NFL Draft, was considered a huge bust for quite some time, until Jim Harbaugh came along, and built the right kind of system that made him much less of an interceptions and mistakes risk. After a 13-3 season, in which Smith posted career highs in almost every meaningful statistical category, he even got to win his first playoff game, beating the New Orleans Saints and showing his stuff in a duel with Drew Brees.
In 2012, the 49ers were the favorites of some to make it all the way to the Super Bowl. That turned out to be true, but on a couple of instances, mostly the home loss to the New York Giants in which Alex Smith threw three interceptions, it became clear that Harbaugh isn’t too happy with Smith being his man at the helm. The injury cleared the way for Kaepernick to take over the team and eventually lead them to the Super Bowl for the first time since 1995.
The general feeling is that Smith deserves to get his wish from the 49ers; he did test the waters last free agency period but overall he’s been a loyal player and didn’t cause any problems after being benched for Kaepernick in the middle of the season. Saving money and doing right by a player? Sounds like a plan.