No less than six teams should be in the running for Alex Smith, whether the San Francisco 49ers release him to free agency or keep his contract and try to find a good trade for him. The Philadelphia Eagles, Arizona Cardinals, Cleveland Browns, Kansas City Chiefs, New York Jets and Jacksonville Jaguars are all in the running for the quarterback.
The Jets and the Chiefs look like the least likely of options – Andy Reid doesn’t run an offense the way Smith operates, although it is possible to change the offense so it suits Smith’s strengths. For the Jets it’s more a matter of money and still believing in Mark Sanchez. With both of them on the roster, $21 million will go to these two quarterbacks alone. Not really something the Jets want before they offload Tim Tebow somewhere (if they manage to) and decide whether Greg McElroy or Mark Sanchez is their #1 guy.
There’s still a chance the 49ers keep him, despite his price. Smith will be owed $13 million after April 1, and hs in all $16 million on the next couple of season with the 49ers. That’s not a salary you want to be paying your backup quarterback, but the fact that Colin Kaepernick is only due to make $740,844 in 2013, it’s easier digesting the spending on a overqualified backup when you try to look at it as a two-QB unit getting paid.
The more likely scenario however is the 49ers trying to trade Smith for draft picks or other pieces they might covet. The Arizona Cardinals want nothing to do with the QB committee they had running the team into the ground last season, although until they fix their offensive line situation, no quarterback will manage to do a good job there. The Jaguars are a complete mess in pretty much every position on the field. The Cleveland Browns weren’t too disappointed with Brandon Weeden, but it’s pretty clear that reuniting Smith with Norv Turner (Browns’ new OC) seems like a better option for them.
The Philadelphia Eagles aren’t really sure Nick Foles is the guy to lead them in the next few years, and might opt for a more experienced, proven player behind center. The Eagels, like the Cardinals, need to fix some of their O-Line problems before thinking about a new QB.