It’s not exactly a secret that the San Francisco 49ers are considering what to do with Alex Smith, not wanting to have such an expensive player functioning as a backup quarterback, currently leaning towards trading him instead of releasing him before March 12, avoiding the big pay they’ll owe him by then.
Smith himself doesn’t want to sit on the bench, even if it means giving up on the $13 million of guaranteed money he’ll be owed once March 12 hits. Till then, it’s only $1 million the 49ers need to pay their quarterback since 2005, who lost his starting job, not for the first time, after an injury against the Rams during the season, giving Jim Harbaugh the chance to start Colin Kaepernick behind center.
But trading him looks like the more likely option at the moment, wanting to get something, be it a draft pick or someone to strengthen their secondary, which was the weak link in the powerhouse offense and defense the 49ers showcased for most of the season.
The options? Some rumors suggested the New York Jets, not really happy with their current quarterback situation (Mark Sanchez, Greg McElroy, Tim Tebow) might be looking to trade for Alex Smith by sending their cornerback, Darrelle Revis to the 49ers. That doesn’t seem likely, because of the cap space problems the Jets have, more likely to clear all of the dead-weight like Tim Tebow, before they add expensive players to the roster.
At the moment, the Kansas City Chiefs and the Cleveland Browns look like the leading options. The Chiefs, with their new head coach Andy Reid, aren’t exactly happy about another year with Matt Cassel or Brady Quinn. Alex Smith doesn’t exactly fit into Reid’s offensive system, but everyone is flexible, and the Chiefs do have the kind of offensive line that can keep Smith relatively safe.
The Cleveland Browns might be even the more likelier option, with tons of cap room to work with. Norv Turner, who was Smith’s offensive coordinator for the 2007 season (Smith’s best before Harbuagh arrived in 2011), will be the Brown’s OC next season, and sources say that both player and coach would be very happy to work together again. The Browns however, might not have the pieces the 49ers want. The Chiefs have the number one pick, and the 33rd pick in the draft, the first in the second round, might be enough to get Smith away from San Francisco.