One of the lingering questions surrounding the San Francisco 49ers is what to do with quarterback Alex Smith. It’s clear after the rise of Colin Kaepernick that Smith is no longer going to be the man in San Fran, but the question is where will he end up and how will he get there? There had been some reports that Smith had asked for a release but he denied that report at the Super Bowl.
Now, according to Adam Schefter, we have a pretty good idea of what will happen to Smith. The 49ers plan to attempt to trade Smith this offseason, meaning while he won’t be able to choose where he goes (for the most part, at least) but he will be on a new team with a fresh chance to be an NFL starter.
Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that the 49ers will try to trade Smith. Per Schefter, the Niners believe there will be suitors, given that plenty of teams need quarterbacks. Schefter specifically mentions the Chiefs and Browns as possible trade options.
This was really the expected outcome to this whole matter. The 49ers owe Smith $8.5 million next season and with Kaepernick leading the team, there’s absolutely no reason why Smith would remain in the Bay Area (unless he goes to Oakland).
But the problem with trading Smith involves that $8.5 million figure owed to Smith. If the 49ers trade him, his new team will have to deal with an $8.5 million contract for just one season, meaning an extension would have to be worked out before a trade is completed. Someone like the Buffalo Bills, who have Smith on their radar, would want to lock Smith up long-term but should they draft a rookie quarterback, Smith wouldn’t ever agree to a deal that would put him in the same situation he’s in right now.
Wherever Smith goes, he’s going to have to be the starter and not just be a stop-gap starter. While a trade hunt may be on the horizon for the 49ers, the difficulty comes in finding the right place to trade him that pleases all parties involved.