It was reported on Sunday that the San Francisco 49ers had a trade in place to move Alex Smith to an unidentified team once the March 12th trading season opens. CBS Sports Jason LaCanfora reported that the Jacksonville Jaguars and Kansas City Chiefs were two teams he suspected to be on the other end of the trade but he couldn’t report with confidence who it exactly was.
So it’s not official, both clubs view it at as it’s effectively done. I do not know the other team. KC and JAX are 2 teams that make sense
— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) February 24, 2013
Turns out no one was on the other end of the trade as the Sacramento Bee is reporting the 49ers do not have a trade “effectively done” to move Alex Smith and that it doesn’t appear one is close to being done before the trade season opens.
With the caveat that everyone fibs at this time of the year: I’m told the #49ers do not have a trade deal in place for Alex Smith.
— Matt Barrows (@mattbarrows) February 25, 2013
Both the Jaguars and Chiefs make sense as landing spots for Smith but as of right now it doesn’t appear as though either of them have what it takes to get Smith on their team. What should be noted is that if the 49ers are “leaking” that a trade is effectively done, chances are they’re not getting the return value they want for Smith and they’re turning to shady tactics to inflate his worth to other teams interested.
It would be the first time this was used, but it does tell us one thing: that teams may be willing to play chicken with the 49ers and see if they can force them in to a situation where they have to release Smith. If Smith is released, the team that signs him is only giving up a large contract rather other assets essentially acquire the rights to negotiate with him.
This is the NFL though, and the chances that someone takes the bait and overpays for Smith is something that needs to be considered. But right now teams interested in Smith know they have the upper-hand in trade talks as there is no way the 49ers are going to pay Smith $8 million to sit on the bench in 2013 and if they wait long enough, they might force San Francisco’s hand.