San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith will seek his release this offseason, but where will he go if the Niners let him? While his fate is in the hands of the organization while they still hold his contract, that $8.5 million he’s due later this year will start to get heavier and heavier the longer they look for a team willing to take on his bloated contract.
While Smith probably isn’t the Messiah for most teams, he could be an immediate upgrade for a number of franchises looking for someone who can at least throw the ball accurately.
So, where will he land via trade or free agency?
- The Cardinals learned the hard way (thanks Philadelphia) that trading for a highly touted quarterback can bite you in the butt. While they may not be willing to shell out in a big trade for Smith, you have to think that Arizona would be interested in landing a guy who would make Kevin Kolb, John Skelton, Ryan Lindley, and Brian Hoyer all irrelevant. For now, don’t expect Arizona to be active in trade discussions but definitely look for them to be waiting if Smith gets released.
- Head coach Gus Bradley can’t talk about players currently under contract with other teams, but you’ve got to imagine he’d be pretty eager to get a veteran quarterback with some big wins under his belt involved in the quarterback competition he wants. Bradley just said there are some things he likes about Blaine Gabbert, but it would be tough to deny that Smith would be an upgrade or, at the very least, really good competition that finally pushes Gabbert over the top. A trade would be a big splash for first-year GM Dave Caldwell but the Jags need to hold onto their valuable players and draft picks as they begin a rebuild. Like Arizona, the Jags could be very active if Smith is released.
New York Jets
- The Jets may be the most quarterback desperate team in the league. While Mark Sanchez gave them some wins early in his career, he has since regressed significantly. Tim Tebow isn’t the answer, and as a much good as Greg McElroy is, he’s probably just a backup. The Jets probably can’t afford to trade for Smith, but it wouldn’t be shocking if head coach Rex Ryan and the media-hungry franchise tried to get some attention by making the move.
Where else could Smith end up? Does San Fran have a shot at dealing him?
– Luke N. Sims
You can also find me on Twitter @LukeNSims