According to Grant Cohn of the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, it’s more likely for the 49ers to trade QB Alex Smith than to outright release him.
Smith was benched in favor of QB Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers haven’t looked back since and are now in place to win the Superbowl. Cohn mentions that “he or his agent can give the 49ers a list of teams which Smith finds desirable, and the Niners can see if they are able to work out a trade for draft picks this year and conditional draft picks in 2014.”
Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports that a source with knowledge of the situation has informed him that 49ers backup QB Alex Smith is expected to ask for his release before the start of free agency in March.
Florio adds that Smith could miss out on his $8.5 million salary for the 2013 season in the hope of securing a better deal and a starting job in the NFL.
Smith, 28, is already guaranteed $1 million of that sum, but the remainder would also be guaranteed if he’s still on San Francisco’s roster as of April 1. The 49ers are expected to shop him around the league in the hopes of securing draft compensation for the former No. 1 overall pick, but it’s hard to say what kind of interest there will be in him at this point in time.
The Bills, Chiefs, Cardinals and Eagles have all been tossed out as speculative options in recent weeks, so there stands at least a decent chance that he will playing for one of them come next season.