Quarterback Alex Smith will not be a part of the San Francisco 49ers next year, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. Rapoport adds that the 49ers will attempt to trade Smith early on, but they’ll release him quickly if no deal is completed out of respect for the former first-overall pick.
Alex Smith will not be a member of #49ers next year. They will try to trade him first. Then if nothing happens, cut him early out of respect
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 30, 2013
With Smith’s expected exit from San Francisco now on the horizon, Rapoport notes that the Buffalo Bills, Arizona Cardinals, Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs have all expressed interest in the 28-year-old. As of yet, the New York Jets have not.
Smith is viewed around the league as more of a bridge quarterback and not a long-term starter, according to Rapoport. If a team trades for him they would have to take on his hefty remaining salary, whereas if he’s cut they would be able to work out a new contract.
It appears Smith could get to choose his next location, and he figures to be one of the most coveted quarterbacks available considering the weak draft class and free agent market.