The San Francisco 49ers are trying to work out a trade for benched quarterback Alex Smith, who lost his starting spot due to injury and watched backup Colin Kaepernick lead the team to the Super Bowl.
Though rumors circulated that the 49ers might release the quarterback, sources close to the team told ESPN that the team believes it can get a good vale in return for Smith. ESPN also pointed out that if the 49ers trade Alex Smith instead of cutting him the team can save the $1 million or $2 million roster bonus he’s due.
This year’s supply of quarterbacks is thin, with Alex Smith one of the biggest names. After overcoming a slow start to his career, Smith proved himself as a capable quarterback this year and could be attractive to teams like the Jacksonville Jaguars and Buffalo Bills.
Alex Smith worked with new Browns offensive coordinator Norv Turner when Turner was the 49ers offensive coordinator in 2006, making that another possibility. New Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid also expressed interest in going after the 49ers quarterback.
The 49ers have been quiet about the reports, deferring questions and focusing instead on the Super Bowl. Smith has not addressed the trade rumors either.
Also adding to Alex Smith’s value are reports that he worked closely with Kaepernick on the 49ers to get the second-year player up to speed in the NFL game. That kind of support is a good sign for teams that view Smith as a temporary starter or someone who can help develop a rookie quarterback.