Nobody will be surprised if Alex Smith won’t be back with the 49ers next season. The franchise now undoubtedly belongs to Colin Kaepernick, who has taken Smith’s starting job and presumably also his parking spot.
Whether Smith’s exit (if it does indeed happen) in the offseason comes via a trade or the team releasing him is still TBD. But according to Pro Football Talk, Smith would prefer the latter and for it to happen before free agency begins.
If true, it’s an interesting decision by Smith, as PFT points out. Smith is due $7.5 million next season with a $1 million roster bonus coming in March. Should the 49ers trade him to another team, he would get to keep that. But if he gets released, he would have the luxury of joining any team he wants but would have to work out another contract and might not be able to see that type of paper again, at least his first year.
The Jets and Jaguars could become two teams that would be interested in acquiring Smith’s services. But one team that might be a darkhorse to land Smith could be the Eagles, who may cut ties with Michael Vick in the offseason. It’s still not clear what type of offense Philly is going to run under new coach Chip Kelly. But Smith, with efficient passing and underrated skills as a runner, would definitely give Kelly options. It’s an acquisition that would benefit both sides.