It still remains possible the 49ers will part ways with Alex Smith this offseason with Colin Kaepernick entrenched as the starter and alpha bro in the locker room. But don’t expect the team to flat-out release their one-time QB1.
The San Francisco 49ers are “highly, highly, highly unlikely” to release quarterback Alex Smith, sources told ESPN’s Chris Mortensen.
If true, that would go against Smith’s reported wishes. (A report that Smith has refuted.) Obviously, this would mean that should the Niners get rid of him it would have have to come via a trade, which would restrict his options and freedom to choose where he wants to end up, things a delusional Alex Smith homer might say the 49ers owe to Smith.
But Niners GM Trent Baalke said he doesn’t know yet what the team’s plans for Smith are. From Cam Inman:
“We’ll look at all options available,” Baalke, the 49ers’ general manager, told reporters Thursday at the NFL’s scouting combine in Indianapolis. “Are we going to trade him for sure? No, that hasn’t been decided.”
“(We) have nothing but great respect for him, his family,” Baalke said. “We’re certainly going to do everything in our power to make the best decision for everyone involved.”
The 49ers will have to wait until the NFL’s calendar year officially begins on March 12 before they can trade Smith. But if he’s on the roster by April 1, Smith is due a $1 million roster bonus in addition to $7.5 million in guaranteed salary. That’s money perhaps better spent elsewhere on the roster, say, for free agent Dashon Goldson, who’s been clamoring for a long-term deal.