When the San Francisco 49ers pursued Peyton Manning last year, NFL experts speculated that the team's relationship with incumbent starter and then-free agent Alex Smith was irreparably damaged and that he might walk.
Instead, after flirting with the Miami Dolphins, Smith re-signed with the Niners for three years and $24 million. He reaffirmed his commitment to the team and said, essentially, "I'm a big boy and this is a business. I can deal."
Smith sure has kept his part of the bargain this year, completing 70 percent of his passes through nine games and throwing two touchdowns for every interception. And, he's taking advantage of his beefed up receiving corps and averaging a yard more per pass this season.
But speculation, especially after backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick's impressive performance Monday against the Chicago Bears, that the Niners might still let Smith walk after the season.
His contract, with only a $1 million guarantee for 2013 and a $1 million roster bonus due in March, makes him expendable from a fiscal standpoint.
But why give him up when he's playing his best ball ever?
If the Niners do part with Smith several teams should come calling. Here's a fast five of teams who should—and likely would—take a good look at Smith.