According to Sports Illustrated's Jim Trotter, San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh has given the nod to second-year quarterback Colin Kaepernick to start over Alex Smith this weekend against the New Orleans Saints.
BREAKING: Jim Harbaugh has informed Alex Smith that Colin Kaepernick will start Sunday, per source. Said decision not based on health.— Jim Trotter (@SI_JimTrotter) November 22, 2012
While all the talk will focus on how this move affects the 49ers into their stretch run heading into the postseason, the definitive question is whether or not this is the end of Smith's tenure in San Francisco.
Taken No. 1 overall in the 2005 NFL draft, Smith was never able to live up to the expectations tied to the lofty label. Even last year's breakout season—career highs in completion percentage, passer rating and passing yards, and tallying 17 touchdowns to only five interceptions—doesn't lend itself to top-pick status.
However, Smith definitely has a place in this league and there are more than a handful of teams that should be picking up the phone for his services should San Francisco be all in with Kaepernick at quarterback.
One of those teams could be the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Chiefs' quarterback situation is arguably the worst in the entire league. Though there is little faith that general manager Scott Pioli can fix the team's problems under center, making a move for a guy that has proven himself to be solid game manager—which would work well for the team's plans—would be a good start.
Smith has two years left on a deal that he signed this past March, so bringing him to Kansas City would not hinder the team from targeting a top quarterback in the upcoming draft—something the Chiefs haven't done since 1983, when they selected Todd Blackledge with the seventh overall pick.
Though it certainly wouldn't be the ideal grooming situation for a rookie, Smith is a student of the game and has proven to be a hard worker in this league. Coupling that with the talent of a Matt Barkley or a Geno Smith could help solve the Chiefs' quarterback woes long term, while keeping things afloat in the interim.
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