Alex Smith: 3 Teams 49ers QB Would Improve in 2013
Smith, sitting atop the depth chart in San Francisco for the better part of the last half-decade, now sees his job in jeopardy after second-year wonder-kid Colin Kaepernick took the league by storm last week.
Starting for Smith (concussion) against the Chicago Bears, Kaepernick threw for more than 200 yards and two touchdowns as the 49ers rolled, 32-7.
49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh has yet to announce who will start Sunday against the New Orleans Saints, but all indications point to Kaepernick starting his second straight game.
If that's the case, the 49ers might have interesting decisions to make down the road with Smith.
The 28-year-old has a $1 million roster bonus due next March, and the 49ers are potentially on the hook for upwards of $10 million to Smith throughout 2013. If Kaepernick is the answer now and to start next season, it's likely that Smith would be playing elsewhere in 2013.
Obviously, we're a long way from that point, as Kaepernick has exactly one start under his belt. But if Smith is done in San Francisco after this season, there appear to be at least three teams that would view Smith as an upgrade at QB.
New York Jets
It's time for owner Woody Johnson to get out the mop and broom and clean house in New York. How deep that cleansing is (whether the general manager and head coach are included) obviously has importance, but the quarterback should be one of his first targets.
Mark Sanchez is one of many problems on offense, but this relationship has run its course. The quarterback position needs new blood, whether it's a veteran like Smith or through the draft.
Smith's perfect fit might be in Philadelphia, where the Eagles have established playmakers on offense but also a need for a caretaker at the quarterback position.
Michael Vick is unlikely to be back in 2012, and Nick Foles has mostly struggled early on in his rookie season.
Bringing in Smith would give the Eagles a veteran quarterback who takes care of the football (novel idea), while also allowing the franchise the opportunity to either continue developing Foles or draft a quarterback to be the future at the position. For a year or two, the fit makes a lot of sense.
Adding a veteran quarterback like Smith makes sense if the Cardinals wanted to go the offensive-line route during next April's draft. No quarterback, and especially not a game manager like Smith, is going to survive over a 16-game season with the Arizona offensive line as its currently constructed.
But even if the Cardinals did want to draft and develop a top quarterback, Smith could be an upgrade over Kevin Kolb and John Skelton as a stop-gap option. He's smart and accurate with the football, while also possessing an arm capable of giving Larry Fitzgerald chances.