Adam Schefter of ESPN reported the news, saying it will be easy for a move to get done because "there is not a great supply of available quarterbacks and there is a demand for Smith."
Without a lot of quarterback talent available on the trade and free-agent market, not to mention even fewer viable options in the 2013 NFL draft class, Smith is sure to be a hot commodity this offseason.
While the 49ers could choose to release Smith, Schefter noted an advantage to making a trade:
There's one other factor to consider: If San Francisco deals Smith instead of cutting him, it would save the $1 million or $2 million roster bonus it would have to pay if he is released.
In addition, a trade could allow the organization to decide his future destination, hopefully keeping him out of its division.
Cleveland recently hired Norv Turner, who worked with Smith in 2006, as offensive coordinator. According to Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealer, Smith had some nice words to say about the time they spent together:
Loved my time with Norv...[It was] a very, very friendly QB system...He's a great play caller. I just remember he had a great feel for the game on gameday and a great feel for what the defense was doing.
The Browns spent a first-round pick last offseason on quarterback Brandon Weeden, but the 29-year-old rookie is actually older than Smith and not much of an upgrade.
Although Kansas City holds the No. 1 pick in the upcoming draft, the quarterback class is much weaker than it was a year ago.
Alex Smith has had an up-and-down career in San Francisco. In his first five seasons, he had a 19-31 record as a starting quarterback and lost his starting job multiple times.
However, he turned things around at the beginning of last season. He cut down on turnovers and led his team to a 19-5-1 record in the regular season.
Before suffering a concussion in Week 10, Smith was in the midst of one of the best seasons of his career.
Still, he lost his job to second-year player Colin Kaepernick shortly after his head injury (via Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com). The new starter was more dynamic with his arm and his legs, and head coach Jim Harbaugh thought he gave the team the best chance of winning.
This ended up being a smart decision, as Kaepernick led the 49ers to a 7-2 record and the Super Bowl.
Of course, Smith almost reached this point a year ago. After a four-touchdown performance to beat the New Orleans Saints in the divisional round of the playoffs, his team suffered a devastating overtime defeat to the New York Giants in the NFC Championship Game.
It seemed like Smith had finally gotten to the point where he would be the quarterback of the future for San Francisco.
Unfortunately, the coaching staff thought that Kaepernick brought more to the table. The 2011 second-round pick is now being groomed as the franchise quarterback.
This leaves Smith as an expensive backup who must be moved.
As teams look to upgrade before the beginning of the 2013 season, it would not be surprising to see anyone pay top dollar to acquire Smith.