The San Francisco 49ers second-string quarterback isn't as dynamic as Colin Kaepernick, doesn't possess as strong an arm as Joe Flacco and isn't as bold as Jay Cutler. That said, he's a viable starting quarterback who has the chops to lead an efficient offense and will be a great leader for one lucky team in 2013.
If the 49ers trade or release him, that is.
On January 28, 2013, Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio wrote, "a source with knowledge of the situation tells PFT that Smith is expected to seek his release before the start of free agency."
Then, less than a week later, ESPN's Adam Schefter wrote:
The San Francisco 49ers will attempt to trade quarterback Alex Smith this offseason, according to league sources, and some believe they will be able to do it because there is not a great supply of available quarterbacks and there is a demand for Smith.
After these two reports, it seemed a foregone conclusion that Smith wouldn't be wearing a 49ers uniform in 2013, but head coach Jim Harbaugh came out after Super Bowl XLVII with a statement that muddied the waters.
According to the Sacramento Bee's Matt Barrows, Harbaugh said:
I don't think any player has those wishes granted when they're under contract. And everything's different and every scenario is unique. Certainly something that we're not going to delve into and get into specifics at this point.
Harbaugh's statement matched the tone of 49ers CEO Jed York, who made the observation before Super Bowl XLVII that the 49ers had plenty of salary-cap room to keep Smith on the roster in 2013 (per Barrows' report).
Interpretation: The 49ers won't likely let Smith walk without getting something in return.
Personally, I would be shocked if Smith is on San Francisco's roster next season. There are plenty of quarterback-needy teams that will be willing to part with valuable draft picks, and Trent Baalke seems to follow the Bill Belichick model of hoarding picks.
So which quarterback-needy teams would be the best fit for Smith, and vice versa?