NFL Rumors: Alex Smith Will Garner More Interest Later in Offseason

Ryan DavenportContributor IFebruary 18, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - NOVEMBER 11: Quarterback Alex Smith #11 and head coach Jim Harbaugh of the San Francisco 49ers talk during a break in play against St. Louis Rams in the first quarter on November 11, 2012 at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California.  Smith left the game in the second quarter and the teams tied 24-24 in overtime.  (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
Brian Bahr/Getty Images

For a guy who led his team to within a game of a Super Bowl a year ago, the demand for Alex Smith has been rather underwhelming. 

It's not as if Smith was replaced by Colin Kaepernick due to his inability to win, Kaepernick was simply the best backup quarterback in football, and Jim Harbaugh believed he gave the San Francisco 49ers a better chance to win.

And now, with Smith eager to prove that he's a capable No. 1 quarterback, one would think that there would be a number of teams jumping in line to acquire a guy who could be a franchise signal-caller, right? 

 But that hasn't been the case so far, at least according to Rotoworld

ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported on NFL LiveWednesday that the trade market for Alex Smith is "limited," and there is "not a large buzz" about Smith among quarterback-needy teams.
Specifically, Smith going to the Browns is a "long shot," per Mortensen. The Jets can't afford his contract, the Cardinals are the 49ers' division opponent, and the Chiefs might explore Nick Foles or Geno Smith first. Anyone who's kept tabs on Smith the past two years won't be surprised.

Smith was available in 2012 free agency, and only the 49ers and Dolphins showed much interest in him -- both after missing out on other quarterbacks. Smith's physical skill set is just borderline starting-caliber, and he was benched this past season. The 49ers won't get more than a mid- to late-round pick on the trade market.

That said, once the 2013 NFL draft is in the books and all of the newly minted head coaches get situated, Smith will be an intriguing option for teams looking for stability at quarterback.

No, Smith isn't the most physically gifted quarterback on the market, but there's one thing he does bring to the table that coaches won't overlook, and that's a winning pedigree.

He was in the process of leading the 49ers back to the postseason this year, and the guy led his team to a 13-3 record a year ago. When is the last time a quarterback that won 13 games in a season went unwanted by all 32 teams a year later?

Sure, the 49ers are unlikely to get much in return for their former No. 1 overall pick, but there will be a market for him once the chaos and uncertainty of the draft is finished, because he's simply too good of a player not to generate interest.

He's thrown 30 touchdowns and just 10 picks (racking up just 13 total turnovers) in the last two seasons and proved that he is a legitimate starting quarterback in the process, and that's why someone will give him a shot next season.