With the caveat that everyone fibs at this time of the year: I'm told the #49ers do not have a trade deal in place for Alex Smith.— Matt Barrows (@mattbarrows) February 25, 2013
The 49ers have expressed to others that a deal for QB Alex Smith is effectively complete. Can't be finalized til league year begins 3/12— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) February 24, 2013
so it's not official, both clubs view it at as it's effectively done. I do not know the other team. KC and JAX are 2 teams that make sense— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) February 24, 2013
ESPN's Adam Schefter went on to confirm Barrows' report that the 49ers do not currently have a deal in place to trade Smith:
There is no deal in place right now, sources said.
There are still two weeks until the new league year begins (March 12 at 4 p.m. ET via CSN Bay Area) and trades can be finalized, and while there are likely negotiations going on throughout the offseason, the 49ers would gain nothing by having a deal already in place.
San Francisco wants to get a return worth making the move, and allowing teams the time to formulate deals and react to counterproposals is imperative to moving Smith in a timely fashion while still getting the value the team desires.
What will happen to Alex Smith?
After never given the opportunity to find any kind of rhythm in the early portion his career, Smith had blossomed into a viable starter on a playoff-caliber team under Jim Harbaugh’s system.
While Kaepernick was the better fit for the 49ers in 2012 (helping the team reach the Super Bowl), Smith could be a major upgrade for many teams in the NFL.
There will be a few teams very interested in trading for Smith—a veteran that has been battled tested with adversity from Day 1 in the NFL—and likely candidates for a deal would be any franchise struggling at QB and looking for a fair-priced starter.
Smith never had the overwhelming power or elite numbers (averaging 6.56 yards per completion), but a passer rating of 104.1 and a completion percentage of 70.2 in the 10 games the veteran started in 2012 prove he now has a grasp for the NFL game.
With a $9 million cap hit over the next two seasons (h/t Spotrac), paying that much for a backup QB is not what San Francisco wants to use that money for, so a deal still will likely happen eventually.