The San Francisco 49ers and a mystery team reportedly have a deal in place for veteran quarterback Alex Smith, according to CBSSports.com. After losing his starting job to Colin Kaepernick in the middle of last season, Smith will be looking to start elsewhere.
CBSSports.com's Jason La Canfora broke the news via his twitter account:
Jason La Canfora @JasonLaCanfora
The 49ers have expressed to others that a deal for QB Alex Smith is effectively complete. Can't be finalized til league year begins 3/122013-2-24 22:51:58
While the second team is not known, some teams have denied interest. The Florida Times-Union is reporting that the Jaguars aren't the team, and Cleveland.com is reporting that it's not the Browns either.
As La Canfora mentioned, a trade can't be completed until the new league year starts on March 12. Nevertheless, that won't stop fans from speculating.
Here are some of the best landings spots for Smith once he can be officially traded.
Kansas City Chiefs
This landing spot makes the most sense for both parties. The Chiefs desperately need a new quarterback after Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn combined for eight passing touchdowns last season. With Cassel likely to be cut, it's clear new head coach Andy Reid is looking to bring in a new quarterback. With a weak draft class, it makes sense for the Chiefs to trade for Smith.
Playing with Reid would be a huge plus for Smith. Reid's coaching resume speaks for itself with eight years of double-digit wins. He developed and received strong play out of Donovan McNabb, and he brought out the talent in players like Michael Vick, Kevin Kolb and even briefly with Nick Foles.
During nine of Reid's 14 seasons with Eagles, the team finished in the top half of the league in terms of offense, including six times in the top 10. Clearly, Smith would be able to come in and learn from Reid.
Acquiring Smith by trade would allow the Chiefs to focus their draft efforts on other positions. They could use their first overall pick to beef up their offensive or defensive line and go wide receiver with the second pick. That type of talent overhaul would be hugely beneficial to a team with a good amount of talent already, including Jamaal Charles. If they can keep Dwayne Bowe, the Chiefs could have a dangerous attack led by Smith.
The Cardinals got absolutely terrible play from the quarterback position last season. Brian Hoyer, Ryan Lindley and John Skelton were atrocious while Kevin Kolb wasn't much better. They combined for a quarterback rating of 63.1 over the year. It's safe to say the Cardinals would benefit from having a legitimate quarterback.
While the Cardinals don't have as much talent in place as the other teams listed in this article, they do have wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald. Pairing Smith with Fitzgerald would instantly give the Cardinals an improved passing attack. They need to add more pieces on offense, but Smith would give them a huge piece of the puzzle.
Being divisional rivals of the 49ers might make trading for Smith a little more difficult for the Cardinals. They may be forced to give up more, but in the end it would be worth it to bring Smith to the desert.
The Vikings have claimed they are committed to the development of Christian Ponder, but Minnesota would be a strong fit for Alex Smith nonetheless.
Ponder has shown some good things during his first two years in the league, but just how high his ceiling is remains a big question. With Adrian Peterson in the height of his prime, it could make sense for the Vikings to get a quarterback more suited to winning now.
Outside of one terrible game last season, Smith was incredibly efficient in 2012, finishing with a quarterbacking rating of 104.1. His efficiency is exactly what the Vikings need out of the quarterback position—somebody who can consistently make plays without turning the ball over.
This landing spot is definitely a dark horse, but it would seem to benefit both sides. Trading for Smith and adding a wide receiver early in the draft could be exactly what the Vikings need to take the next step.