The San Francisco 49ers are expected to trade quarterback Alex Smith before the 2013 NFL draft. And the Kansas City Chiefs may be the team San Francisco tangos with.
According to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com earlier this week:
Word is starting to leak of their interest in the San Francisco 49ers' backup quarterback. At this point, based on what I'm hearing, Kansas City has shown more interest than anyone else in dealing for a quarterback who could step in and start from Day 1 while the rest of the franchise is rebuilt. The 49ers spent this week trying to lay ground for a [Alex] Smith deal, and they'll do the same next week before trading becomes an official option on March 12, when free agency begins.
A person briefed on the Chiefs' thinking in regard to Matt Cassel said the veteran quarterback has not been offered a pay cut from his slated salary of $7.5 million. The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the team hasn't talked about Cassel's contract situation in detail, said it seems Cassel is destined to be released soon.
At this juncture the Chiefs potentially have some interesting pieces of their rebuilding puzzle brewing.
Regarding Smith, he would be a great fix for Kansas City under center. Since Jim Harbaugh took over the 49ers entering the 2011 campaign, Smith has tossed 30 touchdowns to only 10 picks and sported a 65.7 completion percentage.
Unsurprisingly, San Francisco reached the NFC Championship Game in Harbaugh's first year and was 6-2 last season before Colin Kaepernick took over for the concussed Smith. Kansas City, though, has a dire need for a quarterback.
The 2013 draft class doesn't offer a quarterback prospect worthy of the No. 1 overall selection.
Geno Smith of West Virginia is the best signal-caller of this class, but it would not be surprising to see him drop to Round 2. There also isn't much to check out in free agency.
In turn, landing Texas A&M offensive tackle Luke Joeckel at No. 1 would then set the stage for Alex Smith.
The guy brings reliable mobility, decision-making and has the arm to make every thrown. Factor in solid mechanics and Smith will up the Chiefs' passing attack.
Coach Andy Reid and Co. also provides Alex Smith with a sound running game. Jamaal Charles is one of pro football's best ball-carriers and he hit 1,509 yards in 2012, while also averaging 5.3 yards per rush. That impact will easily set up the play-action and keep defenses honest.
What also enhances Alex Smith's appeal is leadership. Per Jeffri Chadiha of ESPN.com:
In 2011 alone, while the league was held up by a lockout, Smith gathered his teammates for informal workouts and helped them learn a new offense.
Smith's critics casually forget that he easily could've blown off those sessions and focused on finding a new team. He didn't owe the 49ers anything at that point, and his contract had expired. Smith ultimately helped his teammates because he thought they needed some leadership in a tough situation.
He is a veteran with established postseason capabilities in leading San Francisco to a victory over Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints. Smith then nearly led the 49ers to the Super Bowl had it not been for Eli Manning and the New York Giants.
Would the Chiefs become annual AFC playoff contenders if Alex Smith was their QB?
Prior to getting replaced by Kaepernick last season, Smith had also logged victories over Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford and Russell Wilson. He may not be the most electric quarterback when it comes to burning the stat sheet and firing lasers all over the field, but Smith knows how to be effective.
His pocket awareness drastically increased once Harbaugh took over and that will only continue should K.C. make a move. The Chiefs possess the talent around him to keep rolling, and the AFC West isn't nearly as defensively stout as the NFC West.
Kansas City can then look to draft a quarterback in Round 2 or 3 and let Smith orchestrate the attack in the immediate future. It's a win-win situation for each party and the guy certainly deserves another starting opportunity in the NFL.