What Is the Next Step for the 49ers After Trading Alex Smith to the Chiefs?
Well, it's all but official, the San Francisco 49ers have a deal in principle (via Jay Glazer) to send backup quarterback Alex Smith to the Kansas City Chiefs for two picks in total. Glazer didn't provide insight into the compensation, but Tim Kawakami of the Mercury News did. San Francisco will receive the Chiefs' second-round pick in 2013 and a similar pick in 2014:
An NFL source says that the framework of the deal is that the 49ers will get a No. 2 pick this year and a similar pick in the 2014 draft.— Tim Kawakami (@timkawakami) February 27, 2013
An absolute undressing of Andy Reid and Kansas City's front office if you ask me. We all know Smith put up incredible numbers since Jim Harbaugh settled in as the 49ers head coach in 2011, but no matter what the argument is, you can't convince me that he's worth two draft picks, especially a top pick in the second round.
He's a 28-year old quarterback that has major limitations in terms of his physical skill set. Not to mention many believe he has reached his overall ceiling as a player, despite the continual progression he has shown the last two years.
Without question Reid will maximize his talent to the fullest, as he does with every quarterback, but for once in his coaching career he was fleeced in a trade. Usually he is the one trading away a quarterback with average talent for a high-round draft pick.
Regardless, Smith is no longer a member of the 49ers and his cap number of $9.75 million is off the books for good. And as the draft picks increase in number, they will need all the room they can get as their total cap will sit at $115,712,485 after the deal goes through on March 12.
In all, San Francisco now has 15 picks total in the draft this year and five inside the top 100. Astonishing, based on the fact that Harbaugh and company played rookies very sparingly throughout the 2012 season. Even rookie wide receiver A.J. Jenkins was a complete non-factor all season long despite his lofty draft status.
Are the 49ers now in prime position to make a trade on draft day, or are they more apt to go and get a bigger star on the trade block? That's the million dollar question at this point: What are they going to do with all those picks? Because there's no way 15 draft selections are making a roster that is already stacked from top to bottom.
Owning four picks through three rounds of the draft means they could find four instant starters if need be. The most likely scenario would have the 49ers drafting two defensive linemen, a safety and a wide receiver. One would think that one of the starting linemen would be a nose tackle and the other would be a player that could be groomed as Justin Smith's replacement.
The safety would be an obvious replacement for free-agent to be Dashon Goldson and the wide receiver could easily be a guy who stretches the field and contributes mightily in the return game. Terrance Williams from Baylor and Marquise Goodwin from Texas could both be options in the third round.
As I mentioned earlier, the 49ers would also be in a position to make a draft-day trade. They could package the 31st pick and another pick to move up even farther in the first round to select a guy who they have a high grade on. When an organization holds as many picks as the Niners do, the options are essentially endless.
Yet you could also look at things from the other end of the spectrum as well. Maybe there isn't a player that holds a ton of value to them at the end of the first-round, or maybe there's a certain cornerback that they have their eyes set on that resides in New York.
Before you totally nix the thought of a trade for Darelle Revis, hear me out.
Right now there are very few teams that have the ability to trade for the best defensive back in the game. Undoubtedly he will command multiple draft picks and a team that has the cap room to facilitate the arrival of his $9 million cap number.
Coincidentally enough, San Francisco has the ability to meet both of those demands. They are also a team that could stand an upgrade at cornerback after its embarrassing performance against the Baltimore Ravens at this year's Super Bowl.
It's also worth noting that the 49ers' front office may have some leverage in negotiations with the Jets. Revis is coming off of a torn ACL and there are no guarantees as to how the knee will respond to the operation. He has vowed to return to full strength, but in reality that means nothing until we see how his knee responds on the field.
Would Darrelle Revis take the 49ers' defense to the next level?
The only potential hangup in a proposed deal would be the fact Revis wants a new deal and wants to be paid like Mario Williams at $16 million a year, according to Clark Judge of CBS Sports. The likelihood of that happening would be slim to none given his age and the 49ers' cap constraints.
He will be 28 when the season begins in September, which means the organization wouldn't want to tie up a bunch of money for five or six years. It's more likely to see them willing to guarantee two or three years of the deal with potential escalators throughout the length of the contract.
To me, the fit is there, so why not go out and make a splash. Add that one piece that could help you cement your footprint in history. The Lombardi Trophy is the ultimate prize and the 49ers haven't hoisted that trophy since 1994. And for anyone that knows Harbaugh, you know he won't be satisfied until he has reached the pinnacle.
So here's your chance Harbaugh, make a splash so you can hoist the same trophy that your brother hoisted this year.
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