Expect Alex Smith’s name to come up quite a bit in the coming weeks.
The story is pretty well-known at this point: The former No. 1 overall pick, in the midst of his best season as a pro, lost his job to Colin Kaepernick after suffering a concussion against the Rams back in November. Kaepernick pounced on the opportunity and has the Niners one win away from a Lombardi. Smith is now the odd-man out in San Francisco.
“It sucks, to put it frankly,” Smith told Peter King. “Tough pill to swallow.”
Smith has handled the situation well by all accounts, but the circumstances are such where it makes sense for both parties to move on. The 28-year-old is scheduled to make $8.5 million next season, $7.5 of which is reportedly guaranteed on April 1. According to PFT, Smith is expected to ask for his outright release before the start of free agency. It seems more likely that the 49ers would try to work out a trade. This is a thin quarterback market, and they might be able to get a decent return.
CBS Sports recently put together a list of the top five quarterbacks that could potentially be available in free agency, and it’s not great. Joe Flacco is one, and there’s no chance the Ravens let him walk. Michael Vick is second, Smith is third, and Brian Hoyer and Kevin Kolb round out the list.
The Eagles have a little more time than first expected to make a decision on Vick (more on that in a second), but a decision will have to be made nonetheless. If Chip Kelly opts to part with No. 7, there is logic to bringing in a veteran to compete with Nick Foles. Smith ran the spread-option under Urban Meyer at Utah, which could be appealing to Kelly. And he would be getting a motivated QB who has thrown 30 touchdowns to 10 interceptions over the past two seasons, helping the Niners to a 19-5-1 record in that time.
In a year with no slam-dunk options at quarterback, Smith may be an option worth exploring.
WHAT YOU MISSED
LeSean McCoy issues an apology after his Twitter spat.
As Kapadia writes, there are some deal-breakers for Kelly when it comes to personnel.
Billy Davis is now in the mix for the Eagles’ DC job.
Mike Mayock breaks down the QB draft class.
Just how young are the Eagles? Sheil takes a look.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
More on Vick:
Jason La Canfora reports that the Eagles are not in a rush to make a decision on Vick.
Much has been made of the fact that $3 million of Mike Vick’s $16.5 million deal with the Eagles becomes guaranteed if he is on their roster come Feb. 6, but sources said that issue is not a concern at this time, and it’s unlikely Vick’s contract will be resolved before then.
New coach Chip Kelly is evaluating the situation and how Vick fits in his spread offense. The Eagles are determining how much they might be willing to pay Vick, if they do ask him to take a pay cut. Vick will not absorb any significant salary cut to remain with the Eagles, sources said, but there could be some wiggle room to work something out.
Jeff McLane explains why the Eagles might not be so concerned about that $3 million guarantee kicking in:
The Eagles quarterback is due that amount on Feb. 6, but the team is likely to buy time until the start of free agency on March 11 because of a provision in Vick’s contract.
The Eagles would only owe him the money if no one else picked him up or if someone signed him for less than $3 million, per an NFL source.
Plenty more on what is turning out to be a busy offseason for the Birds.
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