Did the Eagles Court Alex Smith Last Year?

It’s becoming increasingly clear that the Eagles did not want to go into last season with Michael Vick as their only option at quarterback.

There have already been multiple reports indicating that they looked into signing Peyton Manning. And rumors have surfaced about them trying to trade up to pick Robert Griffin III.

But here’s a new name to add to to that mix: Alex Smith.

“There was a courtship last year, to a certain degree,” ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer told Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle.

If you recall, Smith was a free agent, and the 49ers were in the mix for Manning’s services. Smith even took a visit to Miami to meet with the Dolphins, but ultimately, he went back to San Francisco.

“I don’t know a whole lot,” Dilfer added. “I just know there was a courtship. It was not even an inside source, you know what I mean? It was just kind of the scuttle in the offseason.”

As the piece points out, Dilfer and Smith are close friends and former teammates.

Going forward, the 49ers are likely to deal Smith in the offseason. Andy Reid and the Chiefs could be a suitor. Same with Joe Banner and the Browns. And of course, Chip Kelly, Howie Roseman and the Eagles too.

The class of free-agent quarterbacks is extremely underwhelming. Michael Vick might be the best option on the market (assuming the Eagles let him go). Teams in need of QB help won’t have a lot of options, other than Smith, Vick and potentially Matt Flynn (would also require a trade).

Some have suggested that Smith could be released outright. And while that’s possible, the 49ers seem to be in a great spot here. If they can get multiple teams interested, it will drive the price up. If the Eagles want Smith, they’ll have to compete with other teams and offer up the best package.

Smith was completing 70.2 percent of his passes this season when he got benched for Colin Kaepernick. He’s thrown 30 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in his last 25 starts. The guess here is that the Eagles would be looking at Smith as a “band-aid” option. What I mean is, acquiring Smith would not preclude them from still looking at other QB options (potentially in next year’s draft). If that’s the case, how much would the Eagles really be willing to give up in a trade for him?

That’s one of the questions that needs to be answered in the coming weeks.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
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