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.
Become a fan of Birds 24/7 on Facebook.

Around The Web

Be respectful of our online community and contribute to an engaging conversation. We reserve the right to ban impersonators and remove comments that contain personal attacks, threats, or profanity, or are flat-out offensive. By posting here, you are permitting Philadelphia magazine and Metro Corp. to edit and republish your comment in all media.

  • The Guru

    Of course they kicked the tires on Smith (along with RGIII and Manning). They knew last year you couldn’t win with Vick….but had no other option.

  • theycallmerob

    Hmmm, still leaves you wondering….what kept him from signing last year? Vick’s salary? Someone in the FO who didn’t like him? He didn’t want to play in Philly, or for Reid?

    As you mentioned, Sheil, I guess we’ll know this offseason if Reid, Banner, or Roseman singled out Smith last year and plan to do the same again. I sure hope Roseman is the sensible one and stays away.

    • dislikedisqus

      I don’t see how they could have signed hom from a cap perspective.

  • EaglefaninAZ

    I’m confuzled (as usual). Smith was benched for Kaepernick? I thought he got injured.

    • thefadd

      but he didn’t get his job back when he came back from injury so potato/potahto

      • ICDogg

        It’s an important distinction because Smith did nothing to get benched except get injured.

        • Nick

          Also Smith’s regular season stats are actually better then Kaepernicks.

      • Alex Smith has always been a back up band aid for the 49ers. In 8 years he’s been relieved of the starting duties twice, and only 2 times in 8 years has he completed 16 games.

        He’s no better than Trent Edwards who sports a 60% completion percentage, and a 75% career QB Rating compared to Smith’s 59% and 79% QB Rating.

        • Bane of Kal’s existence

          Yeah, I remember when Trent Edwards won 20 of his last 25 games, threw 30tds-10ints in that span and took his team to the NFC Championship game. OH WAIT. Kal, you’re willfully abdicating logic because you obviously don’t like A Smith.

          • Smith is a decent human being, but I like Jim Harbaugh’s system better, which I believe attributed to the success of the 49ers more so than Smiths abilities in the pocket. Kapernick coming in and leading the team to a Super Bowl seem evident enough.

            Prior to Harbaugh, with the same skill position players Smith crapped out.

          • tnafam

            “Smith is a decent human being” that says alot. If you like the guy or okay with the guy you never would say that. Kaepernick has a stronger arm but he’s not so accurate. People blame the holding on crabtree or crabtree holding but that ball wasn’t going to be catchable anyways. If Kaepernick didn’t throw it so awful, crabtree still would have caught it for a touchdown.

  • thefadd

    I say worth a 5th round pic *next* season but I bet they get a couple suitors and land a 4th

    • ICDogg

      they’ll get *at least* a low 2nd or equivalent, I expect.

  • ICDogg

    Smith’s second-year base salary of $7.5 million is fully guaranteed only if Smith remains on the 49ers’ roster on April 1, 2013.

    • ICDogg

      In other words, the odds are the situation with Smith will be resolved before then.


    Who cares! A non story. I guess this idiot needed something to write about.

  • If he reaches free agency, sure. But don’t give up draft picks for a band-aid when the project for right now is long-term team remodeling.

  • Essell

    I think they need to just make the best use of who they have on hand and wait until next year’s draft, for crying out loud. Why give up valuable draft picks for Smith if he’s only a “band-aid”? Wait until next season.The Eagles are NOT going to turn it around in one year and go to the Super Bowl. This will take time at least 2-3 years thanks to Reid’s successful devastation of the team. What’s a couple of more years after FOURTEEN long and wasted YEARS of disappointment and frustration under Reid.

  • ncp2

    many people criticize smith for being nothing more than a game manager but the guy threw 70%, 13 td’s vs. 5 int’s in only 8.5 games this year… looking at our options… heck, i’ll order my #11 midnight green jersey today!

  • dirdir_215

    The eagles should not give up Michael Vick

  • dirdir_215

    get rid of Nick

  • Trading anything for Alex Smith is the Kevin Kolb trade in reverse….Some of you are considering giving up a valuable draft pick for a career 79% Quarterback rating, with a career 59% completion percent.

    Making a trade for Smith and giving up valuable picks in the draft will find the GM or Coach that makes that deal out of football in 2 years. Ask Ken Wisenhunt, who made a similar trade for Kolb.

    • Answer

      Actually, Larry Fitzgerald made the trade for Kolb, and Smith won’t cost a team anywhere near as much. Multiple teams want him, but few are likely to extend him beyond the 2 years left on his current contract. The Eagles and Chiefs especially are looking for a stop gap solution, a QB who will keep them competitive while they search for a long term answer at the position.

      • Serious Football Fans, don’t even mention Alex Smith. Smith is no better than what’s currently on the Eagles or Chief’s Roster and as a career with the 49ers has been a stop gap has he was before Differ, and Hill and now Kapernick. I’m pretty much sold on Andy Reid taking Geno Smith in this year’s draft.

        • im not saying alex smith is a pro bowl qb or anything of that nature, but to compare him to kevin kolb is a blind evaluation. kolb played sparingly in his years with the eagles, smith brought the 49ers to the NFC championship, and if it werent for those fumbles on punt returns, they would have been in the super bowl. Smith also literally threw his team in the championship game with his last second, lazer throw to davis. Smith has had a lot of bad years, but seems to be understanding what he can do in NFL, kind of in the mold of Jeff Garcia. Kevin Kolb…. not so fast my friend.

  • tgambogi

    Stick a fork in Vick, he’s done! Smith is a winner.

  • Charles Rudacille

    No question…Smith to the Eagles