Its pretty obvious the 49ers are moving on with Kaep and can't keep Alex Smith as a highly paid reserve, so it'll be an interesting question this coming offseason where he'll be headed and what the 49ers could possibly get in return.
1) Possible landing spots
I would argue that right now there is a pretty obvious leading candidate, namely the Chiefs.
There are a number of reasons why KC is a good fit:
They just signed Andy Reid. Alex would seem to be a perfect scheme fit for the West Coast Offense Reid wants to run. Plus, I figure that Reid, after living through a horrible couple of years with selfish players and prima donnas in Philly would really love to start his new tenure by acquiring a solid, high character leader at QB. Also, while KC has the first pick in the draft and thus is in prime position to draft a franchise QB, the consensus seems to be that there is no sure thing in this years draft. If KC would acquire Smith, that would allow them to focus on other areas of need and draft the best player available with their No.1 pick. Finally, KC has a potentially pretty decent defense (especially if they could use the No. 1 pick on one of the prime DL prosprects) and a good running game to support Smith. I think with a decent QB, they could contend pretty quickly. And unlike the other leading candidate Arizona, KC is not in the Niners division. It would be in the Niners best interest (more on that later) to keep Alex out of the NFC West. Finally, how about tradition (think Joe Montana).
Another team that would definately fit would be the Arizona Cardinals. If Smith gets released, I would expect him to sign with Arizona. As we know well, they have a real good defense and could contend quickly with a solid QB. The opportunity to show the Niners that they made a mistake by letting him go twice a year would be to good to pass up for Smith. Plus, he's a West Coast guy. If the Niners are able to trade Smith, they shouldn't and probably won't trade him to Arizona. Having a highly motivated Alex Smith with his intimate knowledge of the 49ers playbook as an opponent twice a year seems like a steep price to pay, unless Arizona would make the 49ers a ridiculous trade offer.
Other teams that might be interested include the Jets and Jaguars. The Jets could definately use Smith, but I think Smith wouldn't want to go there (who in his right mind would?) and I believe the Niners owe it to Smith to respect his wishes at least to a certain extent. The Jaguars in my opinion need a lot more than a solid QB to contend and should start from scratch with a rookie. Plus, the might get Tebow.
2) What coud the Niners get in return in a trade?
What the 49ers could get in return for Smith in a trade depends very much on whether the 49ers can get two or more teams in a bidding war. Considering that Smith is still pretty young, that there are not a lot of top QBs in this years draft, that he is respected as a high-character leader, that - unlike most trade candidates - he actually played his best football the last two seasons and that he is locked in to a very reasonable contract, I think the chances aren't bad that the 49ers would be able to get a significant return in a trade. In my estimation, they could get maybe two second round picks or one mid to late or future first rounder. I would expect the Chiefs to offer this year's and next year's 2d round pick, which would be a solid return.
What do you guys think? Where will Smith end up and what could the Niners get in return?