49ers general manager Trent Baalke formally met with the media at the NFL Combine on Thursday, and naturally he was asked about QB Alex Smith. The 49ers backup quarterback is a major topic of conversation this offseason, so it was only fitting that the media would get a couple questions in before the new league year starts. Big thanks to Matt Barrows for transcribing Baalke's press conference:
Have you had any conversations with Alex Smith?
TB: We have. In fact, I was out to dinner with Liz and Alex when we were back from the Super Bowl. Had a great conversation, a great dinner. Just a chance to sit down with him and go through what our thoughts are and listen to what their thoughts were as a family. And really get an understanding of what direction we wanted to go.
On the dinner with Alex Smith.
TB: It was excellent. It was Alex and his wife, Liz. We had a great meal, we had a great discussion. I can't say enough good things. If you ask anyone in the organization, they'll say the same thing. He is a pro's pro. Have nothing but great respect for him, his family. And we're certainly going to do everything in our power to make the best decision for everyone involved.
Is the option to trade him?
TB: There's, uh, I think that's part of it. We're going to look at all options available. Are we going to trade him for sure? That hasn't been decided.
As to that last question, it is not remotely surprising that Baalke would remain on the fence. The 49ers are looking into trade partners, but they likely have not found a deal completely to their liking. Andrew Brandt provided just such a translation:
49ers on trading Alex Smith: "No, that hasn’t been decided."Translation: "No, we haven't received an offer that we like yet."— Andrew Brandt (@adbrandt) February 21, 2013
This all comes as the Arizona Cardinals start to show up in trade rumors. Kent Somers is reporting that, "[t]here are decision-makers within the organization who like Smith." As to whether they actually would trade for him?
But would the Cardinals trade for him? I doubt it. They traded for Kevin Kolb less than two years ago, and I have a hard time seeing them pulling off another deal for a different quarterback now. A strong case can be made that Kolb, when healthy, is as talented as Smith. The problem, of course, is that Kolb has not been healthy much.
There is some question whether the 49ers would trade Smith within the division, but if the right deal is there, I think they make it. It has been interesting seeing the ideas being thrown around in the comments about Smith's trade value. Some people see an early round pick, some would be fine with a fourth or fifth, some think the 49ers need to land Darrelle Revis in some kind of deal. I've even seen Tebow suggestions!
Whatever the case, it will be an interesting month of speculation. As I said in the video, I think the Chiefs and Cardinals are your favorites, but I really do think the Browns are a dark-horse. If they're fine rolling the dice with Brandon Weeden for another year, so be it. But if they think they can do better, Smith is a great option to reunite with Norv Turner. Just my two cents.