Alex Smith trade: Why would a deal with the Chiefs (or anybody) be done now?

Brian Bahr

The 49ers have reportedly found a trading partner for Alex Smith. Is it really possible a deal is already done with two weeks remaining before trades can become official?

In case you missed it yesterday afternoon, Jason LaCanfora reported that the 49ers had begun informing teams that they had a deal "effectively complete" to trade Alex Smith. LaCanfora did not know the other team, but the Jaguars GM was quick to say they were not involved. Later in the afternoon, Mary Kay Cabot reported sources indicated the Cleveland Browns were not involved.

Most every rumor floating around the Internet has the 49ers working out a deal with the Kansas City Chiefs. It remains to be seen what that deal includes, but if the deal is already more or less done, both sides would hopefully be somewhat happy with the return. We will not officially know what the return is until the deal is allowed to go through on March 12. In the meantime, we'll hear plenty of rumors and speculation. Former Chiefs GM Scott Piolo thought the 49ers could get a second or third round pick for Smith. Some rumors on the Internet include a potential fourth round pick in 2013 and conditional pick in 2014.

It should all be taken with a grain of salt given that we are still two weeks away from the start of the league year. Matt Barrows is skeptical given how much time remains. However, he did think a deal could conceivably be just about done if Smith was given a say in his final destination, the Chiefs were among those potential landing spots, and the 49ers felt they were getting a fair return. This of course is all assuming it is in fact the Chiefs.

Some have asked in the comments and on Twitter if the 49ers are spreading this around to shake loose other teams and potentially heighten the bidding. If the 49ers were telling some teams they had a deal almost done when they don't, that strikes me as a rather high risk game of chicken. And if they do have a deal just about done, is it the best business practice to draw out another bidder after the fact and then withdraw from the deal they have already made?

The folks at Arrowhead Pride have their own take on this, and they're calling BS on something this early.

I'm all for a good rumor but something smells fishy here. I'm not saying the Chiefs aren't interested but this report seems to be about two steps ahead of itself.
.....
This is minor but another inconsistency is that La Canfora states that "both teams" view the deal as "effectively complete' and in the next sentence he says he doesn't know who the other team is. If you don't know who the other team is, how can we know if it's legit? We can't. We're taking the word of one source who has motivation to bend the truth.

Unfortunately (or fortunately, maybe), we have two weeks until we get a final answer on all this. What do you think at this point?

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