The 49ers have reportedly put together a steal of a deal, as all reports indicate they have traded Alex Smith to the Kansas City Chiefs. After some initial speculation on the nature of the picks involved, Tim Kawakami is reporting he has confirmed with sources that the picks are a second round pick in 2013 and a conditional third round pick in 2014. The 2014 pick can apparently turn into a second round pick with a certain number of Chiefs wins.
In completing this deal, the 49ers have set themselves up in great position to do most anything in the 2013 NFL Draft. Trent Baalke has shown no qualms about dealing up and down the draft, and we can be all but assured that will happen this year.
At the same time, the numerous picks has plenty of people speculating that the 49ers now might make a move for Darrelle Revis or Percy Harvin. Their names came up as the two highest profile players on the trade market, both playing positions where the 49ers could use some help.
And yet, I don't see either deal happening. The 49ers have an embarrassment of riches in terms of draft picks, but they do not have that when it comes to salary cap space. In dealing Alex Smith, the 49ers will open up some solid cap space when the Alex Smith deal is allowed to go through on March 12. They realistically could afford to trade for both players and fit them within the 2013 cap.
That is not the point. The problem is the future money both want and will eventually get. Percy Harvin has indicated he will hold out this fall if he does not get a new contract, and Darrelle Revis is no stranger to the holdout. Both guys are looking for more money, and expecting some fairly significant bucks.
The 49ers could decide they want to roll the dice one either of those guys to get over the hump. If we assume Darrelle Revis comes back at close to 100%, adding Revis to the secondary puts the 49ers in a pretty ridiculous position. However, if the 49ers are thinking about the bigger picture (as I have to think Baalke is doing), there is a lot of internal work to be done to build this team for the long haul.
Don't forget that the 49ers are eventually going to need to consider a variety of players for contract extensions. Michael Crabtree, Anthony Davis and Mike Iupati are all eligible for extensions right now. Next year, Colin Kaepernick, Aldon Smith, Kendall Hunter and Chris Culliver are all eligible for extensions. The 49ers may not re-sign all of these players, but adding players like Revis or Harvin with the intent to make them more than one-year rentals puts the 49ers in a tough position with the rest of the roster.
A Revis or Harvin trade just does not strike me as Baalke's style. Sure the 49ers are in a unique position, but as we saw in 2011, and to a lesser extent in 2012, Baalke and the 49ers personnel department are willing to work the long con as they try and build the 49ers into a consistent winner. I believe acquiring a Revis or Harvin at this point, with this roster, puts the 49ers in a position where they find themselves in cap hell down the road. I could be underestimating the power of Paraag Marathe and company, but why get into that situation when the team is already in such a great position?
I do think cornerback depth is a need, but I think it is a wiser course of action to build that through the draft, and potentially seeing what Perrish Cox brings to the table in year two. It is not the sexy move, but I believe it is the prudent move that represents the best mix of short and long-term planning. I'm sure plenty will disagree, but I think that slightly more conservative style is what the 49ers need at this point in time, with the roster as it is currently situated.