Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians made an interesting revelation during a radio interview on Tuesday. He confirmed that the Cardinals did in fact approach the San Francisco 49ers about acquiring quarterback Alex Smith during the 2013 offseason. Arians said the 49ers quickly shot down the Cardinals.
This is not exactly a shocking revelation, but I figured it was worth posting just to sort of put a bow on some old rumors. Back in February 2013, the rumor mill began in earnest as to the future of Alex Smith. Colin Kaepernick had taken over the starting job halfway through the 2012 season, and proceeded to help lead the 49ers to Super Bowl 47. It was fairly evident the 49ers would look to trade Smith in the offseason.
In late February, word started spreading that the Cardinals might be interested in a deal. Kent Somers had reported some within the Cardinals organization were interested in Smith. That was followed a few days later by Somers reporting the team was in fact exploring the possibility of trading for Smith. Eventually the Cleveland Browns were reportedly in the mix, and it all ended with the Kansas City Chiefs working out a deal for Smith.
The notion that the 49ers shot down Arizona fairly quickly would indicate they wanted to avoid dealing Smith within the division. This was a little different than when Philadelphia traded Donovan McNabb to Washington. McNabb was nearing the end of his career, and the Eagles clearly had zero worries about him in Washington. Alex Smith was coming off the best season and a half of his career. While the 49ers might not have been overly concerned about him as an opponent, it made sense just to move him to the AFC and thus only face him in the regular season once every four years.