The San Francisco 49ers are gearing up for Super Bowl XLVII. However, the quarterback that earned the franchise several wins to open the season will be watching the game transpire from the sidelines.
After Alex Smith went down with a concussion against the St. Louis Rams, backup Colin Kaepernick was given the starting nod in a Week 10 matchup against the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football. Kaepernick thrashed the Monsters (who looked a lot like mice) of the Midway and has since forgotten where the Niners’ bench is.
Thus, the $8.5 million question, as that is the amount of money Smith will be owed if he is still on the roster come April 1, is where the former No. 1-overall pick is headed.
Will he be traded? Obviously, the organization would like to get something in return for arguably the league’s most talented backup (sorry, Mr. Tebow). However, there may not be too many teams out there willing to absorb such a large contract.
Will he be released? Smith has reportedly asked to be cut outright, providing him the freedom to sign with whomever he likes. However, the player runs the risk of never seeing anywhere close to the $8.5 million mark if he had just parked his rear in San Fran and decided he was not going to leave. Further, the team gets nothing in return for this immense talent.
Smith will not be on the 49ers next season.
He has the mobility, accuracy and the smarts to succeed within a unique offensive system. Thus, with offensive mastermind Chip Kelly leaving Oregon for the NFL, the Philadelphia Eagles have emerged as one of the top landing spots for the young Smith.
Yes, Michael Vick is on the roster. However, his skills are rapidly declining as he nears 34 years of age. Nick Foles, a third-round selection out of the 2012 NFL Draft, saw significant playing time as Vick dealt with various injuries. However, the jury is still out on whether Foles can handle the responsibilities of an NFL signal caller.
Thus, Dan Graziano believes Smith could be headed across the country just like Philly’s new coach.
“The 49ers succeeded with Smith last year and early this year because they were able to accentuate his strengths and prop him up with a strong support system — run game, offensive line, defense. With LeSean McCoy and Bryce Brown, the Eagles have enough in the run game to keep defenses honest on early downs and stay out of the types of third-and-long situations that don’t play to Smith’s strengths. Assuming all of their injured offensive linemen come back healthy, they should have a strong line … A move like this also wouldn’t close the door on Nick Foles, a player Kelly has said he likes. Kaepernick obviously developed quickly as a backup behind Smith, and there’s nothing to say Foles couldn’t do so as well with the proper coaching. Adding a reliable if unspectacular veteran in front of Foles would offer the team more time to figure out what they have in last year’s third-round pick without exposing him to game pressure for which he may not be ready … Smith is one that seems to make some sense for the Eagles. The question is what it will take to get him.”
Again, that is the $8.5 million question. What do you think, Gamedayr Nation? After he spends the Super Bowl on the sidelines, where will Alex Smith wind up?