On a relatively slow sports news Sunday, CBS’s Jason LaCanfora dropped a bit of a bombshell, tweeting that the San Francisco 49ers have expressed to others that a trade for Alex Smith is already “effectively complete” although the deal can’t be finalized until the new league year begins on March 12.
LaCanfora followed up his tweet with another, saying he didn’t know the team San Francisco has a deal with in place, but did name Kansas City and Jacksonville as the two teams that would make sense.
Assuming LaCanfora’s report is spot-on; Smith’s cap hit to his next team is $9.75 million, although the team acquiring can rework a new deal. With that number it’s easy to assume Smith will serve as a stop gap starter wherever he’s headed.
Could the team soon acquiring Smith actually be Buffalo? If you’re to believe recent reports that say new coach Doug Marrone informed Ryan Fitzparick and Tavares Jackson they’ll go into training camp with an open competition for the starting job…then the answer is no.
Then again, Russ Brandon also said that Fitzpatrick’s roster spot is not completely secure, so who really knows for sure.
Here’s what is for sure—Fitzpatrick is due a $3 million roster bonus at 4:00pm on the second day of the 2013 league year (March 13) and there’s no way he’s staying if Smith is coming via trade.
Marrone’s claim about an open competition at quarterback doesn’t mean that Buffalo hasn’t been interested in Smith from the outset. I recall a recent tweet from NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport claiming Bills brass asked head coaching candidates if they could work with Smith during coaching interviews.
Again, if Rapoport is accurate on the Bills coaching search process, it’s a clear sign Russ Brandon and Buddy Nix like Smith.
Regardless if Smith ends up coming to Buffalo or not, it’s unlikely to change the team’s draft plans. You can expect a quarterback to come off the board to Buffalo sometime within the first three rounds.
I’m sure we’ll learn more about Smith’s destination from a reporter over the coming days— make that hours in today’s social media world.
My guess, purely a guess at this point is that Smith’s headed to Kansas City. Andy Reid likes him and it allows them to draft offensive tackle Luke Joeckel first overall to potentially replace free agent Brandon Albert.
We should find out soon enough.
**UPDATE** Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times Union reports it’s not the Jags that have a deal in place, according to their GM.