From first round pick, to first round bust, to trade bait … Alex Smith’s career in San Francisco was a roller coaster. Before the Jim Harbaugh era, Alex Smith’s production as a quarterback made Candlestick Park look like an amusement park.
Over the last two seasons, he has rebranded himself as an efficient game manager who just wins. And now he has been sent packin.’
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The Niners and Chiefs struck a deal to send over the seventh-year QB for some draft picks. It couldn’t be any better for Smith as the Chiefs plan to make a “clear commitment” to the quarterback, according to FOXSports.com NFL insider Jay Glazer.
Laces Out looks into the other rumored destinations for Smith and why they would’ve been a colossal failure.
Accurate. Efficient. Safe. All attributes precisely describe Smith’s traits as a QB and are the exact opposite of what Arizona needs. New head coach Bruce Arians needs a gunslinger. The Cardinals have a legit 1-2 punch in Beanie Wells and Ryan Williams and wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald is one of the league’s best deep threats. The Cardinals offense must employ a quarterback, who can knife the ball into the opponent’s secondary. Alex Smith isn’t that guy. He takes what the defense gives him and moves the chains. Arizona would’ve been a terrible fit.
New head coach Gus Bradley inherits two options at quarterback: Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne. That’s just repulsive. The franchise invested, err wasted, a first round pick in Blaine Gabbert just two seasons ago and he hasn’t done anything. Chad Henne proved to be a valuable stopgap, but wasn’t much more than that. Smith could’ve breathed life into the corpse that is the Jaguars offense … wait a minute, no he couldn’t have. Young talents like Cecil Shorts, Justin Blackmon and Laurent Robinson are mediocre at best and team owner Shahid Khan’s hesitation to extend Maurice Jones-Drew’s contract is baffling. Smith would’ve crashed and burned in Jacksonville.
Thankfully, Smith won’t have to shop for cold-weather clothes. Would Buffalo really have been a realistic destination? Well, here are the facts: Current Bills QB Ryan Fitzpatrick went to Harvard. He signed a $62 million contract in 2011. Those are two huge strikes against him because nobody likes Harvard twerps (does he think he’s better than us?!) and people REALLY hate overpaid quarterbacks who have directed back-to-back 6-10 seasons. Buffalo could have made a play for Smith and possibly saved itself from paying Fitzpatrick a $3 million roster bonus by cutting the Ivy Leaguer before the due date in March. While the Bills might still rid themselves of Fitz’s salary, they won’t have the steady hand of Smith under center. Is Buffalo in for another season of shoddy quarterback play?
This would have been almost uncool. Actually, it IS uncool. Sending Alex Smith to Oakland would have been a punishment and he has served the 49ers too well to be done dirty like that. Thankfully, Smith wasn’t sent to the land of Palmer/Leinart/Darren McFadden’s turf toe. It doesn’t matter if the Raiders are a couple pieces away from being a contender (they aren’t). Alex Smith needed a place to excel, not a place to be sucked into the black hole.