In perhaps the biggest news thus far of the 2013 NFL offseason, the San Francisco 49ers have agreed in principle to trade quarterback Alex Smith to the Kansas City Chiefs. In compensation, the 49ers will reportedly receive the Chiefs’ 2013 second round pick, which is the 34th selection overall, and a conditional 2014 mid-round pick.
The trade would seem to work out for both teams on the surface. The Chiefs had five Pro Bowl players on their roster last season, yet only won two games. The weak link was clearly the quarterback play, a role primarily filled by Matt Cassel, who is expected to be released.
For the 49ers, Smith helped the team advance to the NFL Championship game in 2011, but fell short. After he suffered a concussion mid-way through the 2012 season, he was replaced with Colin Kaepernick, who never lost the role and led the team to the Super Bowl, ultimately losing to the Baltimore Ravens.
Now Smith is reduced to an excessively overpaid backup. The 49ers are now decidedly Kaepernick’s team, whom head coach Jim Harbaugh drafted early in the second round in 2011 after taking over the team. Many believe Harbaugh was only looking for an excuse to make the switch.
Although the trade cannot be made official until the beginning of the new year, which begins on March 12, it is believed that the deal is already established in principle.
In nine starts last season, Smith managed a 6-2-1 record. He threw 13 touchdowns and 5 interceptions, throwing for 1737 yards with 8 yards per attempt, by far his career high in that respect. He also had a 104.1 quarterback percentage, also a substantial improvement over is previous career best.
Meanwhile, the 49ers are now loaded with draft picks, including two in the second round and two in the third round, with 15 in total if one includes the three compensatory draft picks they are expected to receive. For a team as loaded in talent as the 49ers, the wealth of picks gives them the ammunition to move up to secure players that they believe will be able to contribute.
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