San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith will ask for his release before free agency, according to a report by Pro Football Talk. March 12 is the first day of free agency and Smith will control where he wants to go if released.
Smith earned $8 million this season and is scheduled to earn $7.5 million in 2013 with only $1 million guaranteed. If he stays on the roster by April 1, the remaining $6.5 million would be guaranteed.
In Smith's last full game, he had a record completion percentage hitting 18 of 19 pass attempts against the Arizona Cardinals. He's coming off one of his best seasons with a 70.2 completion percentage and a 104.2 rating in nine starts. Teams who are currently in need of a quarterback include the Cardinals, Chiefs, Jaguars, Browns and Jets. The Browns in particular are an intriguing option with Norv Turner hired as their offensive coordinator. Smith worked well with Turner when he was with the 49ers in 2006. He made significant progress under Turner after a horrible rookie season.
The 49ers are not required to release Smith and the team will have a short window to potentially trade him. It won't be easy for teams to absorb his current contract.