Any upcoming trade would end Smith’s seven-year run as one of the more argued-about 49ers quarterbacks ever, leaving Smith to join Barry Bonds atop the list of polarizing sports figures in recent Bay Area history.
Smith backers would say he gave the 49ers the best chance to win the Super Bowl in 2012 and wanted Colin Kaepernick benched the moment Smith was medically cleared to play.
Smith haters would say he had his chance and was never going to get the 49ers over the hump.
Losing his job to injury wasn’t the ideal way to make a change, but Kaepernick showed he was more versatile than Smith, with a more powerful arm and legs unmatched in the game.
Sunday night, CBS Sports Insider Jason La Canfora reported the 49ers were telling other teams that they had agreed to a trade with a team for Smith, but that the specifics of the deal couldn’t be announced until March 12 when the 2013 NFL calendar year begins:
The 49ers have expressed to others that a deal for QB Alex Smith is effectively complete. Can't be finalized til league year begins 3/12
— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) February 24, 2013
Speculation began as to where Smith was headed and what the 49ers would get in return. The frontrunner seems to be Kansas City, but Arizona is also reported as being in the mix. Would the 49ers really trade Smith within their division?
To his credit, Alex Smith was a good guy. When he was relieved of his duties as 49ers starter, he never whined, bitched or moaned. And he was never a problem off the field.
Recently, Smith showed he had become a true San Franciscan, showing support for the Giants during their playoff runs. He even got fined for wearing a Giants hat during a post-game press conference.
Any ire Smith drew from fans wasn’t a product of his personality. It was driven by his on-field performance.
Smith simply wasn’t the mobile, flashy, exciting quarterback he was thought to be as the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2005. Until 2011, he was almost a complete disappointment.
Smith was expected to lead the 49ers back to the promised land, but wasn’t even the best quarterback in his draft class. The 49ers picked him over Aaron Rodgers, who would hoist the Lombardi Trophy for the Packers while Smith floundered.
In 75 career starts, Smith threw for 300+ yards just three times. He’s never thrown 4 touchdowns in a game, something Kaepernick did in his fifth career start. Steve Young did it nine times in his career; Joe Montana, eight.
In six-plus seasons, Smith ran for four touchdowns. Kaepernick rushed for five touchdowns in eight games in 2012.
As the 49ers prepare to part ways with the biggest disappointment in recent franchise history, it appears Kaepernick —the No. 39 draft pick in 2011 — is better prepared to live up to the legendary quarterback expectations set by Montana and Young before him.