NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reported via Twitter on Tuesday that the 49ers will attempt to trade Smith after their season ends this Sunday, and if that proves unsuccessful he will be respectfully released.
Alex Smith will not be a member of #49ers next year. They will try to trade him first. Then if nothing happens, cut him early out of respect—
Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 30, 2013
After posting the best numbers of his career and leading the Niners to the NFC Championship Game last season, Smith became the odd man out earlier this year when Kaepernick emerged as one of the game’s best young signal callers. Smith, now in his eighth pro season, completed 70.4 percent of his passes for 1,737 yards and 13 touchdowns before an injury sidelined him in Week 10. His 104.1 passer rating led all quarterbacks.
Smith will certainly be a prized commodity this offseason, either on the trade market or in free agency, and NFL.com reports that the Bills, Cardinals, Eagles and Chiefs have all expressed interest in the 28-year-old.