Colin Kaepernick‘s ascension in San Francisco has put Alex Smith out of a job.
It was widely speculated that the 49ers would either trade Smith, who was leading the NFL in completion percentage when he went down with a concussion in Week 10, or grant him his release this offseason. The Niners are reportedly “highly, highly unlikely” to release the veteran quarterback, but it appears that a deal for Smith is all but done.
Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com reported Sunday that a trade for Smith is “effectively complete” but cannot be finalized until the league year officially begins March 12.
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
The 49ers’ trading partner remains a mystery, but NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport names the Kansas City Chiefs as the team most likely to acquire Smith’s services. The Chiefs are one of several NFL teams desperately needing an upgrade at the quarterback position after Matt Cassel flamed out last season, and the upcoming draft is lacking in elite talent at that position. Rapoport suggests that Kansas City will likely bring in Smith in addition to drafting a “developmental” quarterback in the later rounds.
Acquiring a free-agent signal caller would allow the Chiefs to address other needs with the No. 1 overall pick, which Rapoport expects the team to use on Texas A&M offensive tackle Luke Joeckel.