INDIANAPOLIS -- According to multiple reports, the San Francisco 49ers have wrapped up a trade that will put quarterback Alex Smith in a new city. Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reported via Twitter that the 49ers have sewed up negotiations with a willing trade partner. The interested team is not yet known, though Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com says that from everything he's heard around the scouting combine this week, the Kansas City Chiefs have a deal for Smith that is "all but done."
NFL.com's Ian Rapoport reported on the NFL Network that the Chiefs have the most interest, and that new Chiefs head coach Andy Reid is very intrigued with Smith's mobility, but that a deal isn't yet consummated. Rapoport also said on NFL.com that the 49ers will continue to lay the groundwork for a trade that will give Smith to a new NFL team.
If the deal is in place, it can't actually take place until the new league year begins on March 12.
Smith, the 49ers' first draft pick in 2005 and the first overall selection that season, went through several subpar seasons before Jim Harbaugh was hired as the team's head coach before the 2011 season. Harbaugh limited Smith's liabilities and accentuated his strengths, and Smith responded with his best season to date that year. He threw 17 touchdown passes and just five interceptions in 2011, and came back with an even stronger campaign in 2012.
Through nine starts, he had a quarterback rating of 104.1, but a concussion suffered in the team's 24-24 tie with the St. Louis Rams on Nov. 11 opened the door for second-year quarterback Colin Kaepernick, selected in the second round of the 2011 draft. Kaepernick lit the 49ers' formerly conservative offense up with his deep passing ability and impressive mobility, leading the 49ers to a close loss in Super Bowl XLVII to the Baltimore Ravens.
"I think the main thing is Alex is a heck of a football player," Harbaugh said this week at the combine. "Alex is really playing the best football of his career the last two years. And we think we have the best quarterback situation in the National Football League. Feel strongly about that. Again, that'll be a process that plays out. Alex Smith, continuing to be a 49ers or if a trade occurs in the next weeks or months. Those are the two possibilities -- most-likely possibilities."
Kaepernick is clearly the future of the 49ers, and Smith will be a willing and attractive target for several NFL teams in desperate need of improvement at the quarterback position. With the 2013 draft class coming up short at quarterback, and the Chiefs holding the number-one spot in the draft, a trade for Smith would allow them to select an outstanding offensive or defensive lineman this year.
Texas A&M left tackle Luke Joeckel is most often pointed toward Kansas City in mock drafts that don't include a quarterback by default, but Central Michigan's Eric Fisher and Florida defensive lineman Sharrif Floyd are possibilities with the top spot. A guard has never been selected first overall, but some experts believe that Alabama's Chance Warmack is the best player in this draft class.
Smith is currently signed with the 49ers through the 2014 NFL season. In 2013, he is scheduled to make a base salary of $7.5 million plus a $1 million roster bonus if he's still with the team at the turn of the new league year.