With just 2 weeks to go before the 2013 NFL offseason can officially begin, the rumors surrounding 49ers QB Alex Smith have been running rampant.
After Colin Kaepernick took over the starting QB job for the 49ers in November last season, then carried them through the playoffs and within a play of winning a Super Bowl, it made Alex Smith expendable. Before Kaep came in and started working his magic though, Alex Smith was having his best statistical season as a pro, and had the 49ers on top in the West and well on their way to the playoffs. In roughly 8.5 games, Smith had a QB rating of 104, throwing for 1,737 yards with 13 scores and 5 picks. Not too shabby of numbers at all, and there are plenty of teams throughout the league that wouldn't mind having a young, efficient QB at the helm for them. With this being a weak draft class regarding QB's, and the list of free agents less than impressive, it makes Smith a surprisingly sought after commodity. The big rumor of the weekend had Smith headed to Kansas City when the 2013 business season officially begins March 12. I'm not sure what the 49ers would possibly get in return from KC, but if I'm the 49ers, I'm trying to get a starting corner or at least a 3rd rounder. I mean, Smith is a starting caliber QB who showed he can lead a team to the playoffs and has dramatically improved over the last 3 seasons. By no means should the 49ers just give this guy away just cause they've found a new starter.
Now, the one way I let Smith go for a later draft pick would be in order to clear some cap space for a legit free agent cornerback. There are a few out there on the market this year, and more could become available next month, but the one thing the 49ers badly need is a fast, cover-corner that can shadow an opposing team's number one wideout and not need help. The one guy who I really like, although he's been a bit of a letdown for Philly is Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. He's got the size, speed and physicality to be that true number one, and was becoming just that in Arizona before being traded in the Kevin Kolb deal. Their are Charles Woodson and Brent Grimes, but Woodson is approaching 40, and Grimes hasn't played a full, healthy season in 2 years, so I don't think I'd go with either of those two. Woodson could be intriguing on a one-year, Randy Moss-type deal if he's looking for another shot at a tittle, but there will probably be teams that offer him more than the 49ers should. A dark-hourse option who'd be my second choice behind DRC is Sean Smith. He's 6'3", 220 pounds and moves greatly for his size. Miami will reportedly pass on tendering him the franchise tag, so there's a good chance he'll be free. Outside of these guys, there really aren't many high-end starting corners on the market now.