What’s Gonna Happen to Alex Smith?
There’s not enough *Alex Smith* talk out there these days, certainly not at ninersforever.com so I thought I’d write about it, too.
What I sorta know: According to what I’ve read and heard on the radio, if the Niners cut Smith before April 1st 2013, they owe him a 1 million dollar buy out. I think it’s a buy out. If he’s on the roster his 7.5 million dollar salary for 2013 kicks in and I think the following 2014 deal for about the same amount also vests (though I’m not totally sure about 2014).
The thinking out there is that the Niners would let the base salary kick in so that they could trade him for a draft pick or two….
What I don’t know: how would that effect the salary cap? My understanding is that a big percentage of his newly locked in base salary would count against the cap. Chuck said last night that it would only be a million and I defer to him in principle but it still doesn’t sound right to me. The *cap $ against* rules are complicated and I seem to remember hearing about guys getting traded yet their salaries, or a portion of them, still counted against the cap. If so, that would be a huge deterrent to the Niners doing this. Cap room is sacred and certainly not worth taking a hit just to get a 2nd round pick (or whatever Smith is worth). But I confess to not knowing the cap rules in football well enough to do anything other than throw it out there for debate (and hopefully, clarification from someone).
What I suspect: Regardless of how your opinion of how it came about that Smith got replaced by Kap, I don’t think the Niners dislike Smith. By all accounts, he’s an outstanding person of integrity and there has to be ongoing gratitude for how close he took them to the super bowl last year. I just don’t see the Niners holding Smith hostage for the right deal and then just casting him away without getting him to sign off on the trade. I know they wouldn’t HAVE to but it would be the right thing to do after the screw-job he endured this year. Plus, don’t forget about the guys in the locker room. They’ll have an opinion on this, too. And if Smith gets traded to the Jets after getting summarily benched in the 2012 season while he was playing at an elite level how do you think that’s going to go over in the locker room? “Man, they bench him for playing great and then they banish him to Siberia, too? That’s fu*ked up…”
Ann Killion wrote something this morning about all of this and ended it with some sort of nonsensical idea of Smith starting the final game vs Arizona to *audition* for the Cardinals. Huh? Arizona has seen him play a billion times. They wouldn’t need an *audition* to sway their feelings. If they want Smith they already know why the want him. Plus. we need to win that game regardless of what happens in Seattle this Sunday. A loss could influence their playoff seeding. And I have great confidence in Smith to win the game but you don’t rest your starting QB in a game you need to win right before the playoffs start.
Since this whole soap opera started I’ve always felt that the final chapter hasn’t been written yet for Smith in San Francisco. I figured Kap would get injured and that Smith would come back to lead them to a super bowl win because that’s just how a story like this should end–I really hope the final chapter isn’t the Niners acting like a vindictive girlfriend and selling off Smith like a piece of meat for a draft pick they don’t really need anyway.
Just release him, shake hands and thank him for his time served and let him move on with his life where ever he chooses to go. If nothing else, he’s earned AT LEAST that…..