The San Francisco 49ers reportedly are close to parting company with quarterback Alex Smith, the former No. 1 overall pick who lost his starting job when he was out with a concussion last fall.
It isn’t clear at the moment, though, just how imminent a deal may be. The earliest date on which a trade can be completed is March 12, when the new league year begins. CBS Sports.com’s Jason La Canfora reports that a deal with an unnamed team is “effectively complete.” ESPN reports that talks are ongoing, with the Kansas City Chiefs and Arizona Cardinals likely landing spots.
Smith, the top draft pick in 2005, has passed for 14,280 yards with 81 touchdowns and 63 interceptions in 80 games. The 49ers under Jim Harbaugh have never been devoted to him, though. As a free agent last spring, he spoke with the Miami Dolphins as the 49ers had a brief flirtation with Peyton Manning.
At the Super Bowl, he admitted it was difficult to be a backup. “It’s tough,” he said. “I’m not going to lie about it.”