Originally written on Down and Distance  |  Last updated 11/20/14

NFL.com and Mike Florio of pro football talk are reporting that the Alex Smith era in San Francisco may be coming to an end very soon, even before free agency starts. Is it possible that Smith, the #1 overall draft pick in the 2005 draft, could be asking for his release very soon? Smith, the on again-off again starting QB for the 49ers since they drafted him first overall in 2005, was replaced by upstart Colin Kapernick this season, who went on to lead the niners to their first super bowl berth since 1995. Could Alex Smith be on his way out of the bay?(photo credit: Bleacherreport.com) According to sources, it is highly unlikely that the 49ers will honor Smith’s request for a release, and will instead attempt to trade him. With the team due to owe him $8.5 Million in 2013 with $1 million guaranteed now and the balance guaranteed as of April 1. Smith more than likely won’t be released straight out, and the team should seriously consider their trade options for him before they simply let him walk out the door. Despite his relatively high price next season, there are certainly teams that would be willing to pay him and give up a pretty penny to San Francisco to get him. The contract he has right now might make trade options a bit more scarce, but there are still teams out there that desperately need help at the quarterback position. Free agency begins on March 12th and Smith is guaranteed his full 2013 salary on April 1st, so if he is going to be released or traded, it will more than likely be sooner rather than later. From a management standpoint, it would make sense to try and trade him. On the other hand, he has been an absolute professional despite his struggles with the team at times. Even when he lost his starting job to Colin Kapernick this season, although he said that “it sucks” he also had great things to say about the man who ultimately took his job and might have punched his ticket out of San Francisco. “I knew that, I think guys around here knew that,” Smith said of Kaepernick’s big arm and fast feet. “It’s the lack of young mistakes that has really jumped out at me. Most young guys come in – yeah, they show flashes and they think they can play good at times. But then they also seem to have those young moments as well, you know, rookie moments and kind of bone-headed things. And he hasn’t done it. He’s played good ball. He’s really played patient and played smart.” The question the niners have to ask is simple: are Alex Smith’s days in San Fran over? If they are, what is the best course of action in regards to his exit? The post Alex Smith to ask for his release? appeared first on DOWN & DISTANCE.

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