Will the former first overall pick be traded instead of released?
One of the bigger offseason storylines around the NFL this year is in regards to quarterback Alex Smith, who is currently employed by the San Francisco 49ers. Many see Smith as the best QB that is likely available, as the draft doesn't hold any super prospects and the free agent crop is overly exciting.
With that, the 49ers have many different ways they can go with Smith. They can trade him to a QB needy team for a mid-round draft pick, or, if the market isn't that great for him (which is reportedly the case) they may just release him. But if he is released, the 49ers risk Smith coming to Arizona to join the Cardinals, who could use a quarterback.
According to a report from Kevin Lynch of SF Gate, the 49ers "would like to block any move to Arizona." If this report is true, it makes it even more unlikely that the 49ers decide to cut Smith from their roster, as that would make him free to sign anywhere he wants.
If Smith becomes a free agent, odds are that he would probably come to Arizona. Working with Bruce Arians, Larry Fitzgerald and a talented defense would trump going back east to play ball in a cold weather state that is rebuilding.
But that might not happen. So if the 49ers do trade him, it probably won't be to Arizona, either. The Cardinals would likely have to offer a much sweeter deal than any other team outside of the NFC West in order to push the 49ers into making that trade. At that point, Arizona might be overpaying for a quarterback that I see as, at best, a slim upgrade over Kevin Kolb.
So if you were excited about the possibility of Smith coming to Arizona, it might be time to settle down. It is looking less and less likely that it will end up happening.