The Cardinals are starting their fourth quarterback of the season against the 49ers this Sunday, a pretty clear sign that they are going to be in the market for a player who can give them less quantity and more quality at the position come the offseason.
One player who could be on their radar screen is a guy who will be carrying a clipboard on the other sideline in Week 17. Alex Smith lost his job with the Niners and he’s widely expected to be on the move to a team that needs a starter once the season comes to an end.
Cardinals guard Adam Snyder used to play with Smith in San Francisco and would be down with a reunion in the desert. Snyder said that if he was asked, he’d tell the Cardinals that Smith has “unbelievable character” and is a leader whose benching didn’t much sense.
“I just think that Alex worked for seven years to get to the position he was in,” Snyder said, via Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee. “He was 19-5 (in the past two seasons) and had the best QB rating in the league and was doing his job to win games, you know? I don’t know. It was surprising to me. But, hey, they get paid to make those decisions, and that’s the decision they went with.”
While the 49ers probably wouldn’t want to trade Smith within the division, trading him is going to be difficult. The full $8.5 million Smith is owed for 2013 becomes guaranteed on April 1, something that could make teams hesitant to give up much of value when they know the 49ers will likely be releasing him before that happens to avoid being on the hook for that much to a backup quarterback.