It’s widely believed that the 49ers will trade quarterback Alex Smith. The former starter is due to earn $8.5 million in 2013, with $1 million guaranteed now and the balance guaranteed as of April 1. It makes him a luxury that the team can’t afford.
But the player prefers not to afford the 49ers a chance to trade him. Instead, a source with knowledge of the situation tells PFT that Smith is expected to seek his release before the start of free agency.
It’s a calculated risk for Smith. On one hand, he’s be able to join any team he wants. On the other hand, he’d be losing the $8.5 million that he’d earn this year if his contract is traded.
Of course, that contract could make it harder to trade him. And the 49ers will have plenty of time to explore their options for trading Smith before the new league year (and the free-agency period) begins.
Unless they can send him to a team for which he really wants to play, the fair move would be to let him go. He has been a loyal member of the organization since he was the first pick in the 2005 draft, and he caused no trouble when he was benched during a very good season after suffering a concussion.