York says Niners hope to keep Kaepernick and Smith

Getty Images

After the 49ers cleared the Superdome following media day, CEO Jed York made his way to Radio Row, where we “borrowed” the set of NBC Sports Radio for a quick interview, as Vagabond Week continues at PFT Live.

On one of the most pressing offseason topics — the status of backup quarterback Alex Smith — York said that he’d like to have Smith and Colin Kaepernick on the team in 2013.

“I hope he’s with us,” York said.  “From a cap standpoint, we have the room to be able to keep him.  One quarterback is usually not enough to get you through a season.  And to have two guys which the Niners had in Steve [Young] and Joe [Montana] for a long time, there’s no reason why you can’t have two guys on your team.  And I hope we can find a way to make that happen.”

Smith may not want it to happen, because he may want to actually play.  So what if Smith asks the 49ers to release him?

“He hasn’t made the request yet, and that’s something we’ll assess at end of the season,” York said.  “I think Alex has been very clear, he’s been very up front, he’s been very professional throughout this whole thing.  And he’s still a captain of the 49ers.  And I think Alex deserves the opportunity and figure out what he wants to do at the end of the season.”

It all may have been very different, if Smith hadn’t suffered a concussion against the Rams.  Still, York doesn’t believe Smith lost his job because of a concussion.  York believes Kaepernick won the job.

“I don’t know that I would say Alex lost his job due to injury,” York said.  “I think Kaep stepped up and played.  And he got his opportunity and he took the most of his opportunity.  It’s easy to say, ‘Well he lost his job because of injury.’  That’s not necessarily the case.  And you need to understand that if you do go out there and play with a concussion, you might lose your career.  And whether Alex is playing for us or he’s playing somewhere else next year, Alex has another 10 to 15 years to play in the National Football League because he was safe and he didn’t put himself in a position where he ended his career early.”

Regardless, Kaepernick got his opportunity because of a concussion suffered by Smith, and Smith ultimately could end up owning a Super Bowl ring because of it.

This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!

42 responses to “York says Niners hope to keep Kaepernick and Smith

  1. I mean he is right. Playing through concussions ended Aikman’s career early. I mean it got to a point where Aikman would get a concussion if you just pat him on the back.

  2. In other words, York is trying to create leverage for a trade. Why would he say anything else?

  3. As a niner fan, and a big Alex Smith fan, I hope he’s gone next year. I’d like closure from this whole thing and I don’t want to keep feeling ad for him everyt time they show him on the sideline. Hope he gets his shot as a startyer soon, he deserves it.

  4. It’s a likely a very genuine desire but it’s also quite savvy as it will perhaps stoke better trade offers from teams who are in desperate need of some stability at the QB position and would want to “pry” Smith away from the team.

    It’ll be interesting to see how it plays out. I say trade Smith for Sanchez…..let Sanchez be the #2 and just learn and heal from Harbaugh then pull a Reid/Kolb when CK7 is hurt and get some draft picks.

  5. Alex lost his job because harbaugh never wanted him. 1 start against the most overrated defense in the league. Yea thats beats a 13-3 season NFC championship appearance and the first playoff win since 2002, first NFC ship game since 94. Kap looked trash in preseason, had all of training camp to beat out Alex this year in last but failed to do that. Harbaugh was just lookin for a reason. Alex never had a chance…. York is a joke for thinking Alex gone resign, and harbaugh is just a joke. As a men how could you respect Harbaugh?? You can’t!

  6. This ain’t the same NFL where you could keep a Montana and a Young on the same team.

    Young Jed needs to quit trying to be Bill Clinton. He can’t spin this situation by saying Smith didn’t lose his job to injury. Yes, Kaep came in and took advantage of his opportunity, but its a chicken-and-egg thing: the injury came first.

  7. What he actually meant to say “When Smith went down that was the excuse we used to give Kap the Job. Instead of Jim being a man about the situation and looking Alex in the eye and telling him we thought Kap was the best option, Jim waited for the perfect situation to bench Alex. Jim didn’t have the guts to tell one of the highest rated QBs in the league that he thought Kap was the best option but luckily for us the concussion fell right into our laps and Jim found his excuse to start Collin.

  8. “I don’t know that I would say Alex lost his job due to injury”

    But everyone else outside of you and Harbaugh would.

  9. One year ago, Alex Smith was one muffed punt away from taking the 49ers to the Super Bowl. He engineered an impressive come-back playoff win against the Saints the week prior to the NFC Championship game.

    If Jed York seriously thinks Smith is willingly going to stick around, his mind is out there where the buses don’t run.

    Honestly, I think this is York simply trying to avoid the subject until after the Super Bowl. While I can’t blame him for that, a simple “Right now Alex Smith is our backup QB and we know he’ll be ready if needed on Sunday. We won’t be addressing anything beyond that until after the Super Bowl”, might have been a better (and more honest) response.

  10. You can criticize him all you want, but everything he said about keeping Smith makes perfect sense.

    Sure, they would be paying Smith way too much to be a backup, but on the other hand they would be paying Kaep way too little to be a starter, so overall their salary cap situation at QB isn’t worse than most. And with the way Kaep plays it certainly doesn’t hurt to have a veteran backup, who oh by the way was the third leading passer in the NFL when he got hurt, available.

    The stuff about Smith not losing his job due to injury, however, is pure nonsense.

  11. Well, they’re going to need a quality backup of some kind. One of the great bits of fortune for the Niners in how this played out is Kaepernick didn’t have to make it through a whole season. Had he started from Week 1 would he have been banged up for the playoffs like RG3 was? It’s not a question of if Kaepernick gets hurt but when.

  12. BS. This is just pumping up the market. If they said they didn’t want him he’d have no trade value…

  13. Um…a point most of you are missing….

    Alex doesn’t have a choice here. “He doesn’t want to be a backup and won’t resign”. OK. Well, that might be an issue in TWO YEARS. He’s under contract for about 8 Million. Yup…sounds like alot for a backup…till you realize that the starter makes almost nothing and by the rules setup in the new CBA CAN’T renegotiate his contract.

    Thats a little over 8 Mil for both a #1 and #2 QB.

    I don’t think Alex will be a 49er next year, but it will be because he got traded. What does that mean? He WILL NOT be a Cardinal.

  14. Jed saying the right things because Alex deserves credit for helping this team rise from the ashes.

    However, he is owed $8M+ in April and there is no way the Niners agree to pay a backup that kind of money.

    More importantly, there is no way Alex would want to sit behind someone when he knows this would not be an open competition next fall.

    He’s best to move on and prove he can win without Harbaugh.

    The Niners will start exploring trades as soon as they can and if nothing works in their favor, they’ll let him walk.

  15. To all you haters out there! We are in the bowl, your team is not,
    that’s probably why your crying about our QB situation.
    Kaep’s the better of the two, Harbaugh knows that, that’s why he
    stuck with Colin and kept Alex on the bench. We would have
    lost in Atlanta with Smith at the helm. If Smith wants to play
    somewhere else next year, let him go. Can’t blame him for that.
    Kaep’s are QB now!

  16. Simply…Alex has very little leverage and choice in the matter of staying or not. Niners own his rights and Alex being Alex accepted the terms of the deal he signed which gave the Niners the control. The market dictated that, and Alex should be thankful Harbaugh put him in a position to succeed.

    Kudo to the Niners, same old thing with Alex…

  17. of course they can. That is because they are paying Kaepernick peanuts…he is only going to make $740k next year. He is one of the lowest paid starting QB’s in the NFL

  18. Rappaport says “Alex is not a long term QB”. Jed says “Alex has 10 – 15 years left”. Gotta love opinions. Mine is Alex is a long term solution. He does give many teams a better chance at winning right now. He’ll retire at 33 after leading the Jets, under Coach Greg Roman, to two Super Bowls. Rex Ryan will be looking for a job after the Niners win the Super Bowl. Gotta love opinions.

  19. so many posts by so many who know so little. It would be wise to keep them both and worry about cap issues in 2014 unless SF can get a ton for Smith in a trade, which I doubt.

  20. Kind of a dilemma for Alex Smith. He wants to play, but isnt sure if he’ll get the opportunity in SF in week one when Kapernick gets hurt, or if it’ll take until week 10 for Kaepernick to get hurt. hell, Kaepernick might not even get out of the SB without an injury that sidelines him until next December.

    You can count on one thing though. It doesnt matter if Smith goes undefeated and leads the league in every catagory, Harbagh is starting Kaepernick if he can play. That is the reason Alex Smith will demand his release and get a job somewhere else. He doesnt want to be the “go to” guy in SF when he knows he can cash in and play for someone else. Harbaugh made an obvious statement when he decided to keep Smith on the bench after he got hurt (because no player loses their job to an injury) and go with a guy that Harbaugh himslef knew little of his ability. Harbaugh was looking for an excuse to get away from Smith at QB. Sad but true.

    If it were me. I’d be looking for a place to land as soon as the SB is over. Harbaugh doesnt respect players. It is provem by doing what he did. It wasnt like Alex Smith was doing poorly. He lead the leagu in a few catagories when he got benched. A nice hand gesture and a “how do you do” on the way out of town if it were me.

  21. Does not surprise me that many folks did not appreciate Alex losing his position – and especially the manner in which it was done. I am one. However, put emotions aside for a moment, look at the reality (including Alex Smith’s own words on Kaep’s abilities and skill set), and its easily understood why the change was made. Also, trust your own eyes when watching Kaep play. Two things, plain and simple: Alex IS at the top of his game – there is NO MORE ceiling. Secondly, (again, supported by Alex Smiths own assessment of Kaep), Kaep does things on the field to keep the chains moving and scoring that Alex simply cannot do. That, ladies and gents, is the long and short of it. Period!

  22. These threads are very interesting……When the CEO of the team makes a comment there are a ton of people saying it isn’t true and here is whats going on…..What is amazing to me I bet not one of us even know York and certainly don’t have any insight to what he will or won’t do……

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!