The 49ers might have a “great respect” for deposed quarterback Alex Smith, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to give him away if they don’t have to.
During today’s wrap-up news conference, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh cited his “great personal friendship” with Smith, but made it clear that’s not the same as giving him his freedom.
“I don’t think any player has those wishes granted when they’re under contract,” Harbaugh said, via Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee, when asked about Smith being released. “And everything’s different and every scenario is unique. Certainly something that we’re not going to delve into and get into specifics at this point.”
Translated: “Our next item up for bid is a used, average quarterback, do I hear a draft pick?”
The 49ers clearly like Smith, they just don’t want him as Colin Kaepernick’s backup at $8.5 million. So they’ll try to shake the tree and see what falls out, while feigning interest in keeping him around to create the illusion of demand.
“We feel good, great about our quarterback situation,” Harbaugh said. “You can’t have enough good quarterbacks.”
You can, however, have too much money invested in one position, which is why no expects Smith to be a 49er that much longer.