The 49ers have basically finished a trade that would send quarterback Alex Smith elsewhere. Unless they haven’t.
Not coincidentally, it’s late February in the NFL.
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee reports that the 49ers don’t have a deal in place to trade Smith once the trading period opens at 4:00 p.m. ET on March 12.
Barrows notes at the outset of his tweet that it’s lying time in the NFL. But if the Niners are letting it leak that a deal is “effectively done” (whatever that means) and not identifying the name of the team, there’s a good chance that there is no team — and that the tactic is aimed at smoking a team or two out of the weeds.
Many presume there will be an aggressive trade market for Smith. But with the 49ers unable to convince anyone that they’d keep Smith around against his wishes at $8.5 million, the Niners need at least two teams to want Smith. Otherwise, there can and will be no market for his services.
The Chiefs continue to make the most sense. But if the Chiefs are the only interested team, all Andy Reid needs to do is put on his poker face and wait for the 49ers to cut Smith.
Based on the trades Andy Reid pulled off while in Philly, we wouldn’t bet against Reid winning this hand.
The overlooked dynamic in the formula is Smith. He’ll have to want to play for the team to which he’s dealt. If, in the end, there’s only one team he wants to play for, it’ll make it very hard for the 49ers to get another team to the table.
Thus, until there are two teams who want Smith and vice-versa, it’ll be hard to work out a trade, regardless of the gadgets that may get employed to get a deal done.
Including but not limited to leaking to the media that a deal is “effectively done.”