Posts Tagged ‘Cardinals’

When Alex Smith was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs for a 2013 2nd round pick and a conditional pick in 2014 there were plenty of fans who said the price was too high for Smith, who could have presumably ended up a cap casualty for the 49ers, but with the regular season ready to get underway the Chiefs seem to have gotten a steal. The Chiefs went from the worst record in the NFL in 2012 to a trendy dark horse playoff pick that could challenge the Broncos (especially following the loss of Elvis Dumervil and suspension of Von Miller) for the AFC West title. The interesting thing is that Smith could have had a similar effect on several of the other teams he who were rumored to be interested in the former number 1 overall draft pick.

We’ll start with the Vikings who find themselves in the usual position of being an afterthought in the NFC North, even after earning a playoff berth in 2012. I understand, Percy Harvin is gone, and Adrian Peterson had one of the best season’s for a running back in the history of the game (a feat made only more impressive by his recent return from an ACL injury and the prevalence of pass heavy offenses in the modern NFL.) But just think if Alex Smith were under center this season instead of Christian Ponder. Immediately people are talking about how great it is that Ponder will finally have a mentor and the Vikes jump immediately into the conversation as a team that can really challenge the Packers in the North. The defense probably starts to earn more credit and the Kyle Rudolph hype train would go out of control. The Vikings have a better offensive line than the Bears, a better running back and with Smith they would have at least a more consistent QB. Not to mention we get to have Alex Smith vs. Aaron Rodgers twice a year in a battle of the ’05 draft’s top QBs.

Next we’ll move over to New York and the Jets. Okay, so this one isn’t really fair. The Jets are a mess and didn’t have the money to pay two QB $8 million in the same year, but it certainly would have settled the controversy and maybe, just maybe allowed Rex Ryan to keep from losing his cool in front of the media. Unfortunately for the Jets, Smith probably doesn’t make them playoff contenders. There is some talent on the offensive side of the ball, Chris Ivory holds a lot of potential, but Stephen Hill entering his second year suddenly becomes a much more intriguing player, and Smith probably also gets the best out of Jeremy Kerley in the slot. The AFC East seems pretty wide open this year so maybe with Miami losing Keller for the year and the Bills breaking in a rookie QB you could say the Jets would finish in 2nd in the division without people laughing at you.

The Jaguars find themselves in a similar situation. You have a lot of talent with an improved offensive line a healthy MJD, the emergence of Cecil Shorts and 12 games of Justin Blackmon with Ace Sanders and Denard Robinson as speedy x-factors, so having a guy in Alex Smith who could consistently get the ball in the hands of your playmakers makes anything seem possible, but honestly it wouldn’t even come close to putting them ahead of the Texans and Colts. Still, I have to think the fans of the Jaguars would feel a lot better about the season with Smith under center than Blaine Gabbert or Chad Henne.

The Cleveland Browns actually seem to have made out the best without Smith. Brandon Weeden has looked good running Norv Turner’s offense and there’s some cautious optimism surrounding the team. Considering the Browns still play in the same division as the Ravens, Bengals and Steelers that’s about all they could have hoped for from getting Smith under center as well.

I guess you can also call the Cardinals ‘winners’ in the succeeding without Alex Smith game. Carson Palmer fits Bruce Arians attack better, so had the Cardinals ended up with Smith there would have been constant questions surrounding his arm strength, and while Smith is clearly the better QB, the offensive line and running game are much bigger issues for Arizona in 2013.

I don’t know if he was even rumored to be connected to either of these teams, but I also think Smith could have had a big impact on the perception of the Buffalo Bills and Tennessee Titans. Of course if Buffalo surrendered it’s second round pick they would have missed out on Robert Woods, who I believe could be in for a big year. But for arguments sake, let’s say they gave up a 2014 first rounder instead so they can keep their whole draft class. Again you get Smith in a mentor role to a QB in EJ Manuel many thought would need time to develop. You also give Smith the two things he works best with, a good running game, and a West Coast offense. With Smith at the helm it;s likely the Bills and not the Dolphins who are being talked about as the biggest threat to the Patriots in the AFC East. The Titans I’m sure never really considered it, but they have a lot of talent at WR, a good looking run game and one of Alex’s favorite targets in TE Delanie Walker.

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I’m hoping to do a more complete list at some point as their are a lot of guys I think might be flying under the radar this season, especially at WR and TE, but since I’m already behind here are a few of my favorites:

Quarterback

Alex Smith, Chiefs:

Maybe I’m just the last guy to give up on Alex Smith’s fantasy value, but I think he has a chance to be a consistent fantasy QB this year, and as deep as QB is this year things get dicey after the elite guys, and the biggest question, especially once you pass the top 10 guys is consistency. Smith’s upside is he’s accurate, he’s mobile and he has everything to prove. He also left behind a very run friendly San Francisco offense and now leads Andy Reid’s pass happy attack. He also may have the most complete complement of weapons either coach or player has ever had: Bowe can be a true #1, Baldwin should be primed to produce and Avery, looks to prove he can be a consistent target. Add Jamaal Charles and Dexter McCluster as guys who can really move with the ball in space, and TE Tony Moeaki and Anthony Fasano as red zone targets and what you get is a QB with a high floor and plenty of upside.

Sam Bradford, Rams:

Bradford is a perennial sleeper candidate ever since he teased fantasy owners with a promising rookie campaign, only to fall short of anyone claiming to be sure of his fantasy relevance, but this year might actually be different. Bradford found a connection with last years 4th round pick Chris Givens and while it’s still only preseason Tavon Austin is rumored to be living up to the hype that made him the #8 overall pick in the 2013 draft which means Bradford should have the most complete group of receivers in his Rams tenure. It’s also worth mentioning that Jared Cook adds a big bodied presence in the middle of the field and that Jake Long also figure to be the best blindside protector Bradford’s ever had. This will be Bradford’s first year without Steven Jackson, and with the run game up in the air and the current leader for the starting job (Daryl Richardson) being a talented pass catcher Bradford will be throwing often.

(Editor’s Note: My first draft featured Miami Dolphin’s 2nd year QB Ryan Tannehill rather than Sam Bradford, but I credited a good deal of Tannehill’s sleeper value to TE Dustin Keller who will now miss the entire season after tearing multiple ligaments in his knee.)

 

Running Back

Giovanni Bernard, Bengals:

Been high on Bernard since the pre-draft process, and I like the fit with the Bengals. He’s going to be splitting carries with BenJarvus Green-Ellis, but he’s the more versatile back and assuming he stays healthy he could have the Law Firm relegated to Goal Line and short yard work by mid season.

Daryl Richardson, Rams:

Coach Jeff Fisher has come out and said that Richardson is the leader for the starting job so far and I just don’t see him giving it up that easily. He’s already the more experienced back and he’s making the most of his first team reps. Not to mention Pead still has a one game suspension to serve so unless either Pead or Stacy set the field on fire in the next few weeks, I think Richardson runs away with the job and doesn’t look back. He’s a bargain in the mid/late-rounds and well worth the pick if you end up missing out on an elite runner in the early rounds and are hurting for RB depth.

Wide Reciever

Kenny Stills, Saints:

If you’ve been watching the preseason this shouldn’t come as a surprise for you. The Saints have been giving Stills special attention in games, presumably to help him develop chemistry with Drew Brees. (He had 4 receptions for 64 yards and a TD in game 2 and a few nice catches to go with a few close misses in Game 1) Now of course preseason numbers don’t count for the season, but Still projects to the Devery Henderson role of deep target, and he’s probably no better than the 3rd or 4th option behind Colston, Graham and maybe Lance Moore, but he’ll have some big games and some bad games, but that should make him worthy of a late round flier.

Chris GivensRams:

This should be a no brainer. Givens emerged as a favorite target of Sam Bradford last year and the additions of Tavon Austin and Jared Cook only means more one on one match-ups outside for the second year burner out of Wake Forest. You can draft Givens as a #4 receiver and he has #2 upside. The Rams will be better this year and when all is said and done Givens is going to be the guy Bradford looks for.

Tight End

Jordan Cameron, Browns:

I’ve been high on Cameron since the Browns failed to sign Fred Davis away from Washington, and his stock has shot through the roof since then, but he’s still flying under most people’s radars due to the depth at TE and emergence of the position as a legitimate offensive threat. What’s going to set Cameron apart is earning the trust of his 2nd year QB playing for a team in need of playmakers in an offense that isn’t afraid to showcase the TE. (see Gates, Antonio)

Rob Housler, Cardinals:

Similar to Cameron, I’m not quite as high on Housler, but Larry Fitzgerald can’t do it alone and we learned last year that Carson Palmer likes to check down to his tight end. Not to mention the aforementioned Larry Fitzgerald has praised Housler’s hands. And even at 6’5, 250lbs the third year has plenty of speed to keep up with new Head Coach Bruce Arians vertical passing game. He’s well worth a late round flier and could make a steady stand-in with plenty of upside if you’re also drafting Rob Gronkowski.

Defense/Special Teams

Colts:

Coach Chuck Pagano may have been away from the team much of the 2012, but he’s back on the sidelines, and with another offseason to help build his defense this should be a much improved unit. Remember Pagano is a defensive guy, and the Colts quietly had a very nice offseason. Aubrayo Franklin should be a solid addition at Nose Tackle and could hopefully mentor rookie Montori Hughes. Adding versatile former 49ers Defensive Lineman Ricky Jean Francois is great for depth. The pass rush could be much improved if Erik Walden plays up to his contract and Bjorn Werner plays up to his draft status. The secondary looks to at least be a more physical unit with LaRon Landry coming in at Safety and former Cardinal Greg Toler at Cornerback.

Chiefs:

This is another unit that stands to be much improved after being pretty terrible last year. The offense will be better, which should help keep the defense fresh, and assuming they can stay healthy this is a formidable secondary featuring Eric Berry at Safety, and an impressive trio of CBs in Brandon Flowers, Sean Smith and Dunta Robinson with nearly across the board pro bowl linebackers and what looks to be an improved defensive line. Dontari Poe has a full season under his belt and looks to improve, and adding Mike DeVito at DE could be a difference maker.

Kicker

Kai Forbath, Redskins:

I know, a kickers a kicker to most people, but Forbath seems to have gotten lost behind the emergence of Blair Walsh and Greg Zuerlein, but after taking over full time kicker duties midway through last season Forbath didn’t miss a kick. I’m not saying reach for him, but if your pick is in the later half of the final round he should be sitting there and should be a solid option all season long.

Chiefs select G Chance Warmack:

Well, turns out the Chiefs were higher on Albert than I gave them credit for. He’s been franchised for 2013 and they’re still trying to hammer out a long term deal with him, which puts Joeckel and Fisher out of the running. Warmack is considered one of the best prospects in this draft (regardless of position) and the Chiefs could use the upgrade on the inside.

Jaguars select CB Dee Milliner:

I know, I shout about how the Jag need a LT and then as soon as people start to agree I change my mind. This pick could still go to the line, but Eugene Monroe held his own at LT last year and the Jags have cleaned out the secondary since my first posting. Milliner provides a fit for Gus Bradley’s scheme and gives them a solid building block for the defense regardless of the front.

Raiders select DL Shariff Floyd

I stand by the Raiders taking Floyd, though if Milliner is available I think he’s a consideration. If Floyd goes to the Chiefs as some suspect this pick likely goes to Dion Jordan or Jarvis Jones.

Eagles select OLB Dion Jordan

This might make too much sense and with King Dunlap signing with San Diego, athletic Tackle Eric Fisher is a possibility here, but I still like Jordan’s skill set and knowledge of Kelly’s defense to put him over the top.

Lions select LT Luke Joeckel

I don’t think Joeckel is the first choice necessarily, but with Jeff Backus retired, Joeckel pairs well with last years top pick Riley Reiff keeping big money QB Matt Stafford safe.

Browns select QB Geno Smith

The Browns don’t want Brandon Weeden, and while he’ll likely stay with the team through 2013, I don’t expect him to make it to a third year with the Browns. Smith has the arm to excel in Norv Turner’s offense and the type of speed that Head Coach Rob Chudinski will covet. I also expect the Browns to make a run at recently released WR Brandon Lloyd.

Cardinals select LT Eric Fisher

The Cardinals need to upgrade the offensive line, and they’ll take the best tackle here whether it’s Fisher, Joeckel or Johnson. I don’t buy Geno Smith here. Hoyer and Stanton are both back-ups who never got a fair shake as starters, so maybe they’ll surprise us, more likely though, I don’t think the Cards will see enough separation between Smith and the next few guys and will take their chance in the second or third round.

Bills select G Johnathan Cooper:

Andy Levitre leaves a hole in the Bills line, and I think they make plugging it a top priority here. Cooper can come in and play at a high level immediately which will allow the Bills to continue to get maximum production out of Fred Jackson and CJ Spiller.

Jets select WR Robert Woods:

The Jets have a lot of needs on defense and if they go that way I like Kenny Vacarro as a versatile safety who can help in run and pass (as well as soften the blow of a Revis departure.) But first I think the Jets need to upgrade their offensive weaponry. Woods may not be the fastest WR on the board, but he has good natural hands and will excel at running the intermediate routes necessary in new OC Marty Morningweg’s West Coast offense. The same can’t be said of last year’s 2nd round pick Stephen Hill or even of the Jets current number 1 receiver Santonio Holmes. If the Jets expect Sanchez to improve, they need to give him someone to throw to. Cordarelle Patterson (who went at #6 in my last draft) isn’t vas polished running routes, and trends too similar to Hill’s skill set. Similarly, Tavon Austin (who went at #8 in my last draft) has a skill set similar to Jeremy Kerley.

Titans select S Kenny Vaccaro

If the Jets do pass on Vaccoro, he won’t fall far proving a significant upgrade to the Titans secondary which sorely missed CB Cortland Finnegan (who followed Jeff Fisher to the Rams) last year.

1. Kansas City Chiefs select LT Luke Joeckel

When push comes to shove I think the Chiefs will choose Joeckel over incumbent Branden Albert. Joeckel has just looked so good throughout the year and did nothing to hurt his draft stock at the combine. Ideally the Chiefs would keep both guys, with Albert sliding inside, but with a lot of teams looking for help on the outside the 25 year old should have too much trouble finding someone willing to pay him handsomely to stay at LT. If Albert is retained at Tackle, I would look for the Chiefs to try moving back or taking a Defensive Lineman like Shariff Floyd or Sheldon Richardson.

2. Jacksonville Jaguars select LT Eric Fisher

I have Fisher and and Joeckel as this year’s Luck and RG3, both have looked outstanding and figure to be building blocks for the teams that draft them. I know everyone is talking about the Jaguars need for a pass rusher at this spot, but it just feels too risky for a team that is likely to be shifting schemes (Head  Coach Gus Bradley has said the team will stay as a 4-3 for now due to personnel, but wants to move towards a hybrid scheme.) Fisher gives a rebuilding Jaguars team a high quality starter at a position of need for the next decade, while still instantly improving the offense. It’s the best possible move, and I’m baffled as to how it’s slipping past nearly every analyst. (Side Note: If the Jaguars do feel the need to go Defense at #2, I like Dee Milliner as press coverage corner who fits Bradley’s scheme)

3. Oakland Raiders select DT Shariff Floyd

There’s a lot of ways for the Raiders can go here, but with Richard Seymour and most the rest of the D-line starters leaving I like this as a place to start. Word has been that the Raiders like Floyd, and he capped off an impressive career at Florida with a solid combine, that I think solidifies him as the Raiders top choice to begin the defensive rebuild. This is another team I think could be well served by adding CB Dee Milliner, but the spot is still just a little too high.

4. Philadelphia Eagles select OLB/DE Dion Jordan

I originally had Dee Milliner here, but Chip Kelly’s made it clear it’s not just the corners, but the entire defense that needs to be overhauled. This move would make sense even without Jordan’s prior knowledge of Kelly’s system as he’s one of the top pass rushers in this class and has seen his stock on the rise after a solid combine. If Kelly feels Jordan’s a little too close to home, then I like Guard Chance Warmack to solidify an offensive line that will be getting back it’s sorely missed starting LT.

5. Detriot Lions select CB Dee Milliner

It almost makes too much sense to happen, but the Lions should land Milliner, who’s coming off a mixed review combine. His speed, was impressive, his hands were not…to be fair he was competing with a torn labrum in his shoulder and you have to figure that didn’t help. I originally liked Kenny Vaccaro here if Milliner was off the board, and if Eric Fisher is still available he should be a strong consideration. If DE Cliff Avril ends up walking, Bjorn Werner looks like a more than capable replacement the Lions can easily afford.

6. Cleveland Browns select QB Geno Smith

Here’s my thinking on this one: If they fail to sign Mike Wallace this pick will got to a WR (likely Corradelle Patterson, maybe Tavon Austin.) If they sign Wallace but fail to get a pass rusher this pick could go there, but I think the new ownership gets cap happy and fills most of the larger holes leaving QB as a glaring weakness. The new Browns management knows Brandon Weeden isn’t the future and supposedly wants to implement a spread option offense, Geno may be the best option available and the NFL tends not to be a wait and see sort of league.

7. Arizona Cardinals select LT Lane Johnson

I considered Matt Barkley, but ultimately decided with Bruce Arians coaching they can afford to wait and see who’s available in the second (maybe even third) round. If Fisher drops he doesn’t make it past Arizona, but since he’s gone to Jacksonville in this mock the Cardinals take the next best player at the position. Johnson is a former WR and has looked impressive enough to warrant a top 10 pick as Arizona desperately needs better protection for their QB (whoever that may be)

8. Buffalo Bills select WR Tavon Austin

GM Buddy Nix is on his way out, but that won’t keep him from making one last splash by making the speedy Austin the first receiver off the board. There’s been talk he wants to add a big bodied receiver on the outside and move Johnson into the slot, but I think after an impressive combine and some well deserved hype the Bills take their chances with the diminutive playmaker. Cordarelle Patterson is another option, but his route running is less polished. If Andy Levitre can’t be resigned and the franchise tag is used on Jarius Byrd this pick likely becomes Guard Chance Warmack.

9. New York Jets select LB Jarvis Jones

I really can’t decide when it comes to the Jets. Play making WR Cordarrelle Patterson is still on the board and could be tempting, Sheldon Richardson is a consideration at DT and Kenny Vaccarro a candidate for a secondary set to lose LaRon Landry and possibly Darrelle Revis. In fact, Vaccarro may jump to the top of the list if Revis gets dealt. But as it stands now the need for a pass rusher dominates and if Jones checks out medically he’s the best man for the job. (Guard Chance Warmack and Tackle DJ Fluker also got consideration.)

10. Tennessee Titans select OG Chance Warmack

Warmack is on a lot of teams boards so there’s a chance he doesn’t make it this far, but guards aren’t typically valued very high. If he’s on the board Titans won’t hesitate. The Alabama product improves the Titans line and gives new life to CJ2K. (If Warmack is gone the Titans likely stay at OG with Jonathan Cooper)

Don’t let anyone tell you the Chiefs should have waited for the 49ers released Alex Smith, or until the cost of a trade came down, because neither option was on the horizon. If anything Alex Smith’s stock was on the rise. It’s no coincidence that this deal is announced to be all but complete just days after this year’s rookie QB’s worked out at the combine in Indianapolis. Tyler Bray of Tennessee was about the lone story of a QB who threw significantly better than expected, and the major knock against Bray was never his arm. What the combine largely proved for the QB class was, what you saw is what you were getting.

New head coach of the QB needy Cardinals, Bruce Arians, said the group lacked a ‘wow’ factor. That could only be good news for Smith as while the draft seemed to lack significant first round talent it was believed most of the teams looking to draft their franchise signal caller this year would do so in the 2nd round. This likely became the baseline.

Remember, even though we only heard reports out of Kansas City and Arizona that their was a high level of interest in Smith, a lack luster QB combine could have spiked interest, particularly in Cleveland where Alex Smith’s old OC Norv Turner currently resides with a head coach who’s fond of mobile QB’s (Smith may not be Cam Newton, but he’s leagues ahead of Weeden.) I also think Buffalo could have come calling. They’ve already got a bit of money tied up in Fitzpatrick and Jackson, but if they weren’t wowed by their interviews with the rookie prospects it would be a worthwhile investment (especially since Smith was likely to restructure his deal with a new team anyway.) The Cardinals, I expect were willing to part with a second rounder, that otherwise was expected to go to Matt Barkley. Smith would provide all the football intelligence of the USC product, plus a stronger arm and NFL experience.

So, no, the Chiefs should not have simply waited. Alex Smith wasn’t going to be released and while the second round pick is a particularly high one, and finding out that there is a second conditional pick headed to San Fran next year may sting this is the price that must be paid to lock in a starting QB. And those of you who were hoping for Nick Foles (Andy Reid may well be amongst this group) he was reportedly unavailable, and based on the reports out of Philly is unlikely to come available anytime before training camp, which just leaves too much uncertainty. No, the Chiefs paid what they had to to secure Smith’s services and lock in a starter at QB, which essentially takes them from rebuilding project to contender’s in the AFC West (the Broncos will be tough to overcome, but the Raiders and Chargers…not so much.)

It was at one time thought that Alex Smith would be the most attractive free agent QB on the market this offseason. At this time it was believed as fact that the 49ers would grant the former No. 1 overall pick his release and he would be free to seek out a new contract and a new team. But with a weak QB draft class and a QB needy division rival in Arizona the 49ers decided to hold on to Smith, at least for now, to explore trade possibilities.

But, I’ve gotten the feeling recently that Smith’s once high trade value is dropping quickly, with QB needy teams looking in other directions. The Buffalo Bills who had shown some interest in Smith, have since resigned Tavaris Jackson and made a statement that both Jackson and current started Ryan Fitzpatrick will stay with the team, likely to provide competition for a rookie QB.

The Chiefs, who I had pegged as a good landing spot for Alex have inquired about Nick Foles, who obviously worked with new Chiefs coach Andy Reid last year. Many analysts also believe the Chiefs could take Geno Smith with the #1 overall pick in this year’s draft on the assumption that starting LT Brandon Albert will be resigned.

The Jaguars new GM David Caldwell released a statement that he was interested in building around former first round pick Blaine Gabbert. With the team still rebuilding in a tough AFC South the team would likely rather keep it’s draft picks. Should Alex Smith get released, I would look for the Jags to reevaluate the situation. (With MJD in the final year of his contract and the emergence of Cecil Shorts and Justin Blackmon improved QB play could go a long way towards helping the struggling Jags.)

The Eagles, who also at one point showed some interest in Smith, have since resigned Michael Vick removing the need for Smith, and added QB Dennis Dixon, which at least opens the door to the possibility of trading current back-up Nick Foles.

The Browns emerge as a strong candidate, stuck with a QB they don’t want and one of Alex Smith’s many former coordinators Norv Turner calling the plays. But the Browns have plenty of holes to fill and may be reluctant to surrender any draft picks. The Browns are in line to have plenty of cap space and if they fill holes quickly through free agency, may pull the trigger, but I doubt they’ll be in any hurry, as they’d probably win a bidding war if they truly believe Smith could be their guy.

Then there’s the Jets, who I just don’t see being able to commit to Alex Smith. The Jets want competition for Sanchez, Smith wants to start…it’s not really a perfect fit. The Jets are also one of the few teams for whom Alex Smith’s current cap number could create a problem. The team is already pressed tight under the cap and paying $8 million to Mark Sanchez with lots of holes to fill. Spending another $7 million on Smith just wouldn’t seem right.

The Vikings have also come up as a landing spot, but unless Percy Harvin makes an (unlikely) push to bring Alex Smith to Minnesota, I just can’t see it. Christian Ponder showed growth towards the end of last season and I think he needs to be allowed to build off of that. Yes, Adrian Peterson put the team on his back (especially once Harvin went down) but Ponder made some big throws against Green Bay to help clinch that playoff spot and Ponder should be much more confident coming into the 2013 season coming off that playoff berth, than he was coming into this season (fresh off a less than impressive rookie campaign that netted the team the third pick in last year’d draft.) 

It has become all but official, Alex Smith won’t be a 49er for the first time in his NFL career come next season. The question that looms is what jersey the former #1 draft pick will be wearing come March.

The Utopian answer seems to be a trade to the Kansas City Chiefs. Despite their NFL worst record, the Chiefs should be an attractive option for Smith. He’ll have a proven stud running back in Jamaal Charles, two talented pass catching tight ends in Kevin Boss and Tony Moeaki, and assuming Dwayne Bowe resigns, a talented #1 WR. Plus he’d be following a precedent set by Joe Montana…probably doesn’t make it more enticing but i does make for an interesting side note

The deal works for Kansas City because Smith could offer the kind of immediate turn around Andrew Luck helped the Colts pull off last year. The Broncos will still rule the division, but the Raiders and Chargers are still searching for an identity. Smith also seems like a good fit for Reid’s offense, (Smith has plenty of experience using his backs and TE’s) and any young QB they bring in couldn’t ask for a better mentor than Smith. Trading for Smith rather than waiting for his release also seems ideal. Smith will have 2 years left on his deal and will make a decent salary but the deal is far from extravagant and any low draft pick they give up is already compensated by Smith’s presence saving them from reaching for a top prospect in a week QB class.

The 49ers also come out of the deal happy because they get something back for a player they were willing to cut, and moving him to the AFC has to be better than giving the division rival Cardinals a chance to pick him up. (Should Smith be released I think Arizona becomes the front runner)