Posted February 21, 2013

49ers undecided on futures of Alex Smith, Randy Moss

NFL Free Agency, San Francisco 49ers, Scouting Combine
The 49ers' first touchdown of the 2012 season came on a pass from Alex Smith to Randy Moss. (Mike Roemer/AP)

The 49ers’ first touchdown of the 2012 season came on a pass from Alex Smith to Randy Moss. (Mike Roemer/AP)

San Francisco 49ers GM Trent Baalke refused to tip his hand regarding the futures of either Alex Smith or Randy Moss during a press conference at the NFL scouting combine Thursday.

All signs point to Smith playing elsewhere in 2013, with Colin Kaepernick emerging as the 49ers’ unquestioned starting quarterback during a Super Bowl run and Smith due $7.5 million (plus a $1 million roster bonus). If San Francisco cannot find a trade partner, Smith could wind up being released.

GALLERY: QUARTERBACKS WHO STARTED OVER

But Baalke said that, for now, everything is on the table, including Smith’s return.

“We’re going to look at all options available,” said Baalke of Smith, who posted a 6-2-1 record in 2012 before a concussion sidelined him. “Are we going to trade him for sure? No, that hasn’t been decided.”

The 49ers face a less complicated scenario with Moss. The 36-year-old receiver is set to be an unrestricted free agent, and he said during one of the pre-Super Bowl media swarms that he did not necessarily like his role in the 49ers’ offense — Moss made 28 catches for 434 yards and three touchdowns during the regular season.

Moss re-signing in San Francisco, then, does not appear to be a priority, especially with 49ers’ 2012 first-round pick A.J. Jenkins trying to carve out some playing time of his own.

“Randy’s a pro, and I can’t say enough good things about Randy,” Baalke said. “And I think if you ask anyone within our organization, they would say the same thing. …

“So, we’re certainly happy that he was there. Is he going to return this year? I don’t know that yet.”

The 49ers entered the offseason an estimated $1.0 million over the projected salary cap, according to NFL.com. They have several pending free agents, aside from Moss, including safety Dashon Goldson, nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga and fullback/tight end Delanie Walker.

Dealing or cutting Smith would provide the 49ers a lot more flexibility in their decisions moving forward. That would, however, likely put the 49ers in the market for a backup QB behind Kaepernick — Scott Tolzien served as San Francisco’s No. 3 quarterback in 2012.

The 49ers figure to scout Smith’s potential trade market during the combine, given that Smith’s roster bonus is scheduled to kick in on March 14. Ideally, San Francisco would like to have a firm answer on Smith’s future in place prior to that date, so as to avoid paying that bonus to a player destined to be released.

5 comments
Harpo
Harpo

too bad the texans won't get rid of schaub and get a real qb in smith

Rickapolis
Rickapolis

The only time that Smith was effective was under JimH. Now JimH doesn't want him. But I suppose enough teams are needy for a QB that he'll bring a good price. I think the Jets should go for him myself.

gravity_fails
gravity_fails

 @Rickapolis Smith was also effective under N Turner.

 

But was his effectiveness of late because of Harbaugh, because of the system, or because he had a good offensive line for the first time in his career? Who knows?

Darren1
Darren1

 @gravity_fails  @Rickapolis To Gravity, I think it was a combination of all those things. (See: Cassel, Matt, under Belicheck vs. the clown show that is the Chiefs.) What about a Smith-for-Tebow (and either another player or draft picks) trade, with Harbaugh coaching Tebow up in classic quarterback skills while taking advantage of his running ability? If Kaepernick happened to go down due to injury, they could still employ 80% of their playbook under Tebow, or go to Tolzein for a more traditional style.