Alex Smith has been the good soldier as he’s been left behind while Colin Kaepernick has taken center stage as the San Francisco 49ers starting quarterback, leading them all the way to the Super Bowl. Smith went out with a concussion and has been relegated to the bench. Move over Wally Pipp.
Smith hasn’t made himself into a distraction as his Niners prepare to take on the Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl XLVII, but he’s made it clear that he will seek his release after the season. Alex Smith is owed $8.5 million in 2013 so that pricey contract could make him a little harder to trade. If they can’t trade him, the Niners will most likely will give Smith his release. If Smith makes it onto the open market as a free agent, would he make sense for the Chicago Bears?
Before you think I’m running Jay Cutler out of town, read on.
Last season the Bears spent top dollar on arguably the best free agent quarterback to back up Jay with Jason Campbell but Campbell is done after his one-year deal is up. The Bears elected to go into the 2012 season with only two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster. They kept Matt Blanchard around on the practice squad and picked up the Batphone to call Josh McCown when Jay Cutler got his annual concussion. Clearly the Bears will be on the market for a backup quarterback.
To make matters even more interesting, the Bears have a new offensive guru with new head coach Marc Trestman. While I fully believe that Trestman was brought here to fix Jay Cutler and harness his immense talent or die trying, Trestman hasn’t committed to an offensive scheme for the Bears, but he’s got an extensive history with a West Coast offense. Alex Smith flourished in a West Coast offense under Jim Harbaugh.
There is also the matter of Jay Cutler’s contract status. Jay is a free agent after 2013 and he’ll be looking for a full boat deal. The Bears could give themselves a little leverage if they go into next season with a proven backup; one that could legitimately take over if contract talks with Cutler get contentious.
There’s a new regime calling the shots at Halas Hall and Phil Emery and Marc Trestman aren’t beholden to Cutler the way Jerry Angelo was. Jerry made the power play to get Cutler, but he failed to put the pieces around him. In just one offseason, Phil Emery did more to help Cutler than Angelo did in three years. Now Emery has brought “the quarterback whisperer” to Chicago to work with Cutler.
I believe if Cutler doesn’t show Trestman what he needs to see in terms of development, the Bears won’t hesitate to move on. They might tag Cutler to buy time, but you can bet that Trestman and the Bears will be looking for a developmental quarterback this offseason in the draft or free agency. While Smith isn’t a developmental QB, he would offer a proven veteran to let a youngster develop without being thrust into action before he’s ready. Trestman recruited Russell Wilson to NC State, so he’s clearly got an eye for talent.
I suppose this will come down to how other teams view Alex Smith and his market value. There are a few teams that could certainly use an upgrade at the quarterback position. Kansas City is rumored to be the front runner. Other teams that could be interested in his services might be Philadelphia, Arizona, Jacksonville and the Jets. All of those teams passed on Jason Campbell and he ended up on the Bears. Could history repeat itself?
What do you think? Would Smith make sense for the Bears? If not Alex Smith, who should the Bears target to be Jay Cutler’s backup? Let’s see your thoughts in the Comments.