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Alex Smith Trade Rumors: Cold Market For 49ers Backup

ESPN's Chris Mortensen says that teams aren't showing much trade interest in Alex Smith - but that doesn't necessarily mean that those teams don't like Smith.

Brian Bahr

As conveyed by, ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported on Wednesday that there isn't much of a trade market at the moment for San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith, and that the ninth-year veteran is not generating a lot of "buzz" among quarterback-needy teams investigating solutions to their biggest problem.

The Buffalo Bills are thought to be a team interested in landing Smith as a short-term starter this off-season, but they'd obviously be included in Mortensen's report as one of those quarterback-needy teams largely ignoring Smith at the moment. The take-away here, however, isn't that the Bills (and other teams) aren't interested; it's probably just that they aren't interested in a trade.

Smith is under contract for a $7.5 million base salary in 2012 - $1 million of which is guaranteed - and is also scheduled for a $1 million roster bonus at the beginning of the new league year, plus a $250,000 workout bonus. Any team trading for Smith would take on that contract, plus be giving up a pick (or picks) to do so. Nobody ever expected Smith's trade market to be big, so we're right on schedule.

San Francisco is unlikely to keep Smith at that salary as the backup to Colin Kaepernick, and Smith would probably rather see if he can't land a starting job somewhere else before agreeing to a backup job at a reduced pay rate. It's been expected for some time that the 49ers will release Smith if they can't trade him; if that happens, we're betting that the market for Smith will pick back up very quickly.