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The San Francisco 49ers have agreed to terms on a trade that will send quarterback Alex Smith to the Kansas City Chiefs, Jay Glazer of FOXSports.com reports.
According to Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News, the 49ers will get a second-round pick in 2013 and a similar draft choice in 2014. Per NFL rules, the trade will not be made official until the 2013 league year begins at 4:01 p.m. ET on March 12.
Glazer adds that the Chiefs have made “a clear commitment“, which likely refers to Smith’s contract.
The 49ers re-signed Smith to a three-year, $24 million deal last offseason that included $15.5 million in guaranteed money. Nearly half of those guarantees refer to Smith’s $7.5 million base salary in 2013, which is currently guaranteed for injury only. If Smith were on the 49ers’ roster on April 1, the amount would become fully guaranteed. Smith was also scheduled to receive a non-guaranteed $1 million roster bonus on March 14, which is why trading him before the new league year was the most appealing option to the 49ers. Trading Smith before that roster bonus is due clears $8.5 million in cap space for the 2013 season.
By acquiring Smith, the Chiefs will part ways with Matt Cassel, who had two years and $17 million remaining on a six-year, $63 million he contract he signed after being traded to Kansas City by the New England Patriots, who had placed the franchise tag on the former USC quarterback following the 2008 season. Releasing Cassel will clear $7.75 million in cap space for the Chiefs, who hired head coach Andy Reid and hold the No. 1 pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.
Smith was selected by the 49ers with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft. Over eight seasons with the 49ers, Smith started 80 games, completing 59.3 percent of his pass attempts for 14,280 yards with 81 touchdowns and 63 interceptions for a passer rating of 79.1. The 28-year-old blossomed under head coach Jim Harbaugh, passing for a career-high 3,144 yards with 17 touchdowns and just five interceptions in 2011, leading the franchise to an appearance in the 2011 NFC championship game. Smith passed for 495 yards and five touchdowns with one rushing touchdown during the 49ers’ run at return to the Super Bowl, but the 49ers lost in overtime to the eventual Super Bowl champion New York Giants.
Smith opened the 2012 season as the 49ers’ starting quarterback and was well on his way towards having a career season before he sustained a concussion in Week 10 tie against the St. Louis Rams. That injury opened the door for 2011 second-round pick Colin Kaepernick to take the starting job and the dynamic offensive threat helped carry the 49ers to an appearance in Super Bowl XLVII.
Smith becomes the fourth former 49ers starting quarterback to join the Chiefs in the last 20 seasons. Joe Montana finished his Hall of Fame career by spending two seasons with the Chiefs (1993-94). After Montana, there was Steve Bono, who was with the Chiefs from 1994-96 and Elvis Grbac, who played from 1997-2000.
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