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Value of Alex Smith may never be higher for 49ers

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Cheers and Jeers,Sports,NFL,Kevin Dunleavy

League sources told ESPN that the San Francisco 49ers will try to trade former starting quarterback Alex Smith in the offseason. It could be a smart move considering the bidding war that is likely to ensue.

With few enticing quarterbacks available in the NFL Draft this spring, Smith, a former No. 1 overall pick, could be the best available option. Who wouldn't be interested in a proven quarterback who at age 28 should be just entering his prime?

Of his last 29 pass attempts this year, Smith completed 27 for 313 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. In addition, Smith demonstrated character and grace in handling his demotion this year. He lost his job when he sustained a concussion and Colin Kaepernick thrived in his absence. According to coach Jim Harbaugh, a former NFL quarterback, Smith has coached Kaepernick more than he has this year.

Considering Matt Cassel threw twice as many interceptions as touchdowns this season, Kansas City has to be interested in Smith, who might be a perfect fit for the quarterback-centric system of new coach Andy Reid.

Other teams that should be interested include Arizona, which used four quarterbacks in 2012; Jacksonville, which can't go into next year with just Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne; and Cleveland, which got up-and-down work last year from rookie Brandon Weeden but might be willing to turn to Smith now that his former offensive coordinator Norv Turner has turned up with the Browns.

- Kevin Dunleavy

kdunleavy@washingtonexaminer.com

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