Alex Smith’s time in a San Francisco 49ers uniform is officially over with after he was effectively traded to the Kansas City Chiefs today for a 2nd round pick in this years NFL draft and a conditional(likely 2nd or 3rd round pick) in next years draft. It is easy to look back on the totality of Smith’s career as a 49er and think he didn’t meet expectations or live up to his potential. Without getting into years worth of reasons or excuses for this we can just say he had the best season and a half of his career under head coach Jim Harbaugh. What the future without Harbaugh be like for Alex Smith is to be determined. The 49ers and their fans really didn’t get a full chance to see just what Smith could do under Harbaugh because in their first season together they had a late start due to the NFL lockout and ended up an overtime score away from a Super Bowl appearance. Their second and final season was cut short by a concussion to Smith leaving backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick coming into replace him for the remainder of the season and lead the team to a Super Bowl appearance. Kaepernick in his first season starting games outdueled some of the leagues top quarterbacks like Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan. The 49ers ultimately came up 5 yards short in the championship but fans have a bright future to look forward to with Kaepernick as the signal caller for the next decade.
Alex Smith will be remembered by fans for many things, some positive and some negative, however depending on what the 49ers get out of these draft picks, this may be the greatest score Smith ever had for the 49ers. The trade netted far more than most ever imagined the 49ers would be able to get from any team for Smith. It is highly possible that these draft picks the 49ers use on rookies or in trades with other teams for marquee players could help set the team up for another run at a Super Bowl as well as put in place young guys that could help them win for years to come.
It is not without some irony that the former number one overall pick of the 2005 draft might be viewed years down the line by 49ers fans as more valuable as a trade piece than as an actual franchise player. As the pick in next years draft is dependent on the success the Chiefs and Alex Smith has, 49ers fans will be pulling for Alex and Kansas City to have a successful season. The Alex Smith era is officially over, a decade of dominance is approaching.