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San Francisco 49ers General Manager Trent Baalke said this morning at the NFL Scouting Combine that the organization is considering trading quarterback Alex Smith.
The Browns could pursue Smith this offseason. Last month, owner Jimmy Haslam vowed to create a competition for incumbent starter Brandon Weeden, so the Browns are certainly in the market for a quarterback.
Baalke was asked today whether the 49ers plan to trade Smith, who has ties to new Browns offensive coordinator Norv Turner.
“That’s part of it,” Baalke said. “We’re going to look at all options available. Are we going to trade him for sure? No, that hasn’t been decided.”
Baalke said he went to dinner with Smith and his wife, Liz, after the 49ers lost to the Baltimore Ravens in the Super Bowl.
“Had a great conversation, had a great dinner,” Baalke said. “Just a chance to sit down with him and go through what our thoughts were and listen to what their thoughts were as a family and really get an understanding of what direction we wanted to go.
“We had a great meal. We had a great discussion. I can’t say enough good things. If you ask anyone in our organization, they’re going to say the same thing – he’s a pro’s pro. I have nothing but great respect for him and his family. We’re certainly going to do everything in our power to make the best decision for everyone involved.”
Smith suffered a concussion Nov. 11 against the St. Louis Rams and lost his starting job to Colin Kaepernick, even though the 49ers compiled a record of 6-2-1 with Smith as their starter last season. Smith’s $8.5 million salary for 2013 becomes guaranteed if he’s on the roster April 1, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if the 49ers trade or release him.
Smith, 28, played for Turner in 2006. Turner served as the offensive coordinator of the 49ers that season before becoming the coach of the San Diego Chargers.
"Loved my time with Norv," Smith told reporters last month before the Super Bowl. "[It was] a very, very friendly QB system. ... [Turner is] a great play caller. I just remember he had a great feel for the game on game day and a great feel for what the defense was doing."
Smith also made it clear he wants to be return to his previous role as a starter in the NFL.
“I want to play football,” Smith said. “I’m not hiding that fact. I love this team. I love being a part of it and of what’s going on, but I want to play football.”