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Top Five NFL Teams That Should be Interested in QB Alex Smith

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Where will San Francisco 49ers QB Alex Smith Go?


San Francisco 49ers Head Coach Jim Harbaugh made a decision during the season that could have cost him his job. QB Alex Smith led the league in completion percentage and had his team on top of the NFC West, but Harbaugh decided to go with QB Colin Kaepernick over Smith after he went down with a concussion against the St. Louis Rams in Week 10.

Kaepernick led his team to a 5-2 record, an NFC West crown and a first round bye in the playoffs. In the divisional round, he shut up all the people that criticized the move by accounting for over 400 yards of total offense including a record breaking 181 yard rushing performance. The 49ers still have some work to do in the NFC Championship against the Atlanta Falcons, but one question remains. What will they do with Smith once the season is over?

Smith has a base salary of 7.5 million dollars, but that money is only guaranteed if he is on the roster on April 1, 2013. If the 49ers are smart they will trade Smith and not release him. If they release him, they will not have to pay his guaranteed salary, but they also will not be able to get anything for him. Due to his salary, Smith is only worth a third or fourth round draft pick. It does not sound like a lot, but at least they will be able to control where he goes.

The last thing the 49ers want is for Smith to go to a team inside their own division. The Arizona Cardinals would be happy to take a quarterback that is not as injury prone as QB Kevin Kolb or terrible like the rest of the quarterbacks on the team.

The 49ers will have a very unhappy man if they kept Smith on the team through the 2013 season. Here are the top five teams that need to go after Smith to have any success in the 2013 NFL season and beyond.

Follow Kase Brammer on Twitter @KBlive33

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5. Arizona Cardinals


The 49ers do not want Smith to go to the Cardinals. So, this is unlikely to happen. A lot of fans believe Smith is not any better than Kolb, but I still give Smith the slight edge. He seems to play the game a little faster, so he would be more successful escaping the pressure that he is likely to see. If Smith does come to Arizona, they will have to deal Kolb and still sign a veteran that can learn the offense and take over for Smith if he does go down. The front office and coaching staff have to know they cannot rely on QB John Skelton or Ryan Lindley. They may be willing to leave the emergency third string duties to Brian Hoyer.

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4. Buffalo Bills


If the Buffalo Bills believe that have a legitimate shot to draft QB Geno Smith, than Smith is not necessary. As they get closer to the draft, they should be able to tell what the Kansas City Chiefs want to do with the first overall pick. The Bills need somebody who can come into the game and do a better job of management. QB Ryan Fitzpatrick was not able to do that this year. Smith would bring an efficiency the Bills fans are not used to and he would complement RB C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson quite well.

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3. Kansas City Chiefs


The Chiefs are in an interesting situation. They do not have a QB on their roster that is better than Smith, but I don't think Head Coach Andy Reid wants to work with him. I also do not think he will wants to bring Philadelphia Eagles QB Michael Vick, so what do they do? I think Reid would not have a problem working with Kevin Kolb, so they trade for Smith and turn around and trade Smith for Kolb. The Cardinals get a better quarterback and Reid gets a player he knows he can coach and somebody who knows his system. It's a win win situation.

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2. Jacksonville Jaguars


The Jacksonville Jaguars are number two on this list because their whole team is in shambles. They just hired a defensive minded coach, Gus Bradley; he wants a quarterback that is not going to turn the ball over often and can put 20 points on the scoreboard. Smith is exactly what they need, but I'm not sure Jacksonville would be his first choice in free agency, so they would have to trade for him. Bradley's first job will be to build their defense from one of the worst in the league, but you do that by having a gritty offense that allows time for a defense to rest and wins the field position battle.

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1. Minnesota Vikings


The Minnesota Vikings would be stupid not to at least think about trading for Alex Smith. RB Adrian Peterson rushed for over 2,000 yards this season and the Vikings made the playoffs, but he can't do that every year. Smith is a guy that would have a career year with Peterson in his backfield. He would have a quarterback rating over 100 and be a little more efficient on third downs when "All Day" was not able to run the ball. Ponder had an okay season, but was not anywhere close to making their offense run as smoothly as it could be.