When the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens take the field of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome for Super Bowl XLVII, it will most likely be the last time Alex Smith suits up in a red and gold uniform.
Smith, who led the 49ers to the NFC Championship game in 2011, has only thrown one pass in an NFL game since he was knocked out of the first-half of the 49ers’ November 11 game vs. the St. Louis Rams with a concussion.
And then, the legend of Colin Kaepernick was born.
Kaepernick, Smith’s then-backup, came in and performed well, completing 11 of his 17 passes and one touchdown while rushing eight times for 66 yards and one touchdown as well. He then went on to lead the 49ers to a 5-2 record over the remainder of the 2012 regular season, became a media sensation and is now making his 10th career start in the NFL next Sunday… in the Super Bowl.
But, lost in all of Kaepernick’s sensational sophomore season is how successful of a year Alex Smith was having before he was concussed against the Rams.
Before the Rams game, Smith had thrown for 1,659 yards on 69.3 percent passing. He also had earned a 70.1 ESPN Quarterback Rating (QBR) and threw for a 104.1 Passer Rating. If he continued to throw at that rate, and he completed seven of his eight passes against the Rams before he was concussed, his completion percentage would have been the best in the league come season’s end. By the way, his total QBR would have also ranked seventh and his passer rating would’ve been third—behind only Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning.
Clearly Smith is a talented quarterback worthy of starting in the NFL. Therefore, it doesn’t really make sense for the Number 1 overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft to be holding a clipboard on the sidelines as a backup. When you consider that the 49ers won’t owe Smith any of his second-year $7.5 million base-salary of the contract extension he signed in March of 2012 if they cut him by April 1, Smith’s time in San Fran looks to be nearing its end.
Naturally, there are always teams in the NFL in need of a quarterback. Well, Alex Smith will most likely be the top free agent quarterback this offseason. Those teams will justly vie for his services.
Jake Fischer is the CAA Columnist for Rant Sports-NCAA Basketball. Make sure to follow Jake on Twitter @JakeLFischer.