Alex Smith will ask for his release from the 49ers before free agency. (Bob Levey/Getty Images)
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith will ask for his release from the team before the start of free agency, Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio reported Monday.
The 49ers have been expected to try to trade Smith, who was supplanted by Colin Kaepernick as the team's starting quarterback midway through the season. The 49ers are gearing up to play the Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl XLVII next Sunday.
Florio explained why Smith is taking a "calculated risk" in demanding his release:
On one hand, he’s be able to join any team he wants. On the other hand, he’d be losing the $8.5 million that he’d earn this year if his contract is traded.
Of course, that contract could make it harder to trade him. And the 49ers will have plenty of time to explore their options for trading Smith before the new league year (and the free-agency period) begins.
Smith was in the midst of the best season of his career before suffering a concussion on Nov. 11 — he had a 104.1 passer rating and had guided the 49ers to a 6-2 record. Kaepernick dazzled the next week against Chicago, and head coach Jim Harbaugh made the decision to stick with Kaepernick thereafter.