The Cleveland Browns have officially had their names thrown in the hat as a potential future employer of current San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith.
While NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports that the Bills, Cardinals, Chiefs and “maybe” Eagles have shown interest in the veteran, ESPN Cleveland beat reporter Tony Grossi reports that “you’d have to say that Smith is the front-runner to be the quarterback Joe Banner and Mike Lombardi pursue.”
Smith, 28, is due to make $7.5 million in 2013, with $1 million guaranteed. If he is on the 49ers’ roster on April 1, the remaining $6.5 million is guaranteed. Smith also is due $7.5 million in 2014. the No. 1 overall pick in 2005, Smith was completing a league-high 70.2 percent of passes. He had 13 touchdown passes and five interceptions. His passer rating was 104.1 – 25 points higher than his career mark. Smith, who was 6-2 with the 49ers before being usurped by Colin Kaepernick folllowing a concussion, reportedly told the team that he wishes to be released so that he can continue his career playing as opposed to watching. Rapoport believes that the 49ers will instead attempt to trade the quarterback, garnering a potential mid-round pick.
Grossi adds that if the Browns do in fact acquire Smith, it will mean the end of Brandon Weeden, joining the likes of Tim Couch, Charlie Frye, Brady Quinn and Colt McCoy on the list of quarterbacks who either fell victim to changing regimes or failed development.