Cardinals guard and ex 49er Adam Snyder today said it will be up to Arizona's front office to decide who it wants at quarterback in 2013. But if anyone approached him about Alex Smith, Snyder said, he'd be a strong advocate.
"If someone asked me about him, I would tell them exactly what I thought," Snyder said on a conference call today. "I think the guy's got unbelievable character and I think he's a leader. Obviously he and I came in together. So I've got a special place for him. Obviously that's something the personnel guys have to do. And if they have any questions about him they can ask me."
Several teams will be looking for a starting quarterback in the offseason. One of them promises to be Arizona, which will start its fourth quarterback - Brian Hoyer - of the season in Sunday's finale in San Francisco. The 49ers, meanwhile, will owe Smith $7.5 million on April 1. If Colin Kaepernick remains the starter at that point, it's unlikely they'd want Smith for that amount of money.
Along with offensive tackle Joe Staley, Snyder was Smith's closest friend on the 49ers before the Cardinals signed Snyder as a free agent in the offseason. Snyder admitted he was "very surprised" when he learned Smith had been passed over for Kaepernick earlier this year. Smith's last full game was against the Cardinals, a 24-3 win for San Francisco during which Smith was 18-19 in the passing game. He suffered a concussion in the following game and never regained his starting job.
"I just think that Alex worked for seven years to get to the position he was in," Snyder said. "He was 19-5 (in the last two seasons) and had the best QB rating in the league and was doing his job to win games you know? I don't know. It was surprising to me. But, hey, they get paid to make those decisions and that's the decision they went with."
Another member of the 2005 draft class, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, also has stated his dismay about the turn of events that landed Smith on the bench.
"He comes in, he's 70 percent completion, he's 100-plus quarterback rating last year, he's like barely over one percent interception percentage," Rodgers said on NFL Network earlier this month. "He's a great quarterback, he just needs to go somewhere he gets appreciated for the skills he has and hopefully he gets a chance next year."
- Matt Barrows