The 49ers are talking to teams about a trade for Alex Smith but currently are not locked into a deal, league sources said Sunday and Monday. The 49ers can discuss trading Smith, who had a 104.1 passer rating before suffering a season-altering concussion Nov. 11, but no trade can be finalized until the league year begins March 12.
For the last month, reports have consistently linked Smith to the Chiefs, who have the No. 1 overall pick in the draft and had one of the worst quarterback situations in the league last season. The 49ers undoubtedly have talked about moving Smith to the Chiefs -- and the Chiefs currently may be the top suitor -- but San Francisco will continue to entertain offers until March 12 and perhaps beyond. If the 49ers don't trade or release Smith by April 1, they will owe him $8.5 million.
On Friday, Jim Harbaugh said the top two options were holding onto Smith or trading him. He said it's "unlikely" the 49ers would release the quarterback and insisted the 49ers have plenty of salary-cap space to fit Smith and the other pending free agents, such as safety Dashon Goldson, they are trying to re-sign.
Smith wants to start in 2013, an unlikely scenario as long as he is with the 49ers, who committed to Colin Kaepernick in late November. The 49ers are sensitive to accommodating Smith, who is largely respected and admired in the 49ers locker room, but their top priority is getting a good deal in return for the quarterback they drafted No. 1 overall in 2005.
-- Matt Barrows