Why it makes sense for 49ers to trade Alex Smith

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Why it makes sense for 49ers to trade Alex Smith

There have been a couple times during Alex Smith's career that it was difficult to envision him returning to play the following season for the 49ers.

The first time was after the 2008 season. Smith experienced shoulder injuries that wiped out most of 2007 and all of 2008. However, Smith accepted a huge pay cut to remain with the 49ers in 2009.

The second time Smith appeared destined to leave the 49ers was following the 2010 season. He was clearly ready for a new chapter in his life. But, then, Jim Harbaugh came along and an agreement was reached. Both sides came to the conclusion that it made sense for Smith to remain with the 49ers on a one-year deal.

Last offseason, there was always the sense Smith would return as a free agent even throughout the whole Peyton Manning saga.

But now that Harbaugh has made the move to go with second-year quarterback Colin Kaepernick as the 49ers' starter, it seems Smith is back in that old familiar position of uncertainty.Smith signed a three-year, 24 million contract with the 49ers in the offseason. Because that contract is so reasonable, it gives the 49ers some options.

If Smith is on the 49ers' roster on April 1, 2013, his entire 7.5 million base salary becomes fully guaranteed.Obviously, a 7.5 million salary for a backup quarterback does not seem realistic when the presumptive starter, Kaepernick, is scheduled to make 740,000 in base pay.

If the 49ers were to get rid of Smith's base salary, they could then use that money to tender safety Dashon Goldson at the franchise tag of 7.45 million.Smith is the 20th-highest-paid quarterback in the league (see table below), which could make him an attractive option for some quarterback-needy team to acquire in a trade -- probably for a 2014 draft pick.

Smith is scheduled for a base salary of 7.5 million in both 2013 and 2014. If the 49ers simply released Smith before April 1, they would still owe him 1 million. So it would help the 49ers on the salary cap, as well as enable the organization to accumulate a future draft pick, if they could get something for Smith via an offseason trade.

Here's how Smith's average salary per season ranks among other quarterbacks in the NFL (with years the deals span):

Average QB salaries per year
1. Drew Brees 20 million (2012-2016)
2. Peyton Manning 19.2 million (2012-'16)
3. Tom Brady 18 million (2010-'14)
4. Eli Manning 16.25 (2009-'15)
5. Michael Vick 16 million (2011-'16)
6. Matt Schaub 15.5 million (2012-'16)
7. Philip Rivers 15.3 million (2009-'15)
8. Jay Cutler 14.67 (2009-'13)
9. Ben Roethlisberger 14.67 million (2011-'15)
10. Mark Sanchez 13.49 (2012-'16)
11. Sam Bradford 13 million (2012-'15)
12. Aaron Rodgers 12.7 million (2008-'14)
13. Kevin Kolb 12.42 million (2011-'16)
14. Matthew Stafford 12.25 million (2012-'15)
15. Tony Romo 11.25 million (2011-'16)
16. Matt Ryan 11.25 million (2008-'13)
17. Carson Palmer 10.75 (2012-'16)
18. Ryan Fitzpatrick 9.83 million (2011-'17)
19. Matt Cassel 9.67 million (2009-'14)
20. Alex Smith 8 million (2012-'14)
21. Matt Hasselbeck 6.67 million (2011-'13)
22. Matt Flynn 6.5 million (2012-'14)
23. Andrew Luck 5.53 million (2012-2015)
24. Cam Newton 5.5 million (2011-'14)
25. Robert Griffin 5.28 million (2012-'15)
26. Josh Freeman 5.24 million (2009-'13)
27. Joe Flacco 4.76 million (2008-'12)

Also
45. Colin Kaepernick 1.28 million (2011-'14)(NFL Players Association sources)

Comings and goings: 49ers coaching staff

Comings and goings: 49ers coaching staff

First-year coach Kyle Shanahan is close to completing his 49ers coaching staff.

Shanahan will handle the duties of the offensive coordinator, the position he held with Houston, Washington and Atlanta over the past nine NFL seasons.

Robert Saleh is the 49ers' new defensive coordinator, while Richard Hightower has been hired as the special-teams coordiator.

Here's a look at the 49ers' coaching staffs under Shanahan and last season under Chip Kelly:

2017 49ERS COACHING STAFF
Position: Coach (2016 job)
Head coach: Kyle Shanahan (Falcons, offensive coordinator)
Defensive coordinator: Robert Saleh (Jaguars, linebackers coach)
Special teams coordinator: Richard Hightower (Bears, assistant special teams)
Assistant head coach/tight ends: Jon Embree (Buccaneers, tight ends)
Run game specialist: Mike McDaniel (Falcons, offensive assistant)
Quarterbacks: Rich Scangarello (Wagner, offensive coordinator)
Running backs: Bobby Turner (Falcons, running backs)
Wide receivers: Mike LaFleur (Falcons, offensive assistant)
Offensive line: Vacant
Offensive assistant: T.C. McCartney (LSU, offensive assistant)
Senior defensive assistant: Jason Tarver (49ers, outside linebackers)
Defensive line: Jeff Zgonina (N.Y. Giants, assistant defensive line)
Linebackers: Johnny Holland (Browns, inside linebackers)
Defensive backs: Jeff Hafley (49ers, defensive backs)
Offensive quality control: Taylor Embree (Chiefs, defensive assistant)
Defensive quality control: Bobby Slowik
Head strength and conditioning: Ray Wright

* * *

2016 49ERS COACHING STAFF
Position: Coach (current status)
Head coach: Chip Kelly
Offensive coordinator: Curtis Modkins (Bears, running backs)
Defensive coordinator: Jim O’Neil
Special teams coordinator: Derius Swinton
Quarterbacks: Ryan Day (Ohio State, quarterbacks)
Running backs: Tom Rathman
Wide receivers: Bob Bicknell
Tight ends: Jeff Nixon (Baylor, co-offensive coordinator/running backs)
Offensive line: Pat Flaherty (Jaguars, offensive line)
Assistant offensive line: Eric Wolford (South Carolina, offensive line)
Defensive line: Jerry Azzinaro (Cal, defensive line)
Assistant defensive line: Vince Oghobaase
Outside linebackers: Jason Tarver (49ers, senior defensive assistant)
Inside linebacker: Joe Bowden
Defensive backs: Jeff Hafley (49ers, defensive backs)
Assistant defensive backs: Roy Anderson (Bears, assistant secondary)
Assistant special teams: Michael Clay
Offensive quality control: Mick Lombardi (Jets, offensive assistant/assistant QBs coach)
Defensive quality control: Tem Lukabu
Senior analyst: Dana Bible
Director of human performance: Mark Uyeyama

Report: 49ers receive permission from Broncos to interview O-line coach

Report: 49ers receive permission from Broncos to interview O-line coach

John Benton, who coached on the same staff during Kyle Shanahan’s four seasons with the Houston Texans, has reportedly received permission from the Denver Broncos to interview with the 49ers.

The Broncos hired Benton on Jan. 15 to work as the team’s assistant offensive line coach under line coach Jeff Davidson.

But Denver coach Vance Joseph and general manager John Elway provided Benton permission to interview with the 49ers, Denver’s 9News reported. The Sacramento Bee was first to report the 49ers were looking at Benton.

The offensive line coach is the last major position that remains vacant on Shanahan’s staff.

Benton worked last season as Jacksonville’s assistant offensive line coach. He worked the previous 13 seasons as offensive line coach with the St. Louis Rams (2003-05), Houston (2006-2013) and Miami (2014-15).

Shanahan’s first NFL coaching job was with Houston in 2006, when he coached wide receivers. Shanahan became the quarterbacks coach with the Texans in 2007 before spending the next two seasons as offensive coordinator under then-coach Gary Kubiak.

The 49ers announced nine additions to the coaching staff on Friday.

Also, the 49ers are expected to hire Daniel Bullocks as assistant defensive backs coach, according to The Sporting News. Bullocks worked in the same role with the Jacksonville Jaguars last season. The Jaguars' linebackers coach last season, Robert Saleh, is the 49ers' new defensive coodinator. Bullocks appeared in 31 games in three NFL seasons with the Detroit Lions in 2006 and '08.