York: 49ers can fit Alex Smith's contract under next year's cap

York: 49ers can fit Alex Smith's contract under next year's cap
January 31, 2013, 9:45 am
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This year is not considered a strong draft class for quarterbacks, so there could be competition for Alex Smith's services in the offseason. (AP)

Is there a spot on the team for him from a cap standpoint? Yeah, absolutely, there's a spot for him on the team.
—Jed York

NEW ORLEANS -- Backup quarterback Alex Smith is scheduled next season to make $8.5 million, a figure 49ers CEO Jed York on Thursday said the 49ers can handle.

"You figure out what's best for guys, what's best for the team," York said. "And you figure out, is there a spot on the team for him from a cap standpoint? Yeah, absolutely, there's a spot for him on the team.

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"From a need standpoint? It's pretty nice to have two quarterbacks that you feel you can win with. Is there going to be a demand for a quarterback that's played as well as he has the last couple of years? Yeah. Does he want want to go start and play? So there are a lot of things that go into it. And we'll sit down after the Super Bowl and figure out what's best for everybody and how to move forward."

With the NFL salary cap expected to be around $121 million, the 49ers already have $121.85 million currently devoted to 49 players under contract for the 2013 season. In the unlikely event that Smith remains on the team, the impact could be felt at other areas.

The 49ers would also like to re-sign Pro Bowl safety Dashon Goldson. It they are unable to reach a long-term deal with Goldson, the 49ers can retain him with the franchise tag for $7.45 million.

Smith was in the midst of his best NFL season when he exited the 49ers' lineup on Nov. 11 with a concussion. When Smith was cleared to return to action, coach Jim Harbaugh decided to maintain Colin Kaepernick in the starting role.

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Pro Football Talk reported earlier this week that Smith was expected to seek his release from the 49ers rather than be traded.

"I think Alex has said pretty clearly this week that he's not asked to be released," York said. "He's not sure where those comments came from. He does want to play. And we'll sit down and talk at the end of the year. What Alex wants right now is to go get a Super Bowl ring, whether he's serving as a backup or whether he gets out there and plays. That's what Alex is focused on."

With three days before Super Bowl XLVII, Smith said he has yet to look around the NFL to determine which teams might be in need of a quarterback. This year is not considered a strong draft class for quarterbacks, so there could be competition for Smith's services in the offseason.

"I've heard all the speculations of the teams and this and that, but I can do that next week," Smith said. "We're meeting all day and practicing. I'm not sitting around thinking about that. We're preparing to play and win a game, so I'm not thinking about it."

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