Updated Feb 27, 2013 - 9:12 am
Very pessimistic? You'd better believe it
But when it comes to the possibility of the Niners shipping Alex Smith to their division rival the Cardinals, I tend to agree with NFL.com's Ian Rapoport's assessment of the Cardinals own opinion on the subject:
The idea of the 49ers feeling this sudden surge of charity towards Smith (by trading him to an ideal spot) and the Cardinals (by giving their rival the QB they need) seems foreign. Division rivals trade players to each other all the time. The Eagles traded McNabb to the Redskins to the surprise of most.
The Suns traded Steve Nash to the Lakers for goodness sakes. It happens.
But in both of those circumstances the trade wasn't really affecting the rivalry. Philly knew McNabb was washed up and that the Redskins were no good anyway. No harm, no foul. Same applies to the Suns, except they were the ones who realized they weren't good enough to be in active competition with the Lakers for a Pacific Division title. Again, what's the harm?
But I have to think the Niners would look at the Cardinals and how many games they could have won last year if they just got decent -- not great, just decent -- play out of the QB last year. And Alex Smith, on his worst day, is a decent quarterback. The Cards have many leaks to plug; I just can't see the 49ers providing the thumb to plug their biggest.
Worst case scenario, as ESPN's Mike Sando suggested, the Cardinals will provide the Niners with more leverage to squeeze a better draft pick out of whatever team they do trade Smith to.
Now there is a report from CBS Sports' Jason LaCanfora (the Django Unchained of NFL reporters....good but not THAT good) that says the Cards' offer for Smith was "weak".
As much as I hate to admit it, I'm beginning to give more and more thought to Gambo's idea about the Cardinals going after New England's Ryan Mallett. Tom Brady is clearly not going anywhere, so Mallett really isn't being groomed for any type of promotion. He's got the cannon arm Bruce Arians has implied he's looking for. By sheer osmosis, whatever attitude problems he had coming into the draft should have been cured by hanging with Brady. The Patriots only have five draft picks this year so they'd be looking to add. Oh, and Cards personnel man Jason Licht was employed by New England when they drafted Mallett.
If you're going to select a quarterback with your 2nd or 3rd round pick anyway, can you get one who is better than Mallett? In this draft? Questionable at best.
Dave Burns, Co-host of Burns & Gambo