The 49ers' biggest decision in the offseason won't involve the April draft or possible free-agent signings.
Should the 49ers make the best deal they can and send Alex Smith packing? Or should they keep him as a backup to starting quarterback Colin Kaepernick?
ESPN reported last week that the trade market for Smith is "limited" and there's "not a large buzz" with teams searching for a starting quarterback.
If true, that's surprising considering how well Smith played before he went down because of a concussion and was replaced by Kaepernick.
On the one hand, Smith was considered a bust until Jim Harbaugh became the 49ers' coach and designed a game plan that fit Smith's strengths as a "safe" quarterback, one who would protect the ball and make few mistakes. There's a school of thought that Harbaugh made Smith successful and he's not a top-tier NFL starter.
On the other hand, Smith is 19-5-1 as a starter over the past two seasons, he led the 49ers within a muffed punt return of the Super Bowl in 2011 and he completed 70.2 percent of his passes and had a 104.1 passer rating in 2012 before he was injured.
If the market for Smith really has grown bearish, the 49ers should keep him, despite his $7.5 million price tag for the 2013 season. Smith has proven he's a team guy, someone who won't bellyache about playing time.
And every time Kaepernick takes off with the ball, there's a chance he could get hit so hard he has to leave the game. If that happens, it would be nice to have a quarterback with Smith's experience ready to step in.
What to watch
One on One with Ahmad Rashad, 5 p.m., NBA: With the NBA off, check out an interview with Michael Jordan. If you forget to set the DVR, it will be repeated at 8 p.m.
What should the 49ers do with Alex Smith?
Vote above or leave your comments in the comments field; or go to www.sacbee.com/sports
Weekend poll results
Who is the greatest pro athlete of all time?
Michael Jordan: 39%
Willie Mays: 19%
Muhammad Ali: 22%
Wayne Gretzky: 9%
Jim Brown: 6%
Tiger Woods: 5%
Total votes: 367
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