The San Francisco 49ers have found their trade partner for quarterback Alex Smith, according to a report, but that team is not the Cleveland Browns.
Jason La Canfora, NFL insider for CBS Sports, reported via Twitter that the 49ers have told others that a trade for Smith is "effectively complete." Of course, no trade can be finalized until the new league year officially begins on March 12. La Canfora also said that he doesn't know who the team trading for Smith is, but that the Kansas City Chiefs and Jacksonville Jaguars are possibilities.
The 49ers have expressed to others that a deal for QB Alex Smith is effectively complete. Can't be finalized til league year begins 3/12— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) February 24, 2013
About a month ago it became widely speculated that the 49ers would seek to trade eight-year veteran Smith, primarily due to the success of second-year QB Colin Kaepernick, who took the starting job in San Francisco after Smith suffered a concussion.
At that time, the Browns were considered to be a potential suitor. As it stands, Cleveland will not be the next destination for Smith.
Mary Kay Cabot of the Plain Dealer reported that a source informed the PD that the Browns are not the team that has agreed to a deal with the 49ers.
Per @jasonlacanfora's report that 49ers have a trade in place for qb alex smith, #browns are not that team, source tells Pd.— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) February 25, 2013
This news would seem to coincide with comments Browns CEO Joe Banner made a few days ago about giving Brandon Weeden "every chance" to succeed.
With the prior comments to the media on the subject focusing on competition, the Browns new front office may have surveyed the field of available quarterbacks, as much as they could have to this point, and perhaps realized none of them were a clear upgrade over who's on the roster right now.