According to Jason La Canfora, the 49ers have intimated to other teams that a trade for Alex Smith is basically finalized. Of course, this is technically not allowed, as the NFL's league year doesn't begin until March 3rd. However, this is important because the two teams that make the most sense are the Jacksonville Jaguars, and the Kansas City Chiefs.
If it's the Jaguars, then honestly, I could care less. But if the Chiefs are the team in line to acquire Alex Smith's services, then this becomes potentially great news. If Alex Smith goes to the Chiefs, their hole at quarterback is seemingly filled. This virtually eliminates whatever possibility there was that the Chiefs select Geno Smith number one overall in the upcoming NFL draft. Instead, it's highly probable they take Luke Joeckel, who can provide a level of protection similar to Branden Albert for a much lower price tag.
Basically, taking Luke Joeckel makes Branden Albert, who's a damn good left tackle, expendable. If he's not signed to an extension, then I think the Chargers would be foolish not to attempt a run at his services. They could shore up the LT spot for years to come, and cross off a need come draft day. That first round pick will likely still be spent on an offensive linemen, but that's fine- it needs multiple upgrades.
Of course, a tackle of Branden Albert's caliber won't come cheap. The Chargers have roughly 7 million in cap space, and are probably hoping to at least double that through restructures and releases. Albert expects to be paid what he think he's worth, and I don't blame him. Would he be expensive? Sure. But for an O-line that was among the worst in the NFL last year, he's worth every penny.
So please Alex Smith, be our friend, by becoming our enemy.