The San Francisco 49ers are “highly, highly, highly unlikely” to release quarterback Alex Smith, sources told ESPN’s Chris Mortensen.
Smith, the 2005 No. 1 overall draft pick, lost his starting job to Colin Kaepernick this past season while sitting out with a concussion.
Speaking at the NFL combine on Thursday in Indianapolis, Niners general manager Trent Baalke said no decision has been made on the QB’s future but did say he spoke with Smith and his wife at dinner earlier this month.
“We had a great discussion,” Baalke said. “I can’t say enough good things. And I think if you ask anyone in our organization they would say the same thing: He is a pro’s pro. And I have nothing but great respect for him, his family, and we’re certainly going to do everything in our power to make the best decision for everyone involved.
“We’re going to look at all options available. Are we going to trade him for sure? No, that hasn’t been decided.”
Before the injury, Smith had completed 26 of his last 28 passes — including going 18 of 19 for 232 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions in a “Monday Night Football” win at Arizona on Oct. 29.
He then sustained a concussion in the second quarter of the 49ers’ next game, a 24-24 tie against St. Louis on Nov. 11. Smith sat out the next game as Kaepernick dazzled in his debut as an NFL starter, beating the Bears handily at home on “Monday Night Football” before leading the Niners to the Super Bowl, where they lost to the Ravens. Smith didn’t start again during the run.