Age, contract...well...possibly a 3 or a likely 4? http://blog.sfgate.com/49ers/2017/08/29/could-alex-smith-join-the-4... Could Alex Smith join the 49ers again? By Kevin Lynch on August 29, 2017 at 1:16 PM Are there still Alex Smith lovers out there, four seasons after he departed the 49ers? If so, consider this: Maybe he’ll come back. The 49ers former first overall pick from the 2005 draft could very well be traded or released at the end of the season. And if Kansas City’s first-round quarterback, Patrick Mahomes, shows promise, then maybe the Chiefs move on from the Alex Smith era. KNBR’s Larry Krueger, a former NFL scout, suggested that Smith returning to the 49ers could be a possibility, and maybe it’s not so far-fetched. Here’s why. The 49ers could be interested if they fail to get quarterback Kirk Cousins out of Washington next year and if they don’t find what they are looking for in the draft next spring. But what if Brian Hoyer flames out like he did in previous stints in Cleveland and Houston? Wouldn’t the 49ers have to consider Smith as a possible place holder? Certainly the move might suit him. He’s a native Californian, and he met his wife in the Bay Area. Smith could come full circle, after starting his career here. Much will probably depend on what kind of team the 49ers turn out to be this year. If the 49ers are a defensive-oriented, run-first team, than Smith might make sense. He rarely makes mistakes, he knows how to manage situations, and he’s a steadying presence both with his play and his personality. That’s one reason the Chiefs rarely lose with Smith at the helm. That’s why Smith succeeded when the 49ers built a defense and a running game around him in 2011. He also seems to be improving in some areas; last year, he threw for 3,502 yards, a career best. Over the last three seasons, his completion percentage has been over 60 percent and his quarterback rating over 90. This year, he spent six weeks in Hawaii, going through an extensive training regiment that included underwater workouts. In a small sample size this summer, Smith has completed over 80 percent of his passes in preseason games and owns a quarterback rating of 125. But there are always questions with Smith. While he’s won a boat load of regular season games and has been impressively durable, he’s also failed to consistently hit the big play or throw touchdown passes, or win playoff games. His passer rating in the red zone was 39.6 and he threw only 15 touchdown passes last season. Also, Smith turns 34 in May. And while he’s in outstanding shape, do the 49ers want a conservative quarterback with declining skills to lead their quarterback-centric offense? And say Smith makes another improvement this year, and connects more consistently with speedy wide receiver Tyreek Hill. That means the Chiefs will likely keep him for 2018, which would be the last year of his contract. The only way Smith becomes available is if the Chiefs trade or release him after the season, which they can do with minimal salary-cap implications. The chances that Smith returns to the 49ers is remote. However, the quest to find a quarterback can make some teams make curious moves, and maybe Smith returning to the 49ers could make sense in the right situation.