The San Francisco 49ers took a gamble by trading Alex Smith after the 2012 season.
Colin Kaepernick played brilliantly after Smith went down with a concussion in the middle of the year.
But the sample size was small, Kaepernick’s style of play made him an injury risk, and Smith held a 19-5-1 record as starter in 2011 and 2012.
The 49ers decided to roll with Kaepernick and trade Smith, their insurance policy, to the Kansas City Chiefs for a package of draft picks.
San Francisco ended up getting the 34th pick (2nd round) in the 2013 draft and the 56th pick (2nd round) in the 2014 draft.
Through a complicated series of additional trades, the 49ers turned those two picks into this (via Eric Branch):
- Tank Carradine, DL (40th pick, 2013)
- Carlos Hyde, RB (57th pick, 2014)
- Chris Borland, LB (77th pick, 2014)
- 2015 4th-round pick
Turning a backup quarterback into three top-100 picks is a dream scenario.
Smith wouldn’t have seen the field for the 49ers last year and he would have cost them $US8.5 million in 2013 and $US8 million in 2014.
San Francisco saved a ton of money against the cap, picked up three young players who will contribute in 2014, and only gave away a player who would have been sitting on the bench anyway.
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