Alex Smith — the #1 pick and 75-game starter for the San Francisco 49ers who was having the best season of his career before sustaining a concussion and being supplanted by post-humanoid Colin Kaepernick — has been traded.
Where has Alex Smith been traded?
We don't know. Presumably Alex Smith knows where he has been traded, but I couldn't even guarantee you that. All we know is that apparently the 49ers are telling teams that a deal for Smith is more or less done, but it can't be finalized until March 12, meaning that for the next two weeks we must sit in amazement at this mysterious exchange of humans.
Anyway, barring a failed physical or a change of heart or the arrival of a sudden and unexpected nuclear winter, it looks like Alex Smith will be headed elsewhere. Where? There are a few candidates. Let's go through them one by one, from least-to-most likely, and because Alex Smith has established himself as a Very Sad Man, rate the potential trades based on how sad they would make him.
The New York Jets
I don't know if you've heard, but the New York Jets are quarterbacked by an actual lobster. Seriously: there's just a lobster, taking the snap and waddling back on its awkward lobster legs and then trying to throw the ball with its claw, but the claw doesn't really work that well for either holding or throwing a football, and the pass usually ends up either limply falling to the field somewhere adrift of the receiver or landing in the hands of a player on the opposite football team. However, the Jets, in a remarkable display of foresight by previous general manager Mike Tannenbaum, gave this lobster a long-term contract that makes getting rid of the lobster cost-prohibitive. The Jets are likely stuck with this lobster eating up a huge portion of their salary cap, and which puts Alex Smith a little outside of their price range. Plus, the Jets would ideally like to obtain a passer with some potential and room for development, i.e. a rookie; Smith is probably about as good as he'll ever be. Even if this trade does happen, I can't imagine Smith being too thrilled by it; he'd have to exist under the Sauron eye of the New York media, and knowing the Jets, they'd probably start the lobster over him anyway.
In case there's any confusion: that lobster's name is Mark Sanchez. He is a lobster.
Rating: Three Sadfaces :( :( :(
The Cleveland Browns
When writing about the Brandon Weeden, I am contractually obligated to use this above photo, which is the official Brandon Weeden Rookie Year Portrait of Brandon Weeden. However, it's highly unlikely that the Browns are ready to give up on their 29-year-old rookie quite yet, having as he does so much time to evolve and grow before he starts receiving senior-citizen discounts at the local Bow Tie Cinemas. (Like, why draft an old dude if you're just going to dump him after a year?) (Because he sucks.) (Yeah, but —) (Stop.) (OK.)
The Browns have actually denied that they traded for Smith, but that means about as much as me claiming responsibility for the Russian Meteor: the consequences of having lied are non-existent. If Smith got traded to the Browns, he would be kind of sad, because he'd have to play for the Browns in Cleveland, but also kind of happy, because the Browns have some young talent on offense, including receiver Josh Gordon and running back Trent Richardson.
Rating: Two Sadfaces :( :(
The Jacksonville Jaguars
OK, so, initially I thought about Alex Smith going to the Jaguars and it seemed to merit the maximum number of sadfaces, for a few reasons: the Jags are the only professional sports team with a smaller fan base than the Marlins; the Jags haven't made the playoffs since 2007; the Jags suck. But then I looked at the picture above. Look at how happy new coach Gus Bradley is! Look at owner Shad Khan's luscious mustache and flowing night-black coif! Gus Bradley looks like Jesse Ventura! In light of these developments, I changed my mind. The Jaguars would be the best place for Alex Smith to land. He would be very happy there. And though the Jags have also denied that they traded for the Moperback, I refuse to believe anything a team that rosters Blaine Gabbert (pronounced Blane Ga-bear) has to say about its QB situation.
Rating: One Sadface :(
The Arizona Cardinals
It's 2013. The Arizona Cardinals are coming off a season during which they started four quarterbacks: the High-Profile Acquisition (Kevin Kolb), the Somewhat Promising Young Gun (John Skelton), the Fresh Rook (Ryan Lindley), and Some Guy (Brian Hoyer, pictured above, in ecstasy). In 2013, the Cardinals would ideally like to start none of these guys, particularly with their New Coach (Bruce Arians) having just spent a season with Andrew Luck and thus probably not filled with a ton of patience for the likes of Ryan Lindley and Brian Hoyer. Is Alex Smith that guy? He might be: last year's Cardinals had the league's sixth-best defense and still managed to lose 11 games because their offense was the league's worst. Smith would make the Cardinals better without a doubt — he might even be happy to be there, considering the presence of Larry Fitzgerald and Young Guy Michael Floyd — and he'd make them better almost immediately; the question is whether Arizona would rather grab someone in the draft and hope that Kolb, who wasn't completely and utterly terrible when he was healthy — just kind of bad and always getting sacked — could carry them until the rookie's ready.
Rating: Two Sadfaces :( :(
The Kansas City Chiefs
Alex Smith sits in his foyer, watching this GIF of Matt Cassel. He sees Matt Cassel try to put on the hat; when Matt Cassel fails to put on the hat — lands it sideways; lets it slide down the back of his head — Alex Smith cringes. He nibbles on a carrot stick. He thinks. He thinks to himself: "Is that because of Kansas City?" He thinks to himself: "Would that happen to me?"
The Chiefs have probably traded for Alex Smith already.
Rating: Five Sadfaces :( :( :( :( :(