INDIANAPOLIS -- San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said it is very "unlikely" the team will release Alex Smith. Translation: They will exhaust every avenue to trade the quarterback first.
Those trade discussions could start with the Kansas City Chiefs. Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports reported Friday that Kansas City "appears" to be the most interested team, although it's too early in the process to truly know. Cole also mentioned the Arizona Cardinals as a possibility. Other reports have suggested the Cardinals like Smith.
Cole reported that the 49ers spent much of Friday checking in with the agents of potential top-tier free-agent cornerbacks, telling them that the 49ers would have more money available once they trade Smith.
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It's hard to imagine any team -- including the Chiefs or even the Buffalo Bills -- giving up much for Smith. But a late-round draft pick for the 49ers would be better than nothing.
The 49ers' interest in cornerbacks also is telling. Perhaps Carlos Rogers' roster spot is not secure.
Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.