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Report: Cardinals exploring trade for 49ers' Alex Smith

The Kansas City Chiefs are presumed to be the lead horse in the market for Alex Smith, but -- thanks largely to a thin quarterback market and draft class -- there's likely to be competition for the San Francisco 49ers' passer.

An NFL source told Kent Somers of The Arizona Republic that the Cardinals are exploring a trade for Smith. Arizona reportedly is impressed by the veteran passer's "experience, intelligence and talents," according to the source. Smith's early career struggles are reportedly seen by the team as a product of coaching overhaul and a one-time merry-go-round of offensive schemes in San Francisco.

CBS reported Sunday that a deal "effectively was complete" for Smith, a development that logically pointed to Kansas City. NFL.com's Ian Rapoport reported the Chiefs have showed the most interest, but that doesn't mean another suitor won't enter the race. The chatter coming out of Indianapolis about Smith makes it clear he won't be a 49er next season, but until a deal goes down, expect the unexpected.

Arizona has plenty of quarterbacks, just not any good ones. The Cardinals traded for Kevin Kolb in 2011 and have handed the uneven passer $20 million since. He's shown flashes on the field, but remains too brittle for new coach Bruce Arians to hang his hat on. Kolb would likely be sent packing if Smith was acquired.

It's not surprising the Cardinals are looking into Smith's availability, and nothing would make the 49ers happier than a two-team (or more) fight for his services.

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.

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