Rosenthal: No guts, no glory
Breer pointed out this week that the 49ers face a pivotal decision with Smith in March, when the quarterback is due a $1 million roster bonus. If the 49ers choose to pay the bonus, it speaks volumes about Smith's status for 2013. If Smith is on the roster April 1, the team is on the hook to pay his $7.5 million salary, which includes another potential $3 million in incentives.
The 49ers drafted Kaepernick to play. Coach Jim Harbaugh has sprinkled the young passer into game action all season, and Kaepernick appears to be the quarterback of the future in San Francisco. Harbaugh has stood by Smith early in his regime, but the picture is clear: The 49ers have been looking to replace the veteran all along.
We don't where this team will be after the season, but the 49ers aren't about to pay Smith $10 million-plus to hang around as Kaepernick's backup. The general feeling about Smith is that he's not a quarterback who terrifies you with his arm or athleticism -- Kaepernick has more of those qualities -- but plenty of teams would consider him an upgrade at the position.