NFL free agency: 5 former 49ers who are still unemployed in 2021

Richard Sherman #25 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Richard Sherman #25 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /
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Alex Smith, Washington Football Team
Washington Football Team quarterback Alex Smith (11) Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports /

No. 2: Quarterback Alex Smith

Veteran quarterback Alex Smith‘s recovery from his gruesome and life-threatening leg injury suffered back with the Washington Football Team in 2018 was epic, certainly deserving of him winning the 2020 Comeback Player of the Year award.

And now, Smith is a full-on free agent.

True, the Niners have long since distanced themselves from the soon-to-be 37-year-old Smith, having traded him away to the Kansas City Chiefs in early 2013. Like Frank Gore, there’s some argument behind San Francisco exploring bringing Smith back as a veteran mentor, particularly with the 49ers now all but set to draft a rookie quarterback at No. 3 overall this April. But with the Niners seemingly intent on keeping their current starter, Jimmy Garoppolo, for at least one more season, going after Smith right now doesn’t make a lot of sense.

Yet the offseason quarterback carousel, which was just as active as it was a year ago, doesn’t appear to be favoring Smith much at all. This, despite other QBs like Joe Flacco landing jobs already this offseason.

Perhaps some of those teams needing quarterbacking depth are now waiting to see what pans out in the NFL Draft before making a move on Smith.

Or, those same teams are bearish on the usually ball-protective Smith tossing eight interceptions last year over just eight games played.

Either way, Smith’s playing future very much remains in doubt.