Tony Avelar, File, Associated Press
FILE - In this Sept. 18, 2011 file photo, San Francisco 49ers' quarterback Alex Smith (11) looks to pass gainst the Dallas Cowboys in an NFL football game in San Francisco.

Could former Utah Ute quarterback Alex Smith be the next Joe Montana?

In 1992 an injured Montana, who had been the starting quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers before missing the entire 1991 season with an elbow injury, was benched in favor of a younger, more mobile Steve Young, who subsequently led the 49ers on a deep playoff run. In April 1993, Montana was traded by the 49ers to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Sound familiar?

Fast forward 20 years, and former San Francisco 49ers starting quarterback Alex Smith, who after recovering from a concussion was benched in favor of the younger and more mobile Colin Kaepernick, is being pursued by the Kansas City Chiefs, according to reports.

New Chiefs general manager John Dorsey recently told The Kanas City Star that the Chiefs likely won't use the No. 1 overall pick on a quarterback.

“There is no quarterback where personnel guys can definitely say, ‘He’s a first-round pick,’” Dorsey said. “There were so many inconsistencies in the collective group. There was not one guy that stood up and said, ‘I’m the guy in the position this year.’ There really wasn’t one clear-cut guy."

ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer was quoted as saying that Chiefs coach Andy Reid "really likes Alex."

Dilfer, who is friends with Smith from his days playing in San Francisco, said that at one point while Reid was with the Eagles, he expressed interest in Smith.

"I don't know a whole lot. I just know there was a courtship. It was not even an inside source, you know what I mean? It was just kind of the scuttle in the offseason," Dilfer said.

Reid is known for his ability to develop quarterbacks.

"I think Andy wants to change a little bit offensively," Dilfer said. "Alex is a guy with a huge capacity (to learn). You can give him a lot and he can handle it. Andy has always been able to get the most out of guys that don't have extreme talent."

A shallow draft and a weak free agency market for quarterbacks could see Smith in high demand for teams seeking a QB. The 49ers however, would not only like to get value from trading Smith instead of releasing him outright, but are reportedly trying to block Smith from possibly joining division rival Arizona.

If Smith remains on the 49ers' roster April 1, $7.5 million of his $8.5 million contract for the 2013 season becomes fully guaranteed.

Ryan Carreon is a web editor for E-mail him at