The 2012 NFL Draft class provided an unparalleled amount of rookie quarterback success. Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson, Ryan Tannehill and Brandon Weeden were all anointed starting quarterbacks out of training camp. Luck, RG3 and Wilson went on and led the Colts, Redskins and Seahawks to the playoffs, while Tannehill played well in Miami.
Four of those five quarterbacks, with Wilson being the exception, were drafted in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft. Sports Illustrated's Peter King doesn't see a first-round quarterback in this year's draft class, and as a result, believes the trade values for backup quarterbacks Alex Smith and Nick Foles have gone up.
Smith was the NFL's highest-rated passer when he was benched in favor of the dynamic Colin Kaepernick. Smith finished the season completing 70.2% of his passes for 1,737 yards, while throwing 13 touchdowns against just five interceptions. Smith's quarterback rating for the season was 104.1.
Smith is due to earn $7.5 million dollars in 2013, which prohibits teams in cap trouble from acquiring Smith. The New York Jets are in desperate need of a quarterback, but are in cap trouble of their own. Unless the Jets shed a significant amount of salary, it seems unlikely that they will make a serious run at San Francisco's backup quarterback.
Of the teams that do need a quarterback, the Kansas City Chiefs seem to be a logical landing spot for Smith, as Andy Reid courted Smith last offseason in Philadelphia. Still, the Chiefs could opt to attempt to trade for Foles, who Reid drafted in Philadelphia. In addition to being drafted by Reid, Foles won't earn as much money as Smith in 2013, making him a much more attractive option in terms of cap room.
The Arizona Cardinals figure to have a new starting quarterback in 2013 under head coach Bruce Arians and could try to swing a trade for Foles. It seems unlikely that the Cardinals and 49ers, who are divisional rivals, will work out a trade for Smith.
The Eagles appear to be the beneficiaries of the weak quarterback draft class -- and not the 49ers. Chip Kelly could very well opt to hang onto Foles, and allow him to compete for the starting quarterback job against Michael Vick this offseason, and to serve as insurance for Vick, in case of injury.
Still, King believes that the trade market for both Foles and Smith has risen and it may continue to rise following the NFL Combine.