With news breaking today that the 49'ers have agreed in principle to trade former #1 overall pick, QB Alex Smith, to the Kansas City Chiefs for a 2013 2nd round pick (#34 overall) and a '14 conditional pick, it's easy to say they've won the trade perception battle.
Yes Alex Smith is a starting QB who has shown he's at least average in that effort, he's only 28 years old and under a below market contract (2 more years at approximately $25M total), but the perception is they would need to release him, and if they didn't they would only get a 4th or 5th rounder for him. So getting a high second round selection shows that a) perception isn't reality, b) there was more interest in Alex Smith than the pundits gave credit for.
Overall this is a win-win-win proposition for the three key parties involved. The 49'ers get strong compensation for an asset that as recently as two years ago looked to be damaged goods, and at the very least lost. The Chiefs get an established starter who has shown great resilience to be tutored by known QB teacher Andy Reid to pair with one of the better defenses in the NFL (Chiefs had a top 10 unit in '12); and one that has less upside of a top rookie selection but nearly no downside for giving up only a second round pick. Alex Smith gets a new team that is fully committed to him (dealing a 2nd round pick ensures that), that has young stud weapons (Dwayne Bowe, Jamaal Charles) and an improving offensive line. So you have to like this from all perspectives, it's not a home run for any one party but its a very good one.