On Friday, Jim Harbaugh said it’s “unlikely” quarterback Alex Smith will be released.

Did you hear that, Chiefs? Are you listening, Browns? How about you, Cardinals, Jets and Jaguars?

As expected, Harbaugh presented two scenarios for how the 49ers would proceed with Smith in the offseason, and neither involved parting ways without netting something in return.

“We think we’ve got the best quarterback situation in the National Football League,” Harbaugh said at the NFL combine in Indianapolis. “I feel strongly about that. Again, that will be a process that plays out. Alex Smith continuing to be a 49er, or if a trade occurs in the next weeks and months. Those are the two possibilities, most likely possibilities.”

Are the 49ers really prepared to keep good-soldier Smith in clipboard-holding mode and pay him $8.5 million to do so in 2013?

That seems unlikely. But why announce that to quarterback-starved teams holding out hope that Smith will be released and could be acquired without the loss of a draft pick or picks?

Two days after the Super Bowl, Harbaugh took a similar – if slightly less definitive – stance when asked if the 49ers would grant Smith his release.

“I don’t think any player has those wishes granted that are under contract,” he said. “And everything is different. Every scenario is unique, and certainly something that we’re not going to delve into and get into specifics at this point.”