The chatter has started about Alex Smith contract, or lack thereof with the San Francisco 49ers. Are they going to get into the Peyton Manning bidding? Is there a dispute over money? Is it a disagreement between organization and player about the length of the deal? What’s the hangup? Will this affect other free agents, specifically the wide receiver market when considering SF?
In short the answers to those questions go like this. No, never going to happen. If so it’s minor and the two sides are at least close and it is understood that the relationship will continue (goes for the next two). Other business and the fact that this isn’t a big deal is the real “hang up” is the answer to the next one. And finally, no, money and length of contract rule free agency and if a player is offered the most loot to come to SF then he’ll play for the 49ers.
Look 49er fans, I would love to have a Peyton Manning if I KNEW he were going to be healthy and wouldn’t cripple our cap. Both those things are never going to happen and that’s just one of the reason he isn’t coming to the 49ers. The other, Manning runs his own offense, an offense only he can run. He’s the only player in NFL history that will essentially install his own system and change whatever the team does offensively that he goes to. Jim Harbaugh and Greg Roman have their own system and they aren’t about to break up the chemistry on this 13-3 team for a 36 year old QB to change it all up year 2.
The next thing everybody needs to understand about NFL contracts is that it’s just like any other negotiation. The player wants security in years and the most money he can get. The organization wants a fair deal, one the player won’t hold out on in a years time and one that works with their cap. The 49ers and Smiths representatives have made it work on three contracts so far under three different head coaches. Alex wants to make this thing work, he’s found a coach that makes it work, understands offense and quarterbacks and one that calls him elite. Smith’s not walking away and the 49ers know it. Talk at the combine was that teams in need of a QB weren’t even thinking of Alex. They know he’s going back to the 49ers, it’s not a question of if, it’s when, for how long and how much per year.
And lastly, the 49ers are very, very good at engineering the salary cap. They have several players who are still free agents and likely a few targets on other teams they are waiting to make offers to on March 13th. It’s extremely likely that the 49ers and Smith are laughing really hard behind closed doors at all of us. It’s likely the parameters of a deal, number of years, average salary per year and guaranteed money are already agreed upon. The 49ers just don’t know yet how the Dashon Goldson deal will look, they don’t know if they will resign Carlos Rogers or some other corner yet. They don’t know if any of the WRs will take their offer yet either.
Therefore, I can picture Trent Baalke, Jim Harbaugh and whatever those CEO, COO whatever executives they keep promoting are named together. In a conference room, shaking hands and agreeing to put team first, be smart about it, trust one another because well, it’s 100% out in the open that this is going to continue from both sides. After some of the heavy lifting in free agency is figured out or at least better gauged. Everyone will sit back down for an hour, put everything into place, dot I’s, cross T’s and fax in a contract to the NFL for final approval before announcing a 2-3 year deal worth about $8-11 million annually with oh about 12-15 million guaranteed.