With his 2011 performance, Alex Smith made his case to be the quarterback of the future for the San Francisco 49ers. He led the team to its first 13-win season in nearly 15 years and their first playoff appearance since 2002.
In doing so he drastically changed his relationship with the organization while exponentially increasing his value.
Now, instead of searching for a job this offseason, he has the San Francisco front office and coaching staff all but begging him to return.
The 49ers, though, must be careful.
After such a productive season, they must decide exactly how Smith fits into the team’s future. They need to consider the pieces that made him successful in 2011 and if they are going to be around for upcoming years as well.
Smith was great this past season, but can he duplicate that performance in the years to come?